Some people fear change, some feel change is necessary, and others embrace change. Often times all of these people exist within the confines of the same business, which causes friction. The true challenge occurs when looking at standard operating procedures and processes. Technology can be a great boon to productivity, but can often get lost in the minutiae when the introduction of technology is viewed as an ‘all or nothing’ decision. This can be for many reasons, most commonly cost. To rationalize the expense, you want to use the product to its fullest capability. The problem lies in the instances where this rationale prevents the company from taking advantage of the benefits the technology has to offer. Let’s use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as an example.
RPA can be a massive undertaking, making it primarily a focus of enterprise level companies that typically have more budget and bandwidth. Part of the reason that these resources become necessary is due to the fact that the companies are looking to hit the proverbial home run. Businesses are encouraged to automate the processes of an entire department or company, such as Accounts Payable. This can be daunting. The rewards can be astounding, cutting the cost per invoice processed by a third. The commitment of time and employees however, is not a possibility for many and thus the technology is lost as a competitive advantage. It doesn’t have to be. The technology can be used in a smaller capacity and still generate a great return.
Rather than the homerun, companies should recognize where a string of singles scores runs and still wins the game. Businesses looking to introduce RPA can instead focus on one critical task, or the pain of one employee rather than the whole department/company. The process being automated can be based in standard logic (if/when) before needing to include concepts like machine learning. This can alleviate the pressure of the larger project, while simultaneously allowing the team to get used to the concept and practice of automation.
This option becomes feasible with the emergence of Robotic Process Automation as a Service (RPAaaS). Justification of the expense of many products would be unreasonable if the end goal was to start small and simple in this manner. There is a good chance that the cost of the bot would exceed the cost of the task in its current form. Where technology can discriminate against the small business, RPAaaS acts as an equalizer, allowing for a flexibility in the structure of cost and commitment. The “as a service” model helps avoid the sting of high upfront licensing costs associated with ownership. It also allows for ability to tackle tasks that are short term, seasonal, or simply part of a bigger plan without having the burden of either full purchase or even an annual commitment. This is possible at an investment level that nearly any company can palate.
While vast projects such as AP Automation are universal, it is harder to give a similar, generic, example of the type of process encouraged here. In the model suggested, the task is more functional, or a piece of the whole, as a more typical project would go. Consider a situation where an employee of a particular office would start each day with the same task. They would gather information through web searches and put the compiled data into a spreadsheet. In this case, say it was competitor pricing (something increasingly popular in retail with guarantees of beating/matching other stores) though it just as easily could be rates, inventory or any searchable piece of data. This was needed daily, and within a reasonable time frame. It was a mindless task and one that had gone through several employees due to error, missed time, and/or displeasure. Through the use of RPA, this same task was done automatically- searched, compiled, and emailed to the proper team members every morning at the same time. Management was thrilled to eliminate error and variety of delivery, employees were happy to spend their time on more engaging and gratifying work.
For companies looking to take advantage of the benefits of RPA, but who may be lacking the budget or support, RPAaaS offers a unique entry point. For smaller companies, it may provide the needed solution that had been previously out of reach, for larger companies, a much needed taste test/test run. Embrace the change. Embrace the fear. Embrace the steps.
Roth Automation’s expert consultants and engineers have years of experience designing, deploying, and optimizing business automation processes. The RPAaaS model allows for our team to share the knowledge gained from decades of working in the enterprise space to smaller businesses looking to take advantage of the platform.
To learn how your organization can benefit from RPAaaS, speak with our expert consultants today.