We all have used a vending machine once in our lives. The oldest application of vending machine dates back to the Roman era, where the machine used to accept coin and dispense holy water. The concept of automatic service delivery isn’t new but it is the thought behind that concept, which is crucial. Early civilization realized the need to automate routine tasks and came up with a rule-based mechanism to provide service. They came up with an idea of having a system in place wherein they can give input in the form of a token and get something in return, thus making lives easier.
In the modern era, we got ATMs automating a lot of teller work, which reduced the queues at banks and made life simpler. ATMs provided economic value to banks by re-purposing staff for more productive work and by the start of the century we were already in-deep with understanding and implementing automation.
Today, we are surrounded with innovative business solutions suggesting us to progress towards automation for almost all our routine business processes that are well defined by business rules and there’s a very tempting reason for it, the Automation Economics!
Automation Economics suggests that transitioning a routing business process to Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Giants such as Amazon and IBM are already aggressively adopting RPA into their business proposition due to its sheer economic impact. Automation Economics was fictional until 2000 when the industry was reeling out of the ‘dot com’ crisis and search engines were making headways with their innovation. By 2005, however, RPA was really picking up steam with business tools such as BluePrism, UiPath and Automation Anywhere were entering untouched industry spaces. By 2012, the automation scene just exploded with more than a dozen Business Automation tools offering best of the solutions and improvement in quality at a fraction of the cost. Businesses, thus, began looking forward to spending and become a part of the Automation Economics.
There are three major categories in the RPA ecosystem:
- Business consumers
- Service vendors
- Tool makers
According to a report by Grand View Research, the market size of the US automation industry was valued at about $357.5 Million in 2017, with expected CAGR of almost 31% until 2025. The increasing demand for automation – leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and software robots – is expected to drive the market.
Some of the reasons why RPA brings good economics:
- RPA enables a Bot program to learn old and new business rules without incurring much of the training cost
- Helps lower human errors, such as recording values incorrectly, incorrect spellings to customer emails, etc.
- Enables businesses to maintain their legacy solution systems without adhering the cost of a skilled resource
- Reduces system migration cost
- Easy to scale up and down as per market demand
- Faster implementation of solutions, thanks to mature automation tools
- Enables businesses to utilize or re-purpose existing workforce in more meaningful roles that are less routine and more cognitive
- Seamless operations ensure faster turnaround time in processing complex functions
- Reduces the economic impact of manual work-related issues such as changes in workforce or attrition
- Helps organizations set business rules where none existed and gain value from automation
- Reduces training/ hiring cost for manual resources of complex systems
- Customize automation solutions that could not have been conceived with human involvement
- Extended capability due to the memory of the robot that’s executing business flow, as the bot is able to recall business information from multiple sources, as and when required
Though with all good things said about machines doing all the work, these solutions do not completely overshadow the role of humans in the business nor do they eliminate the need for human intervention or human involvement in the existing business process. It does, however, offer more business capacity with existing infrastructure, allows businesses to re-allocate manpower in more complex business functions or even manage the automated workforce and offers quick central management and nimbleness to the business services.
In conclusion, RPA is not just a small-time trend, it is here to dominate the business focus for many organizations whether it is consumed to reduce cost or to increase productivity or used as a service tool to provide augmented solutions.