RPA for Everyone: Successful Applications across Industries

Since the days of screen scraping and IVRS, robotic process automation has come a very long way. In this post, we talk about some of the most successful adoptions of RPA across industries.

Large and small enterprises worldwide are slowly adopting RPA for various reasons. Each industry has its own unique needs and idiosyncrasies that RPA is helping address, from simple customer support to complex healthcare delivery.

Employee Productivity in Retail

For an employee-driven industry such as retail, the most important use-case for RPA is in improving worker productivity. The bureau of labour statistics (BLS) in the US estimates that there are over 5.9 million workers in the retail industry, making up nearly 12% of all non-farm employment.   Businesses spend billions of dollars on hiring, training,    managing people, most of which have failed to show a steep increase in productivity.

Recently, Walmart showed that software bots can help with that! The global retailer has employed AI-powered chatbots to interact with employees and provide information they needed in a timely manner. Some of the 500+ robots the company brought on board also do the kind of work that employees would find boring, be tired of, or make mistakes with — such as sifting through tens of thousands of pages of audit documents.

With RPA, people have found the minion to happily and efficiently do the work that employees don’t like to…

Customer Service in Energy in Utilities

…or can’t possibly do in peak times. Last year, Duke Energy deployed several software bots to automate receipt and processing of service requests — tasks such as scheduling appointments and informing technicians of their jobs.

The ability to process tens of thousands of requests each month, without human intervention and round the clock, helped handle customer relationships, especially during peak-period efficiently and satisfactorily. It helped reduce days of wait down to mere minutes!

Customer Relationship Management in Financial Services

Take the case of Equifax, a global customer credit reporting agency. The firm deployed RPA bots to perform data-entry tasks that finally liberated customer service agents from the swivel chair of entering — often duplicating — information across multiple windows. Equifax used RPA to complement and support customer service agents, empowering them to interact better with the customer.

Like Equifax, there are many adopters of RPA in the financial services industry already. Repetitive processes in insurance claims, data collection from multiple sources, extracting agreement terms, manual reconciliation — there are only a few of the things that the financial services industry has started automating.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based RPA now helps organisations make key decisions regarding a user’s credit worthiness, fraud detection, preventing financial crime, underwriting etc. As market demands and compliance pressure increase, RPA will become the preferred tool for performing tasks quickly and accurately.

Finance and Accounting Management in Manufacturing

This would become increasingly important even within finance and accounting functions of other industries. Option3’s client, a well-known European automobile manufacturer, used Jiffy RPA to see a 12x improvement in TAT, 5x increase in capacity for handling volume and a 100% payment clearance, leaving human resources to do what they do best — have meaningful business relationships with one another…

Remote-worker Productivity in High-Tech Industries

…even when they’re not in the same location! High-technology industries are seeking innovative ways to improve productivity of employees who work remotely or from home. Hitachi aims to improve productivity from remote work and human resource utilisation through its ‘workstyle innovation powered by RPA, AI and IoT technologies.

RPA for Healthcare

Any post on artificial intelligence and robotic processes will be incomplete without mentioning IBM Watson, which is working in various healthcare establishment such as the MD Anderson cancer centre for detailed data mining and gleaning hitherto invisible insights

Incredibly exciting work in the field of RPA is happening worldwide, across industries and for various reasons. Organisations have moved on from thinking of RPA as a way to automate mundane tasks — which they still do, of course — to explore avenues of bringing cognitive automation to areas that are beyond the reach of human capacity. The Google Brain team is working on various things from people-centred AI to deep-learning methods for the creation of art.

As I look back at the last eighteen years since I joined the workforce, the journey of RPA has been incredibly exciting and positive. Looking forward, I expect no less!

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