What the C-Suite Should Know About RPA

MaryBeth Folger News

RPA and the C-Suite

An increasing number of companies are aiming to get ahead by utilizing robotic process automation (RPA) and other digital transformation tools. It’s more important than ever to know your options and understand how automation can help a business thrive. The growth of RPA adoption isn’t slowing down anytime soon: in fact, according to Forrester, the RPA services market will reach $12 billion by 2023. And according to The Economist, 85% of Chief Information Officers nationwide will implement an RPA solution in the next few years.

Transforming the way we work isn’t optional – it’s inevitable. As businesses prioritize digital transformation, many find that automation is a key piece of the puzzle. Companies in industries like healthcare, mortgage lending, hospitality, insurance and risk management, manufacturing, retail, and banking are applying RPA within their organizations for its myriad of benefits. What does this mean? Very likely, your peers and competitors are all utilizing these resources to get ahead of the game and stay competitive. And so can you – here’s what the C-Suite needs to know before moving forward.

What can RPA do for your business?

At a high level, RPA can help your company work more efficiently, provide a better customer experience, and cut operating costs dramatically. Task efficiency is improved, and cycle times are reduced. Reallocating repetitive and high-volume tasks to the bots can allow employees with valuable industry knowledge to focus on more impactful work, like creative strategy or research. McKinsey estimates that in 60% of all industries, more than 33% of tasks can be handed down to bots, giving employees back ample time during the day. Automation also helps reduce the need for additional FTEs or overtime hours during seasons of volume fluctuation. For example, in healthcare, bots can be scaled up or down to instantly deal with an influx of claims. RPA is not just about cost savings – it’s also about risk reduction. Scalability and precision keep the business robust against human error and unexpected deadlines. Overall, companies that automate lead their industries and experience significant performance improvements. Who couldn’t use a leg up on the competition?

How can I calculate total cost of ownership (TCO)?

Total cost of ownership will differ between licensed RPA software and RPA-as-a-Service (RaaS) offerings. RaaS solutions tend to have fewer costs associated with operation, since licensing costs are nonexistent. Build-it-yourself RPA software can be incredibly expensive and complicated, and many companies don’t realize that ROI won’t be fully recognized until the program matures into multiple areas of the business. With the RPA service model, you’ll have to factor in the cost of infrastructure setup and ongoing maintenance, along with subject matter experts who can explain processes at length to an automation specialist. RaaS solutions come pre-equipped with their own Center of Excellence which builds, operates and maintains your automation initiative on your behalf, giving you a greater chance of success. Learn more about calculating TCO here.

What benefits could my customers experience?

Simply increasing the speed and accuracy of processes can significantly impact customer experience. We worked with a regional mortgage lender to help them reduce the need for human intervention in loan processing. If a lender promises a buyer a quote but can’t deliver by the set deadline, they risk losing the buyer, and ultimately, revenue. Simplifying the loan application and approval process translated into a significantly improved borrower experience. Prior to automation, the loan origination process was time-consuming and prone to error, and borrowers could wait anywhere from 30-50 days for a loan to close. Now, robots process loans 24/7, allowing the lender to offer a competitive $10,000 on-time closing guarantee with every loan. As a result of automation, this client also experienced more than 94% labor savings and reduced operating costs to 33% below industry average. Learn more about the benefits of mortgage process automation here.

What business risks can RPA protect me from?

RPA helps improve compliance and accuracy metrics, because simply put, robots don’t make mistakes. They will do exactly as they’re programmed to do. For businesses that require a high level of compliance, this can make a critical difference in daily operations. Industries like healthcare and finance may struggle to meet compliance regulations entirely, but if they don’t maintain strict standards to meet state and federal mandates, the consequences can be dire. We worked with a large health plan that was struggling to process all their claims at 99% accuracy and before a filing deadline, as mandated by Texas Health and Human Services. We worked with them on a particularly error-prone process that was only at 57% processing accuracy over the span of four years. Within three months of automating with HPA, the client achieved, and has maintained, 99% processing accuracy. For health plans processing Texas Medicaid claims, noncompliance with specific state and federal requirements puts them at risk of a $50,000 penalty, poor member ratings online, and potential loss of business. Learn more about how automation helped this health plan improve their compliance and accuracy here.

How will RPA impact my employees?

According to a recent Forrester report, 66% of respondents said that RPA restructured their existing work, enabling employees to have more human interaction. And 60% reported that RPA helped their employees focus on more meaningful, strategic tasks. Digital transformation initiatives that are vital to the growth of a company can also leave employees uncertain about their role in a new landscape. A well-managed RPA implementation functions as an extension of your workforce, giving employees more advanced tools to perform more meaningful functions and integrating RPA maintenance into the day-to-day workflow. Some employees may express uncertainty or concern about change in the workplace, but a properly aligned change management program can help employers keep their workers in the loop to improve collaboration and communication around the expected changes. While employee fears about RPA are understandable, responders from the Forrester study claimed RPA helped their employees be more engaged and focused, and the error reduction helped customer service employees have more meaningful engagements with customers. New opportunities will be unlocked for employees (and businesses) as automation takes over tedious, mundane tasks and frees workers to be more human.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and learn more about integrating RPA in your own business, contact us today!