RPA — a high-quality solution for repetitive tasks

For nearly every organisation, data is now the lifeblood of their business. By Tim Hood, Associate Vice President for Hyland in EMEA.

So, if you are not maximising its potential, not only will that hit your productivity but also your ability to deliver the personalised engagement that creates the outstanding service customers are looking for.

Many businesses know this, of course, but still aren’t really sure how to make the most of the torrent of data coming their way. So, what should be your starting point?

If you haven’t done so already, I’d suggest introducing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into your organisation, and to do this as a matter of urgency, particularly if you are still largely reliant on paper-based processes.

RPA brings together artificial intelligence, robotics and business process automation, and as such it’s perfect for tackling the many repetitive, rule-based tasks that take minutes to complete when done manually. Imagine removing the burden of unrelenting low-quality work, such as clicking on a mouse, having to copy and paste, or opening and closing different applications, tasks that are the backbone of information collection and the pre-processing of data.

Getting rid of this time-consuming, low priority activity from your current processing load, as well as the backlog that most businesses have to contend with, doesn’t just free up time and resource, but greatly reduces the number of processing errors, and the time and cost of putting them right. It also lessens the risk of data breaches, either accidental or intentional, since fewer hands are touching information.

Of course, RPA needs to fit in with your particular workflows, something that’s relatively easy to achieve, since RPA bots can precisely follow pre-set workflows 24/7 - without any drop-off in efficiency or concentration, unlike its human counterparts.

So, in a business environment in which layers of regulation are constantly piling up, it’s self-evident that RPA can have a significant role to play in any organisation where a strong compliance framework is required to ensure the security of sensitive confidential and personal data. Healthcare, law and finance are obvious examples.

Particularly where there is a need for clear audit trails and chains of custody, by introducing an RPA system, you will be able to record each and every data action, making it much less likely that data gaps will occur - as they all too easily can when there is manual transfer of information between different applications.

Organisations are understandably cautious about introducing new technology, not least because it might not ‘play nicely’ with legacy systems.

Bringing any new technology into an organisation inevitably raises concerns around potential disruption, the difficulty of roll out and, of course, the cost. However, RPA is platform-independent and can, therefore, be slotted into your existing infrastructure, for example alongside content services and process automation systems, without massive technological, logistical or cost implications, or the worry that it will interfere with any existing legacy systems.

What this means in practice is that it is possible to integrate data from different systems into a single point of access, without data getting lost, or becoming trapped in silos, which is what often occurs when a new application is added. Instead, it will comfortably integrate with any enterprise content management (ECM) system you already have, or might introduce in the future, overcoming the interoperability issues that can arise when new and legacy IT systems are brought together.

The power of RPA lies in its integration with content services and process automation solutions. As with all other aspects of digitalisation, significant best practice has emerged in recent years and harnessing such insight is a key factor in developing a successful automation strategy. Working with a partner that can support the introduction of RPA alongside existing systems - delivering an integrated and seamless end to end process, will help deliver a highly effective solution, rolled out with minimal disruption and significantly reduced implementation costs.

RPA allows you to make progress immediately by extending the value of your existing business applications, without the need to bring in new elements or reshape existing ones. It’s an effective way to introduce automation quickly and straightforwardly, and achieve a rapid ROI across multiple business departments, which is of real benefit if you’re already behind the digital curve.

Events this year have shown how immensely difficult life can be for any location-based organisation that’s unable to access data remotely. From a business continuity perspective, having ‘paper’ in your organisation that is trapped inside a physical filing cabinet is a major weak point, which RPA can help remove. Whatever sector or market you are in, those who make the most of their data will be the ones who thrive, and RPA could be an effective element in this strategy.

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