David Brakoniecki, managing director of BP3 Europe – BP3 Global Ltd – explains the leap forward in automating outsourcing through robotic process automation
Recent technological advancements have wrought tectonic shifts in process management. In all disrupted markets the landscape is rapidly changing. It is critical, therefore, that business leaders are agile enough to keep pace with the megatrends, and developments in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation.
For most of the last two decades, outsourcing organisations have been driven by labour arbitrage. The business case would follow these lines: if you have a low-skilled data-entry job, you can outsource it in London, where it will cost a small fortune, or in the north-east of England, say, where it is less expensive, or in India, where it is cheaper still.
Robotic process automation (RPA) – automating mundane, repetitive software tasks to free up employees to perform higher-value work – has been around for 15 years, though it has enjoyed limited success, with some discouraged by teething problems and early limitations. Now, though, we are witnessing a paradigm shift. RPA 2.0 is supercharged by the evolution of AI and machine-learning.
In 2018, RPA is better, cheaper, more mature and reliable, and it is able to handle increasingly complex processes. Unsurprisingly, it is causing a huge impact on the traditional business process outsourcing industry, and has a vital role to play in the present and future of outsourcing. Little wonder RPA has become a hot topic of conversation when I speak with progressive-minded C-suite executives. We have reached a tipping point.
Our clients, including global financial institutions, major utilities and healthcare conglomerates, plus numerous leaders in other markets, confidently use RPA to transfer and migrate data between systems, or when there is no back-end integration available. It is also employed to extract data from documents, or convert unstructured text to useful and readable data. I’m excited about the near-future possibilities because RPA’s capabilities are only going to improve.
Adoption of RPA reduces human error, decreases development costs, accelerates the time to achieve value and increases efficiency throughout an organisation by fulfilling automated tasks in seconds or minutes, around the clock.
You need not worry about a bot making a key decision, or human judgment being ignored – RPA simply speeds your processes up
Sceptics and technophobes alike have voiced concerns that robots will take the jobs of humans, and for low-skilled work that might be true, admittedly. However, RPA will drastically enhance the work of the majority of employees. You need not worry about a bot making a key decision, or human judgment being ignored – RPA simply speeds your processes up. Moreover, it can catalyse an organisation’s digital transformation.
For example, a human, branch-based bank customer-service representative might be asked to search through a client’s records, spanning five accounts and ten years, for something specific. By using RPA, accessing the correct data is significantly less time consuming for the employee and the client is happy that he or she has not had to wait around for the answer. As better levels of customer services are demanded in the digital age, this is a crucial point and those who manage to meet expectations will gain a competitive advantage.
Last year, McKinsey Global Institute’s A Future That Works: Automation, Employment and Productivity report calculated “about 60 per cent of all occupations have at least 30 per cent of constituent activities that could be automated”. It added: “More occupations will change than will be automated away.”
The fact of the matter is the headline “Company fires 5,000 workers and replaces them with robots” is more evocative than the nuanced reality that RPA and bots will actually improve human’s jobs. Just imagine the effectiveness of your team, and also the morale boost now that responsibility for the dullest elements of their job has been removed, if they had 30 per cent more time to work on the tasks that will generate greater value.
With business complexity, competition, as well as the expectations of various stakeholders all increasing, and budgets either flat or decreasing, organisations are scrambling to enable their employees – and here is where BP3 can help. To achieve great automation and determine which technology would best suit, it is imperative to map out an organisation’s processes and business goals.
In a short discovery exercise, BP3’s experts will be able to understand the connection between the experience a client is trying to deliver to its customers. Our experienced team will not only suggest which work can be automated, they will implement the appropriate technology, such as business process management, decision management, content management, machine-learning and AI.
In summary, BP3 can create and power a digital operations framework for your organisation, with RPA at the core. In these changing times our expertise and guidance could prove to be the difference between success and failure.