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A guide to robotic process automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) efforts, when applied at the right scale, can be truly transformative for many organizations. Interest and activity in RPA is growing and we are increasingly seeing deployments reaching enterprise scale and operating on processes across the organization.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses software, commonly known as a ‘robot’, to capture and interpret existing IT applications to enable transaction processing, data manipulation, and communication across multiple IT systems.
RPA tools are best suited for processes with repeatable, predictable interactions with IT applications. These processes typically lack the scale or value to warrant automation via IT transformation. RPA tools can improve the efficiency of these processes and the effectiveness of services without fundamental process redesign.
How does RPA work?
The benefits of RPA solutions go beyond cost reduction and include:
- Decreased cycle times and improved throughput
- Flexibility and scalability
- Improved accuracy
- Improved employee morale
- Detailed data capture
What can robotics do?
At Deloitte, we have deployed RPA software, at scale (to the equivalent of the manual efforts of 100s of people), within client organizations, and within our own internal support processes. We have found it useful to consider robotics (and related cognitive tools) in terms of what they can actually do for a business.
We call these the ‘7 Robotic Skills’ – explore the video
What processes are suitable to deploy with RPA?
RPA tools are best suited for processes with repeatable, predictable interactions with IT applications. These processes typically lack the scale or value to warrant automation via core systems transformation or if core systems transformation is not due to be implemented soon. RPA tools can improve the efficiency of these processes and the effectiveness of services without changing the underlining systems.
RPA software ‘robots’ perform routine business processes by mimicking the way that people interact with applications through a user interface and following simple rules to make decisions. Entire end-to-end processes can be performed by software robots with very little human interaction, typically to manage exceptions.
RPA is applicable to a broad spectrum of processes and tasks including:
- Opening email and attachments
- Logging into web/enterprise applications
- Moving files and folders
- Copying and pasting
- Filling in forms
- Reading and writing to database
- Scraping data from the web
- Connecting to system APIs
- Making calculations
- Extracting structured data from documents
- Collecting social media statistics
- Following “if/then” decisions/rules
In the health care sector, we believe that RPA can be applied to both clinical and non-clinical processes, including, but not exclusive to:
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Lab reporting
- Reporting requirements to the government
- Back-office opportunities in accounts payable (processing invoice or payments), accounts receivable (collection accounting)
- Supply chain (data entry, asset management maintenance)
- Emergency Room throughput analysis