In the past, only humans have the ability to manipulate data, solve arithmetic operations, collect data, and store information. Computers were invented to aid humans in data retrieval and calculation with just a single click of the mouse as time goes by. The emerging technologies today can now answer the million dollar question, “Is it possible to perform tedious tasks without human aid?” The obvious answer would be yes.
This is possible with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This system is used to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of performing basic office tasks while lessening subjectivity bias, human error, and inaccuracy. Automated systems such as RPA can have a huge impact on Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies.
According to a Gartner study in 2016, the IT services market reached $929 billion with 3.8% growth in constant currency, while 2.1% growth in U.S. dollars. The major contributor of these big numbers came from outsourcing with 60% market growth in constant currency. In 2020, it is expected that the market will reach the $1.1 trillion mark. With these numbers and figures, BPO companies are paying a lot of money to outsource their labor force.
Although RPA is a system which could lessen the workload of the people, why would companies prefer such system rather than outsource labor force? Systems like RPA is cheaper compared to hiring several people. Manual labor force can be time-consuming, subjective, and prone to human error, and inaccuracy when given a large amount of work. Therefore, it is more efficient to develop a system which will improve the results of manual labor force.
Data processing is one of the common tasks that could be improved by using automated systems. RPA can do common clerical office tasks like the collection of data from digital format or paper, generation of reports, the collection of information from existing documents, sorting and extraction of information, and other basic office tasks. These systems can be deployed online or hosted on cloud with consideration of security and compliance of requirements. The domain of the system, may it be in banking, finance, insurance, healthcare, or legal services, should not matter as long as the documents to be processed is present.
Another job that could be improved by augmented intelligence is the job of IT-BPO contact workers. They can use a voice-based natural language software which can speak to customers using spoken English language and add sales for them. Although it is automated, IT-BPO workers will still have a role in it. They shall monitor the calls and intervene when the application or software encounters a problem like an inability to understand the words spoken by a customer.
The development of automated systems can decrease the cycle times and improve throughput since software robots can work 24 hours a day and they can perform tasks faster than humans do. RPA systems can also be redesigned once there is a change in an important process. In addition, it can improve the accuracy of the output since these systems are programmed for a specific instruction and it should not have an error. However, the downside is that it could not apply intuitive actions when a problem arises compared to humans.
Before implementing a Robotic Process Automation, it should be noted that software systems and robots are also prone to failure. If an error arises, these systems will execute the flawed instruction repetitively unless someone recognizes the failure.
Due to the high rise in the demand for labor, automated systems such as RPA can be of great help to complete repetitive basic office tasks. The cost of such systems are low and operation management are cheaper. Because of this, it is expected that BPO companies and Back Office will shift from manual outsourcing of labor force to automated systems.
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