Robotic Process Automation
is on the rise
Software robots - aka digital or virtual workforce - are starting to become more prevalent.
In the majority of cases, the deployment of robotic process automation (RPA) to date has been limited to small pilots in siloed functions.
However, evidence suggests that will soon change once organisations figure out how to scale automation and overcome employee fears and reservations.
The opportunity to leverage automation to reduce costs and improve speed, accuracy and compliance, and the customer/employee experience is substantial with RPA.
The key benefits allow:
- Managers to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time coaching and developing employees and driving business outcomes.
- Employees to be freed from tedious, repetitive tasks and focus on more complex, challenging work - and on delivering better customer experiences.
- Customers to benefit from faster turnaround of goods and services, fewer errors and more meaningful engagement with employees.
While technology can address the desire for speed and efficiency, humans are still needed to provide the empathy, emotional intelligence, and creative problem solving that technology can't.
So robots are here to stay, but leveraging their full potential requires a blending of human and digital workers – a hybrid workforce.
Humans and bots must co-exist in the workplace to create a seamless, end-to-end and unified experience"
Defining the Human Age: A Reflection
on Customer Service in 2030
A Verint® Research Paper
Forrester estimates that by 2021, there will be more than 4 million robots doing office and administrative work "
The Forrester Wave™:
Robotic Process Automation, Q2 2018
5 Key Points to Create a Digital and Human Workforce?
Robots can unleash employee potential by removing low-value, tedious tasks.
This use of robots enables employees to focus on customers and adding value to the organisation, rather than transactions.
However, creating a smooth workflow and effectively planning resources – both robotic and human – is a journey most organisations are just beginning.
The following activities can help you create synergies between robots and humans, manage the combined workforce and create value for your customers, employees and business alike.
1. Identify Processes for Automation
You need a measured, structured approach to identify processes that are right for automation: both unattended and unattended.
Verint's Process Discovery solution can help by creating near real-time process maps based on actual employee desktop activity. The maps show how many people executed the process, all the deviations taken and possible outcomes.
Click here for ideas about how to prioritise processes for automation.
2. Create a Holistic Capacity Model
You’ll need a capacity model that captures - on a single dashboard - the work performed by your digital and human workforce, to ensure the efficiency savings created by RPA are captured.
If processing times and goals are not adjusted, then the savings achieved may never be realised. Additionally, the model will need updating as efficiencies improve and new tasks and automation's are added.
RPA can impact capacity by reducing handle times, freeing up resources and increasing capacity.
3. Balance Workloads and Manage Performance
It’s critical to manage workloads and performance by automating the allocation of work and tasks between robots and humans, load balancing the output of robot work into the human queue and vice versa.
A workload dashboard can compare actual volumes against forecasted, and the amount of work to be executed against the resource hours available, thereby alerting managers to potential service level risks. The dashboard should also provide a view of key performance indicators (KPIs), which will be different for robots and humans.
New ground is being broken here by applying performance metrics to digital workers; Robot KPIs include throughput, processing time by task, time active by task type, downtime and task repetition.
Dashboards like the ones available with Verint Performance Management™, give visibility into how well the whole team is doing and where adjustments need to be made.
Important consideration: Avoid making comparisons between robot and human productivity, as it is not a like-for-like scenario. Robot productivity can be optimised with effective planning and scheduling; improving Human productivity typically requires coaching, training and ensuring employees have the necessary tools.
Software robots and employee skills will need continual training and updating as work volumes, types, and systems evolve. For robots, this means creating scripts with rules and business logic applied to the tasks they are to perform.
Employees will need training on exception handling and more complex activities that require judgement and creative problem solving.
Case management and knowledge management solutions can help employees navigate the more complex tasks and processes and provide contextual, just-in-time knowledge resources for better decision making.
5. Address Cultural Concerns
Educating employees and managers on the value and impact of RPA is critical. Consider creating a change management plan that includes communications on how robots help the human workforce, not replace them.
Be up front in addressing employee concerns and emphasise the value RPA provides as a positive addition to the team.
Additionally, acknowledge that it will take time for your employees to trust what the robot is doing and that an issue with a robot won’t reflect poorly on them.
Software robots are faceless, but it’s human nature to want face-to-face interactions with colleagues. Some have gone as far as naming the robots and designating an empty desk as the robot’s, with an avatar placed on the desktop screen.
What will ultimately make employees comfortable with the new technology is a thorough understanding of why it’s being deployed, how it works and how it will help achieve performance goals.