RPA is a fast-growing technology and organizations in different industries and geographical areas are starting to realize how RPA can increase their operational efficiency. Siili became the first locally operating Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provider in Oulu business region when Oulu RPA team was launched in the first quarter of 2017.
What is RPA?
RPA utilizes software robots as a form of digital workforce, that has the potential to offer dramatic improvements in productivity. Software robots can deliver a high level of accuracy, speed, and consistency, while also offering strong auditability and scalability on large-scale process automations.
Many manual, rule-based and repetitive processes are perfect candidates for RPA, such as gathering and manipulating data from one system and inputting it into another. RPA projects are also often a much more agile and cheaper option in software integrations, especially one’s that involve legacy systems, than traditional integration projects. And they have relatively easily calculated ROI.
Definition of RPA targets are often conducted with Lean principles and Lean diagnostics. Together with these methodologies, RPA can be used to create useful tools to enhance human capabilities by empowering employees to concentrate on more creative and value-adding services.
Occupational Impact of RPA
Outsourcing and offshoring have been two methods for organizations to cut their costs, but they don’t necessarily provide the desired savings anymore, because labor costs are also rising in the most popular offshoring countries in Asia and Europe. Although a Robotic FTE is often estimated to be equivalent of at least 3 human FTEs, RPA needs to be viewed as a tool to remove non-value adding activities rather than a tool removing jobs.
RPA might put some traditional jobs at risk due to the efficiency provided by automation, but RPA is also generating new kinds of jobs and bringing back the previously offshored and outsourced jobs to local operators. Reshoring and restructuring of the global workforce is likely to happen.
All these factors make RPA a great candidate to enhance processes especially in Accounting and Finance, Insurance, Human Resource management, Help Desk and Support activities, but RPA can be used in many other industries as well. For example, Healthcare can benefit tremendously from RPA by improving patient information handling and patient flows.
RPA Evolution and The 4th Industrial Revolution
RPA is evolving from Early RPA to Advanced RPA, where robots are utilizing pattern recognition learning, advanced analytics and evolving to combine elements of Artificial Intelligence on rule-based process automation. The next step is evolving into Smart Process Automation (SPA), where AI enables cognitive automation by utilizing multiple sources of data and natural language recognition and understanding. For example, one of our partners and leading RPA software vendors are already taking big steps in the SPA direction by teaming up with IBM and their Watson AI solution, famous for its use in the decision-making process of cancer treatment.
RPA evolution is fast and many new RPA software vendors are entering the market with new technologies. Technical Architectures of RPA solutions can be deployed as On-Premise Solutions or Robotics as a Service (RaaS). This allows flexibility to organizations, as they can choose whether to have the full control of the environments with configuration and maintenance work to themselves, or to concentrate on the automation work and have the environments as a service.
Digitalization can be seen as the 4th industrial revolution and RPA is a key element in this megatrend. At Siili Solutions, we are striving to help our customers achieve greater operational efficiency with RPA. Only in the Oulu Business region and northern parts of Finland, there are dozens of companies who can benefit greatly from RPA and we are excited to face the challenges and opportunities of digitalization together.
Written by Toni Petäjämaa