We will assume you are an open minded, innovative, rational business leader who, after having researched a bit the story behind robotic process automation and the forecasts of market size development over the next few years, has decide that indeed, RPA is the new must of competitive businesses.
It would then make sense that you want to learn more about it. And practical as you are, you want to first learn its functional nuts and bolts: what can you actually do with it?
What are the RPA application areas, or the actions that define the goal directed interactions between you and the automation system? More specifically, what can you do by means of automated processes better than you can do with human employees?
Below you can find a list of 10 robotic process automation use-cases. The list is far from exhaustive — we merely picked some processes in areas that most companies deal with.
Robotic Process Automation Application Areas
1. Operational activities in sales
We’re talking about data replication, invoice preparation and delivery, smooth update of Customer Relationship Management — CRM, etc. Sales are a crucial, paradigmatic aspect of all sorts of businesses, irrespective of size or domain.
Just think a moment about the monotonous task of keeping data consistent across CRM and accounting records. Ok, you can now let go of the thought, we don’t want to spoil your mood for the rest of the day. The good news is that software robots can handle these operational activities on their own. For instance, automation can make invoices available to customers much faster than manual performance.
A highly desirable effect of this is earlier customer payments, which also improves the cash flow, and consequently — customer satisfaction. More generally, the need for error-free sales operations is justified by the desire to avoid customer complaints and dissatisfaction, which are quite often the result of clerical mistakes.
This subdivision of the procurement process can be considered the epitome of inter-department work, since it is inherently based on the interaction between the purchasing department and the accounts payable department.
“Automation in a system that is essentially characterized by integration of various systems?!” Indeed, no need for raised eyebrows. Front-end software robots can actually do this proficiently, thereby ensuring that transactions are well aligned by consistent data.
3. Portal queries
When automated, this process too leverages the integrative capacity of software robots. Portals are a vital mediator between organizations and suppliers. The plural is crucial in that it highlights the usefulness of data integration. The idea is that bots can be used to link all your portals, providing employees direct access to compiled data.
4. Data extraction
Data entry is the nightmare of monotony for your employees — we can agree on that, right? Well, even though RPA can’t save you of all the trouble, at least it can alleviate it. Because it has the capacity for basic pattern recognition, and because it can convert pretty much any kind of text into editable and searchable machine-encoded text, it drastically reduces the need for manual data entry. Therefore less errors and faster results, therefore less exhausted and bored employees.
The main objective of accounting records reconciliation is that your records be error- and omission-free. By comparison of documents, e.g., the cash book and the bank statement, the procedure is meant to ensure the reliability of the records.
Software robots can perform data extraction from bank statements (see (4) above), thereby augmenting the likelihood of accurate comparisons. By finding and approving matching orders, bots can also reconcile purchase orders with delivery notes; by so doing, they ensure compatibility of orders and deliveries.
6. Price comparison
Software robots can keep track of fluctuating prices. Given (4) above, bots can automatically extract data for best pricing.
7. Data management
Relevant data comes from a variety of sources — personal records and files, operational performance datasheet, etc. — which ought to be put together and analysed consistently. More, the end results must be passed on in due time to business executives.
This involves a lot of careful processing, with attention to a plethora of details. For humans, this is time-consuming and nerve-wracking. Software robots, on the other hand, can do it fast, correctly, and without demands for stress bonuses.