As we begin to exit from the Coronavirus pandemic and begin the work towards reopening, there is a lot of discussion around how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has quickly provided value over the past few months. From Government agencies utilizing RPA to help compile and report COVID-19 data, healthcare organizations utilizing automation to handle testing registration and reporting, to national and regional banks utilizing RPA to help manage the influx, processing and distribution of CARES Act small business loans, the benefits of automation combined with quick delivery RPA solutions has been visible.
But this is just the beginning. Your organization will change as well, and over the critical next few months, RPA can play a role in your success. Here are 3 ways that RPA can help your organization get back to work in a Coronavirus world:
Providing More Flexibility for Work-From-Home
It's been said that 2020 forced 2 years of digital transformation into 2 months. For many organizations, COVID-19 has significantly accelerated the introduction and use of employee remote access (VPN, RDP), collaboration tools (Slack, Teams), video conferencing (Zoom, Teams, WebEx), and other tools. With less press fanfare around tool growth, this transformation has also created major changes within organizations in policies and procedures, security controls and access, and "how-we-work" business process changes. Businesses had to quickly adapt, making broad process and security control changes to allow remote work. Business processes and decisions that even in January would be unheard of were suddenly pushed to the forefront.
Some examples of what used to be commonplace. A large financial institution would have required that for specific business teams, all access to customer financial records must occur on-site. An insurance organization would take inbound applications for new accounts via US Mail for manual processing. A healthcare provider may be required to make outbound calls to inform Coronavirus testing result notifications which require physical presence in the call center. These processes were built based on a set of security (PCI, HIPAA) and privacy assumptions that had to be thrown out the window in March.
RPA can play a significant role here to help allow modified in-office employee schedules, control and maintain social distancing through office layout modifications, and allow a more flexible schedule of work. Some examples:
- For our financial organization example, utilize a robot to allow "on-site" processing of secure customer financial records, allowing remote users to view & manipulate non-sensitive information on a BYOD laptop.
- For our insurance organization taking paper account opening forms, they could put an unattended robot and a cloud matching learning model into service to take scanned physical mail and perform OCR duties and processing related to account opening.
- Finally, our healthcare provider could utilize both attended and unattended robots and additional cloud services to help with the processing and notification of testing results, allowing the processing of results, creation of call/SMS lists, and even outreach of results through the automation of IVR systems.
This is just a small list, and the Optezo catalog for RPA success has even more. The similarities in these use cases is that these aren't 6-month development projects requiring large teams, expensive consultants, and massive investments – these can be created in days and weeks, not months and years.
Helping Organizations Get Back to Work
For many organizations, layoffs, furloughed employees, W2 employees moved to W2 Hourly – all of these transitions (and more) have occurred so far in 2020. The world is hoping for a massive reverse over the rest of this year and beyond. As the country beings to ramp up, and we collectively enter into an unknown winter/flu season, the ability to quickly handle the workforce changes will become more and more important.
Robotic Process Automation can play a significant role in helping smooth the challenges of an evolving workforce:
- Using robots to automate the onboarding / re-boarding of employees, including benefits, system access, notifications, hardware procurement and other items that are important for getting an employee productive as soon as they're re-hired.
- New ways of working remotely or in reduced-footprint office spaces will force the creation of new application development processes for internal teams. It will also stress different parts of the internal infrastructure. Utilizing robots throughout the software and infrastructure delivery lifecycle can assist in application testing and delivery, infrastructure changes, routine maintenance, batch processing and other areas where standardization can help reduce errors and allow IT resources to deliver value in more important ways.
Helping Organizations Survive
Regardless of our collective desire to get back to work, most organizations will not look the same in July 2020 as they did in January 2020. Cost control, employee productivity, and revenue generation will be top of mind for all organizations and the phrase "do more with less" is going to have significantly more meaning. Regardless of your industry or customer focus, Robotic Process Automation can play a huge role in your go-forward success:
- Utilize robots to automate tasks so you can succeed with a smaller workforce. Lower your total workforce costs by finding good use cases, building your RPA playbook and allowing automation to take some of the workload. Robots can significantly help in the automation of repeatable, mundane tasks.
- Turn your process workers into knowledge workers. As the workforce contracts, use automation to allow your organization to push to a higher percentage of knowledge workers to process workers. By automating the mundane and repeatable tasks, give additional time for your workforce to focus on innovation, strategy, and decisioning that will bring about increased profitability and customer service.
There are many more examples and ways for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to be a key component for your organization's success in this post-pandemic world. Remember that RPA doesn't take large IT teams or 6 month development engagements to create working robots that can produce massive return. Speak to us about how Optezo's RPA-as-a-Service can further increase the ROI of RPA.