Technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent capture are opening opportunities to improve processes, and totally rethink them
However, with automation opportunities everywhere, where should enterprises start?
Foremost, when automation opportunities are everywhere, it’s pertinent to prioritise them. Here think high volume, high value and high stakes. To elaborate:
- High volume – these are highly repetitive processes and easy targets for automation, as they take significant time that could be spent on work that requires more human thinking-related tasks.
- High value – these are important processes for the business, ranging from money-related processes such as sales quotes, those that create enhanced customer experience, reduce churn and so on.
- High stakes – mistakes in these processes could potentially land the enterprise in hot water. For example, a copy-and-paste error could result in a costly compliance breach, or a process backlog could cause routine missing of deadlines.
With an understanding of the kind of processes the enterprise wants to automate, here are 10 processes across functional departments where RPA can be applied:
1. Key stakeholder (vendor, customer, employee) onboarding
While these processes span finance and accounting, sales or new accounts and HR, they’re good candidates for automation as they all involve extensive paperwork, vetting, and lengthy back-and-forth between the company and the other party. RPA allows enterprises to design an automated onboarding process to even include automatic status communications and full integration with the enterprises’ internal systems.
2. User setup and configuration
We talked about employee onboarding from the HR side above. On the IT side, someone must add and configure a new user so that new employees can log into their computer, email, network, etc. RPA can automate this process so that staff can focus on higher-value work in the backlog and even discover even more ways to automate.
3. Key stakeholder (vendor, customer, employee) maintenance
Likewise, these parties often need to be updated. For instance, an employee may submit a change of address form, a customer may decide to re-sign a yearly contract. RPA offers excellent capability for automating processes that are triggered by another event (annual renewal), a date (all partner contracts are due 31 March), or a task (employee filled out a form for change of bank details). RPA ensures the data is accurately updated in real-time across all systems.
4. Report aggregation
Finance and accounting teams will know how time-consuming this process is, especially at the end of a month or quarter. RPA can automate the collection and aggregation of data in a fraction of the time, leaving the team bandwidth to leverage that information for insights.
5. Payroll processing
Ever-changing tax laws and regulatory reporting requirements, in addition to working with business systems that don’t talk to each other can swallow up days each month for payroll processing. RPA facilitates the collection and connection of that data across multiple systems such as time tracking, HR and employee management, accounts payable and general ledger. Moreover, RPA helps automate accounting reports for taxes and various departments.
6. Customer due diligence
Staying on top of and complying with regulations like Customer Due Diligence, Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering is expensive and challenging. RPA automatically acquires, enhances and delivers the precise data the enterprise needs to comply from any internal or external source. It can also review many more data points in a shorter time period to provide a more complete assessment.
7. Competitive pricing and monitoring
Shoppers are astute, and it has fast become the norm for them to look up product information and prices on their mobile phones in stores – or visit comparison shopping sites before making a purchase. The likes of Amazon too use repricing software to automate the time-consuming job of keeping up with competition. Similarly, it’s important for enterprises to know what their competition is up to. With the help of RPA, enterprises can monitor and proactively reprice in real-time so that they aren’t relying on outdated reports that typically take days and weeks to compile.
8. Order processing
This involves several time-consuming manual tasks like address verification, data entry, printing invoices and shipping labels, updating warehouse inventory, re-ordering if stock is low, and much more. With RPA, enterprises automate and orchestrate this process.
9. Shipment scheduling and tracking
Scheduling, updating and reporting shipment status between internal systems and portals is typically a manual job. If it isn’t executed smoothly, the price paid is in the customer experience. RPA extracts shipment requests from incoming emails, log jobs in scheduling systems and provides pick-up times in customer and/or carrier portals.
10. Customer relationship management (CRM) updates
Data entry such as updating the CRM system seldom features high up on anyone’s to-do list. Of course, information residing in this system offers critical insight for strategic decision-making. RPA delivers automatic updates by gathering intel on prospects and posting it in the proper fields in the CRM system.
With RPA, enterprises deploy a digital workforce to execute repetitive tasks and manual processes – and thereby enable employees to focus on high-value activities and significantly enhance their productivity, efficiency and work quality.
About the author
Daniel Schmidt is responsible for the world-wide marketing plan, market requirements and positioning for various software solutions such as Robotic Process Automation, Customer Communications Management, e-signature, and few other process automation solutions. Daniel has 20 years’ experience in the enterprise software industry, specializing in the improvement of customer engagement technologies and processes.