Why Small Businesses Need Robotic Process Automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) have the power to transform your business, and this is more true than ever in today's ever-changing world.
That's because they can be used to improve your marketing, product quality, customer experience, processes and a whole lot more.
Not only that, but almost every major business uses RPA and AI nowadays. So, you'll need to move fast to keep up with your competitors in 2022. Luckily, these tips can make the integration process much easier.
1. Know What Your RPA Platform Will Accomplish
While RPA can be used to improve almost any company's digital marketing strategy, this isn't the only thing that you can use it for.
In fact, there are thousands of potential uses of AI and RPA software. For instance, insurance companies use it to calculate rates and premiums.
Many applications of robotic processing automation can and do pertain to marketing and customer service so look at these areas.
2. Understand the Place That Your RPA Platform Will Have in Your Business
It's essential to fully understand the place that your RPA program will have in the management and operation of your business.
In most cases, robotic process automation programs can lead to significant improvement in productivity.
However, it isn't possible to fully automate every portion of your company's operations with RPA. You will need to consider AI but don't forget your people either. They are key to your success.
3. Consider How RPA Will Impact Your Business in the Long Run
In order to create an effective RPA platform, it's essential to consider the long-term impact that it will have on your brand. Some companies fail to consider this when they're first implementing robotic process automation. Instead, many focus on short-term increases in productivity.
Luckily, figuring out how a particular automation program will impact your brand can be easier than you might expect if you know what to look for.
In fact, it's often possible to get a lot of the information that you'll need by reading user reviews from people who used the RPA platform you're considering.
These are a few of the most important things to look for:
- Easy to use: Make sure that reviewers feel that the platform is easy to use and support.
- Customer support: Choose a platform that offers high-quality customer support over the long term.
- Coordination: Ensure your business strategy and your RPA platforms go hand in hand or at least in the same direction.
- You should strongly consider an AI platform that users have found to be useful for market research, which can give you the data that you need for a deep machine learning-based analysis.
4. Use Cloud Technology
As a developer, cloud technology is one of the most effective tools that you have at your disposal.
Here are a few advantages of using cloud technology for RPA integration:
1. Big data at your fingertips: You'll be able to make use of big data analytics and machine learning more easily than ever before, which can make it possible to improve your customer reputation management practices.
2. Store your files: You can use cloud technology for file storage, which can make it easy to organize, collaborate upon and share documents, code and project notes related to your RPA program.
3. Work remotely: Cloud software can make it much easier for developers to work remotely on your RPA project, which is expected to become more important than ever given continuing concerns about the pandemic.
Even if you don't know how to code or program, you'll still be able to create effective, scalable RPA tools for your company with a plethora of free RPA materials and courses available online!
5. Don't Expect RPA to Lead to Significant Job Losses
While many people have concerns about robotic automation leading to job losses, this does not seem to have happened on a large scale. In fact, there's no strong evidence that RPA has led to job losses.
According to Holzer, thanks to RPA, there are now more employment available, some of which are well-paying positions for highly trained analysts. Others, including those in the personal services sector, pay substantially lower earnings.
More generally, workers who can supplement the new technology and carry out jobs that are beyond the scope of machines frequently experience increases in pay.
Automation generally results in a transfer of remuneration from employees to business owners, who reap the benefits of higher earnings with less labor expenditure.
6. Focus Closely on Long-Term Results
You can expect the results of using an RPA software platform to fluctuate over time, so it's best to look more closely at the long-term picture. In general, you're likely to see results over the course of several months.
However, the exact time frame will vary considerably from one company to another.
RPA solutions and even more intelligent technologies have a huge potential for widespread adoption across all industries, according to industry researchers.
Technologies like machine learning and cognitive computing, for instance, need learning on the part of the computer or software beyond original programming, much like a human would react in analogous circumstances.
By learning from and adapting depending on prior actions and experiences, these platforms are able to deal with unforeseen faults and exceptions in a business process.
They may make decisions and use creativity, which is different from traditional automation.
As a result, businesses will be able to automate improved visibility, transparency, communication, and cooperation across their value chain.
Companies will need to have a systematic framework for locating and developing automation possibilities, as well as managing the overall process across the company, as hyperautomation takes root.
To coordinate and scale automation projects, several firms have created an automation Center of Excellence.
