Across the spectrum of financial industries, there is a buzz surrounding the idea of automation. Since the early 2000’s when whispers began of RPA, it has been the dream of many leaders to enlist independent robots as part of the workforce. In 2018 this has become a reality.
Robotic process automation is the latest step in the widespread use of automation, and leading insurers are already implementing this intelligent new breed of AI to support their businesses. Preparing for RPA will lay a foundation for the future inclusion of digital workers in your organisation, whether it is sooner or later.
Like with all technological advances, there are risks. RPA can’t simply be set up in a day with the expectation that the bots will immediately double productivity.
Implementing RPA is a transformational project, the effects of which will be felt across the entire organisation. Left unchecked, these ripples are liable to become serious interruptions that could leave the business with more problems than benefits.
It is for this reason that Purple recommends taking the following steps to begin preparing for RPA bots, making their introduction to your workforce a smooth process.
Begin by considering the bots in a similar way to human job applicants. What role will they fill? How many will be required? Where do they fit within the business? This perspective can help you to understand whether they are a good fit for your organisation.
Moreover, consider the effect that the digital workforce will have on your current human one. Who is currently doing the work that the bots will come to do? Preparing for RPA must involve risk assessment and an understanding of where to redeploy human resources.
For example, if an administrative assistant spends 80% of their time processing applications, they could find themselves with sparse work once the bots begin to shoulder this responsibility. It’s important to plan out how this assistant can be better utilised, or they may only continue to perform the 20% of their role that is required. RPA’s primary benefit is efficiency, but the human element needs to become equally efficient.
Talk to your employees, perhaps through a survey, find out how much of their time can be saved by RPA implementation. This will lay the foundation for organisational change. This survey will also make a great asset when it comes to building a business case for RPA.
Once the opportunities and effects of RPA are understood, the next step is strategy. As with any transformation, the change must become part of your long-term business plan.
Begin by assessing your business strategy, consider your businesses strengths and weaknesses. Using this starting point identify metrics and realistic goals that the long-term use of RPA can make a success. For example, reducing claims processing times by 30% and maintaining that time at X number of minutes, is a realistic goal that will provide your customer with a better experience than your competitor.
Consider cyber security as well. To stay ahead of potential data breaches, understand where bots may pose a risk, where they could potentially be handling personal data. The good news is that most data breaches occur because of human error. No humans, no human error. Nevertheless, ensure you understand and minimise vulnerabilities that the move to RPA may create.
It is vitally important that you plan, in detail the role that each bot will fill. Creating their ‘job role’ will involve the careful step-by-step planning of the processes that they will go through to complete tasks. This is the foundation from which engineers will be able to implement the bots, and having it prepared will save time.
Whilst bots will work diligently and independently, they will also likely interact with human employees at certain points. As such, there needs to be a level of awareness raised with the workforce across the entire organisation before these changes are made.
For many the first reaction to the digital workforce is fear. “Is this robot going to take my job?” Adoption and acceptance are not going to occur if your people think that they are under threat. So, make them aware that RPA is for their benefit.
Be transparent, an internal awareness campaign is going to save you a lot of complaints and fear. Run drop-in sessions for questions about the digital workforce or make it a PR exercise. Robots are cool, so work with marketing to broadcast your new automation efforts inside and outside of the company.