Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become more relevant for companies over the last few years. Managers envision robots operating their processes quickly, with high quality and — even better — at lower costs than people do, since robots work 24/7 and perform their tasks without asking questions.
References on the topic include structured platforms, organized processes and important usage cases, such as significant gains and a fast ROI (return on investment), i.e. investments are paid back in less than five months.
However, how does one transform current (manual) processes into automated processes?
It won’t do to install process automation software, to migrate manual processes to that new software program and to expect that robots will perform processes more efficiently, generating gains free of any trouble.
Process automation should be seen as a journey, i.e. a path to be trodden. In adopting that perspective, the current situation of processes needs to be assessed to organize, digitize and automate them, whether cognitive technologies are being used or not.
In addition to failures, contingencies also need to be taken into account by the modeling process, since manual processes, like robotic processes require contingency actions if an issue comes up that may affect them.
After the robotic process modeling has been completed, the following steps are related to the implementation of robots and match the technology project development steps (using either traditional or agile methodologies). Once installed, robots should be monitored to make sure that they are running all processes efficiently.
Stage 4 — Cognitive technologies
Eventually, Cognitive technologies may be included into automated processes, which is the most developed stage an operation may achieve.
Cognitive technologies use artificial intelligence elements to develop the performance of robotic processes or to automate processes based on unstructured information (e.g., answering a question made by a customer on the phone) and that include multiple decisions.
Among the possibilities cognitive technologies offer are Natural Processing Language (NLP), which is used to interpret texts and discourses and to provide answers using multiple channels.
Cognitive technologies also include machine learning or computer learning using computational models that learn how items are processed to promote new decisions or even new workflows.
The use of cognitive technologies provides new possibilities to perform processes, such as fully autonomous processes, automation of complex processes, improvement of robotic processes by computational models, among others.
The stages described above apply to the installation of models as well. Start by defining the potential processes, calculate the economic and financial viability, define the technological platform(s), model both the processes and the technological models, and conclude by implementing the processes and technologies at the company.
Once companies have defined the Operation maturity stages, they need to decide what stage of maturity they want to achieve for each business process and, based on that definition, develop a plan to accomplish that process.
Business Process Automation is part of the Operations Value Proposition offered by everis Business Consulting.