Three ways robotic process automation gives your business the competitive edge
4 July 2018
Forrester calls automation “one of the most profound and disruptive forces in human history,” adding that “companies that master automation will dominate their industries.”
Rather than replace humans with robots, we’re seeing organisations shift the type and amount of work that people are able to do. The future of work – from the back-office to customer engagement to creating a competitive advantage – is combining robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and your human resources to create a more intelligent workforce.
Dermot McCauley, Vice President, Platform Product Marketing, Kofax
Three ways robotic process automation creates a competitive edge
- RPA improves human and organisational productivity
There is more work to be done than people to do the work, causing employees and entire departments to fall behind on routine tasks. Rather than hire more workers to cover the gaps or outsource key business processes, perhaps then reducing the quality of customer service, employ software robots to add capacity, productivity and service capability to your team.
RPA automates otherwise expensive, error-prone manual tasks – not only eliminating costly errors, but freeing your staff to perform more “thinking” work that requires emotional intelligence and empathy.
- RPA helps mitigate risk
If your organisation handles licensing or credentialing, customer due diligence, regulated procedures, or simply routine maintenance, you’re likely executing many processes manually and reactively, dealing with violations after the fact.
By automating time-consuming compliance tasks such as verifications, regulatory updates, reporting and notifications, a robotic workforce can cut the cost of compliance, transforming it from a risk-filled burden to a well-oiled machine.
- RPA releases human potential
A good customer experience includes easy self-service, lightning-fast responses and instant access to information. RPA makes this great experience possible by automating and accelerating the work that lies behind it.
RPA empowers your human workforce, instantly providing the information they need to innovate in the service of your customers and releasing their potential to drive your business growth.
The future of work is here
RPA is more than just a technology; it’s an integral piece of the digital revolution. Combined with artificial intelligence and people, RPA creates the new intelligent workforce. The future of work is here.
Learn how to create a more intelligent workforce with robotic process automation in “10 Ways Manual Tasks Are Costing Your Business”
Welcome to Business Reporter's disruptive technologies campaign. I'm Alastair Greener. Efficiency and productivity are the bugbears of businesses and governments everywhere. The most popular responses to this performance problem are promoting robotics and automation. What's the right balance between artificial intelligence and human creativity, robots and empathy? This is what we're going to discuss with Dermot McCauley from Kofax. Good morning.
We live in this age of automation. We live alongside robots. Is there too little automation, or is there too much?
Well, Alastair I think the real question is, what's the right balance between the automation that robots can provide and the work that humans will then still have to do? Robots are absolutely frankly, startlingly great at process efficiency, so they can do repetitive tasks unlike any human. But there's still work that only humans can do, and it's important for us to get the balance right and make sure that, what I like to think of as the new workforce, which is the combination of robots and people, is, as a combination, better than the old workforce, where it was mostly on the backs of people who were doing dull, repetitive work that was adding little value. Let's release those people to do more important work, and let the robots do the work that they're hyper efficient at doing.
Artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, or RPA as you say-- they're hot topics. So how can humans exploit this to the best?
I think we're in the midst of a true revolution, digital revolution. Some call it the digital transformation. Robots or robotic process automation are revolutionising the nature of the workforce. So the workforce we used to think of as the people we employ-- the workforce is now the people we employ, plus the robots.
Artificial intelligence simply takes that combined workforce and the challenges of managing it to another level, because the robots are going to be smarter, they're going to be able to do what we sometimes think of as cognitive work, interpreting and understanding documents and situations. And after 100 years, where management science has been all about the human workforce, how to inspire and lead and train and measure performance and improve productivity of, we now have a new challenge, which is the challenge of management science can manage the newly intelligent combined workforce of human and robots.
Coming back to what you were talking earlier on about, robotic process automation, what are the biggest problems that it can solve?
Well, there are really three kinds of things it does. The first I think, is fairly commonly understood today and it's simply productivity improvement. So walk into any organisation, and there are people and teams and frankly, they're continually falling behind in their work. Aren't they? Robots are like extra capacity on your team. And they can double the capacity, triple, quadruple, multiply 10 times, and they're cheap, and they work 24/7. That has huge benefits for individual productivity and team productivity and organisational productivity.
But it also has benefits for the individual humans, because think of those people who are still working there. They're dealing with maybe 10 insurance claims a day, or five mortgage applications, or whatever it may be. Their case productivity-- they will be able to get twice as much, 10 times as much done. So the payoffs are firstly, in productivity.
Secondly, again, any organisation has a big burden of compliance. We're burdened with GDPR, with other regulations, that force us to do work. And the cost of compliance is high, because you've had to have people do that work. Robots can do that work because it's typically very repetitive work. It's just task automation, and that's what robots do brilliantly.
The third, really is not to do with robots, it's to do with the people. So it frees people, not only to get more case work done on claims, et cetera, every day, but also to build that relationship with the customer. And people aren't going to get replaced by robots. They're going to be still in the workforce. And they're just going to be working differently.
And so the nature of human work is going to be impacted by robots significantly. It's going to put us all in roles where we need to be working more, in empathetic roles, building customer relationships. And I think that will be more satisfying for people, as well as more productive for the organisations they work in.
Do you have a particular example or case study maybe, that shows this really working?
In electronics, a big example, in banking insurance, they're all over the place. And we've done lots of those projects. The Danish bank took from 14 days to 14 minutes-- that's days to minutes-- the time it takes to approve a loan. Another large financial organisation took these customer due diligence checks, the kind of KYC, anti-money laundering checks that need to be done when you and I apply for a [? code. ?] And again, took those from 15 minutes to one and a half minutes. So it's a 10x improvement, and that's frankly, in our experience at Kofax, is a typical kind of metrics of the productivity improvements that are available.
Talking of Kofax, tell us a little bit more about who you are and more importantly, what you bring to the table in terms of this technology?
Well, Kofax is a global enterprise software company. So we're in the business of helping customers in multiple industries become more efficient, serve the customers better. I think we're the only, frankly-- and if you look at the independent industry analysts they'll attest to this-- that we're the only single company from whom you can get leading RPA technology. So they're robots we can provide to you.
We also provide AI technology so that those robots can be smarter. Many of those processes we talked of [? are ?] opening claims, there's documents to be sent in. And what the smarter robots that we're now implementing for customers can do, is they can use artificial intelligence to understand that document, interpret the content-- something that people use to have to do-- and they just provide the human worker with the key points so the human organ can then do their work and make the right decisions. So uniquely, we provide it as a single provider.
Many people are dipping their toe in the robot revolution. What I encourage people to do is plan for scale, and that is something in which Kofax is distinctively strong-- enterprise scalability of the robotic process automation technology.
If you could sum this up in just three main points that our audience can take away, what would they be?
Well, firstly I think, if you're not in the robot revolution, you need to get on the train, so to speak. Immediately get those productivity improvements I talked of is the first thing. Think also about the scalability and how you're really going to manage this digital workforce so that you don't have digital chaos.
Second thing is work with someone like us, who can hold your hand through the revolution. It's easy to stumble, easy to make a mistake. We have been there. We've done this. Work with a trusted partner.
And third, think about the people. Think about the people who are going to have new digital workmates, let's call them. To succeed in the digital revolution, those people need to be part of that future with you. So think on the broader perspective about the new intelligent workforce that's the combination of robots and AI and people.
It's been fascinating to have that little bit of a glimpse into the future.
Alastair, my pleasure.
Dermot McCauley from Kofax, thank you very much.