RPA is the process of automating time-consuming tasks like data entry
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a starting point for digital transformation at many organisations, with research company APQC describing it as a ‘nucleus’ for 69 per cent of digital strategies, reports Forbes.
Intent to invest in RPA came just behind investments in analytics and data management, and was found to be almost twice as likely as near-term investments in AI or intelligent automation.
APQC’s reports also claimed that the number of RPA projects per organisations almost doubled between 2017 and 2018: from an average of 8.6 to 14.9.
Three factors are driving RPA adoption:
Ease of implementation
It is relatively easy to begin with RPA; the tools are easy to implement and configure, and small-scale uses may not even require any training.
The proven success of early RPA pilots is arousing interest in related tools. According to an APQC report (‘Make Success Automatic: Best Practices in Robotic Process Automation’), three-quarters of respondents said that their early projects had met or exceeded expectations.
One example is found at NASA, which launched four pilots in accounts payable and receivable, IT spending, and human resources; the space agency is now rolling all four out across the organisation, and implementing more RPA bots.
APQC describes the formation of cross-functional internal alliances, to create and learn from pilot RPA projects, as a ‘major predictor’ of funded, successful RPA or machine learning projects.
The collaboration of IT and process management teams is especially important to RPA efforts. Holly Lyke-Ho-Gland, who led the RPA research for APQC, said: “IT ensures that bots are integrated smoothly with existing systems and process management helps reduce costly, post-production rework by re-engineering processes for digital execution and ensuring all process variants and exceptions are captured and understood.”