Robotic Process AutomationThe Robotic Workforce Helping Companies Find Efficiencies
When one thinks of “the future” oftentimes what comes to mind is those space-age scenes a la The Jetson’s – flying cars, living in the clouds, robot butlers and maids – some may say we’re almost there. While flying cars may be few years off, robotic assistance to make our lives easier is not. Case in point, our Risk team in Toronto is developing a service line using robots. Yes, robots. The future is here, people!
We sat with Risk VP David Lachmansingh to hear a little more about Robotic Process Automation Governance.
In short: Robotic Process Automation (“RPA”) is a series of solutions aimed at leveraging software (or ‘robots’) to assume the everyday process-related tasks previously requiring significant amounts of human involvement.
Common examples where RPA is used include:
- access provisioning / deprovisioning;
- invoice and order processing;
- customer service and support;
- data migration and management;
- optical character resolution (OCR); and
- internal audit and compliance controls testing.
While it sounds complex, it essentially means that RPA attempts to replace the instances of human error in conducting lower value, repetitive processes by introducing systemic, repeatable and scalable solutions. RPA solutions can perform the same repetitive tasks longer, quicker, and more efficiently. Capable of independently performing both simple and complex human-like functions like interpreting, deciding, acting and learning, think of RPA as a private ‘virtual’ workforce.
The client is saving 5,200 hours per year in having to manually perform this job.
Richter has already helped clients find success and efficiency. One client previously dedicated 36 full time employees across its international offices to manually extracting email attachments that came in from vendors daily. Individuals would review the details of each document, extract a PO number and then merge details from different document types associated with that PO and store the merged document. Richter partnered with an RPA vendor to automate this function, from beginning to end using OCR and Machine Learning/AI. Now, the client is saving 100 hours per week (yes, that’s 5,200 hours per year!) in people having to manually perform this job; enabling the employees to be tasked with more, higher-value activities.
WHAT ELSE HAPPENED? The results were:
- 75% faster process completion time
- 100% accuracy in reporting of processing status
- 95% accuracy in processing (which will continuously increase)
- Making a previously “unauditable” process auditable
Richter helped implement the necessary controls to mitigate any risks with automation. We implemented ‘exception handling’, for instance, to ensure completeness of robot processing so that if the robot is unable to process a transaction, the transaction will be reported on and an employee could then follow up and investigate the exception. This will be especially important when audits are performed on the automated function.
DO YOU NEED RPA?
RPA solutions have the potential to be key strategic enablers for a business. This should be thought of as part of a larger strategic plan for improving efficiency across the organization. To be successful, consider:
- Establishing a governance framework and RPA center of excellence
- Preparing a communication plan
- Ensuring processes being considered for RPA have strong Standard Operating Procedures
HOW WE’RE HELPING CLIENTS NOW:
- Assisting in implementing state-of-the art technological solutions to revolutionize IT infrastructures, and providing critical advisory to ensure effective governance:
- Stakeholder communication plans
- Establishment of RPA Committee; policy, guideline and best practice development; implementation support
- Process flow design; roadmaps and strategy development.