What is RPA and how can it help my back office?

What is RPA? Robotic Process Automation may sound like adding a big metal box to your desk, but it is much more simple that you can imagine. 

RPA is software that does the simple repetitive jobs that people and staff do over and over again, automatically. The best place to imagine this is in the back office processes that every company has. 

One example (and maybe the most common) is quote to cash systems. These are your online web pages that allows users to order and pay for goods or services. Previously a manual process would be needed to accept payments and orders, now the whole process is fully automated and we couldn’t image it any other way. 

Another example, is insurance claims, the sheer number of claims on a daily basis make insurance claims prefect for RPA, the initial data gets eaten up, ran though some rules then processed or sent to the right department for a reduced amount of manual processing. 

Its often then case we don’t realise how many processes and companies use RPA to make complex, repetitive, boring, time consuming tasks automated and efficient. Removing the human error and freeing up precious time of a back office operative for more skill based tasks. 

So how do you know if you can save time, labour and money using RPA?

Think about the most common job that your organisation offers, what does it do and who does it. 

It could be as simple as sending an email to the right person – RPA can handle that 

Or it could be multiple stages, using multiple systems between multiple departments, requiring multiple checks – RPA can handle that too. 

The aim of RPA is not reality to replace the human element and turn the office into a hard to manage black box that can’t be checked or controlled, the aim is (initially anyway) to pick the most repetitive jobs that back office staff would be doing on a daily basis and make them more efficient, reliable and cheaper to accomplish. 

Typically the cost of a RPA system can be reclaimed very quickly when working with the most simple of tasks. 

A more specific system that uses more steps often frees up multiple people, constantly paying for itself many times over. 

So how can you see what is possible for you?

The best place to start is getting help from a consultancy. To learn more about how to pick the best consultant for the job check out our paper on how to do just that. 

Often having a RPA consultant evaluate the most cost efficient ways to save time can be evaluated, form there creating the most simple RPA system that applies is the best thing to do first. (see our paper on MVP projects) From there, after seeing it work and provide real value, it can be built and grown into your company structure. 

To summarise, RPA can really add a new dynamic. It can give a company a unique selling point that adds value and frees up staffs time to become more dedicated to the tasks that earns their pay. Don’t be left behind by the digital future. 

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