7. Have a Systems Integrator Who Is Strongly Invested in the Project
In order to ensure that your RPA software integration goes as planned, choosing a systems integrator who is exceptionally skilled and has a vested interest in the project will be essential.
Two tried and true tips that can help you find the right systems integrator are:
Choose a systems integration professional who will fit into the unique culture of your company.
Offer competitive pay and treat the vendors team as part of your own. Share knowledge freely and create one winning team.
8. Restart the Project If Necessary
If you find that your company's RPA integration is not going as planned, it's never too late to start over. While it's always important to be patient, these are some of the most important signs that it could be time for a fresh start:
- If you find that there have been little to no results despite multiple troubleshooting attempts, it could be time to consider giving yourself a fresh start with new tools.
- If your RPA platform becomes outdated due to new technologies, then it's usually best to restart the project.
- In some cases, you may need to abandon an RPA integration platform temporarily or permanently due to lack of support from other members of your company's team.
Not only is it essential to ensure that the CEO or owner supports the company's use of the platform(s), but it's also important to make sure that other members of your management team are behind it as well. This will help the integration process go smoothly.
According to Ezer, businesses require a well-defined RPA communications and advocacy plan with three key touch points in order to properly implement the RPA program and gain the most benefits possible throughout the entire organization:
Complete senior leadership understanding, agreement, and support.
Line of business (LOB) managers and important personnel in the departments most impacted by the automation project acting as grassroots advocates.
Complete, proactive communication strategies that include practical marketing materials to ensure that staff members have the knowledge they require at all times.
The success of any RPA project depends on the development of such a detailed plan, yet many businesses lack the knowledge to do so.
10. Take Plenty of Time to Pick the Right Tools
Picking the right RPA software can be complicated, and this means you need to make sure that you take plenty of time to pick the right ones for your brand.
In fact, you can expect to spend up to four months comparing platforms. However, the specific amount of time that you'll need depends largely on your business model.
According to Heller, there are 10 criteria to consider before choosing your RPA software:
- Ease of bot setup
- Low-code capabilities
- Attended vs. unattended
- Machine learning capabilities
- Exception handling and human review
- Integration with enterprise applications
- Orchestration and administration
- Cloud bots
- Process and task discovery and mining
Read the full article here.
11. Create an Intelligent Automation Toolbox
Make sure that the RPA software you purchase is powered with artificial intelligence. Whilst RPA can help deliver faster manual processes, AI can handle decision making, conversion (NLP/Chatbots) and help create actionable decision insight.
Create a digital toolbox of all the RPA / IA tools you need to replicate the talents of human beings to enable you to automate more end-to-end processes.
While this will look quite different from one company to another, your toolbox will make it easier to pick the right tools for each task.
For instance, you'll be able to create a set of AI-powered tools that are all specifically designed for customer reputation management.
12. Understand the Downsides to RPA
While there are many benefits of using RPA software to streamline your business, you'll also need to be familiar with the potential drawbacks associated with it. Here are a few potential drawbacks of RPA integration to be familiar with:
- Despite the fact that RPA platforms have become incredibly sophisticated, relying too heavily on them can cause your marketing strategy to become a bit stilted at times.
- In some cases, using the wrong RPA platforms could even make your online marketing strategy less effective.
Faulty RPA platforms could cause automated messages to be flagged as spam.
Luckily, the benefits of RPA platforms greatly outweigh the disadvantages in most cases. Every business owner's experience will be somewhat different, though.
13. Recognize That AI Has Applications in Nearly Every Field
Regardless of the type of business that you own, it's important to realize that there's almost always a way that you could improve your company with AI.
In most cases, there are numerous ways that a business can utilize it. Therefore, it's important to be familiar with any frequently overlooked uses of artificial intelligence for business owners in your field.
It's also important to understand that all RPA platforms make use of artificial intelligence. That's because AI is what makes it possible for this software to gather data and analyze it.
Today's artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming more sophisticated, so you should always do everything that you can to keep up. This is more important than ever in 2022.
14. RPA Software Is Not a Substitute for Sound Management Practices
Always remember that no AI-powered software program is a replacement for sound business management practices, and carrying the right insurance policy is crucial.
In fact, your coverage could even protect you from severe losses and bankruptcy.
It's essential to ensure that your policy offers at least $1 million in coverage. You'll also need to make sure that it includes both liability and professional indemnity coverage.
This will help to keep you protected throughout a wide range of situations that you could face.