With the changing nature of modern business and workplace, the methods and approaches deployed to automate tasks have changed as well. From automating single isolated tasks, we moved to BPM, then outsourcing, and finally, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) that helps businesses automate their core processes rapidly.
What is RPA?
RPA is essentially computer software that can automate repetitive and rules-based tasks that are typically performed by humans on their computers using a user interface to manipulate data and applications. RPA has the ability to speedily mimic human actions without making any errors or resting and can operate any application or read data in a structured form. In more generic terms, RPA can open an email, log into web/enterprise applications, move files and folder, copy and paste information, fill forms, read and write to databases, scrape data from the internet, connect to system API, make calculations, collect social media statistics, and so much more.
Benefits and adoption of RPA
In the past decade, RPA has facilitated accelerated digital transformations to improve efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, reduce compliance costs and risk, and also increase employee satisfaction and engagement. This is one race where everyone in the business world is catching up because as per Deloitte, most organizations have embarked upon their RPA journey. While 53 percent state that they have initiated the use of RPA in their organization, this number will reach 72 percent by 2022. Furthermore, 78 percent of organizations that have already implemented RPA expect to significantly increase their investment in the same over the next three years.
HR value chain & RPA potential
RPA holds immense significance for the function of HR as a majority of traditional HR tasks have high or medium automation potential. For instance, RPA can be used to automate the management of hiring plans, creating and posting job descriptions, screening candidates, developing and extending offer letters, manage pre-joining formalities, manage orientation and training for new hires, manage employee career development, implement rewards and recognition strategies, manage employee query resolution, generate reports, measure engagement and do so much more. Thus, time-consuming standardized tasks like scheduling interviews, preparing offer letters, updating databases, filling forms, or on boarding can be done efficiently without minimal human intervention, using attended or unattended bots and tools.
This will allow HR leaders and professionals to focus on designing relevant and impactful HR strategies and processes, develop a compelling employer brand, create skilling and training programs, develop leadership, and ensure the alignment of an organization’s business and people objectives. Furthermore, using RPA can also make data easy-to-use and insightful as it can be used to identify, resolve, and design relevant experiences in the workplace.
The future of business and workplace is about humanizing automation and ensuring that new-age solutions help humans work in seamless synergy with machines. Thus, if any task today is repetitive, standardized, and high-volume, it is most likely to be automated using RPA in the near future. Leaders and professionals today must make an attempt to understand and implement RPA in their organizations or risk becoming obsolete in the future.
(This article is based on the Masterclass ‘Designing the Future Workplace: Automation, Work & Productivity’ by Abhijit Rao, Head of People, APAC, UiPath, and Sahana Shekhar, Director, Global Product Support, UiPath, at TechHR 2019.)