Robotic Process Automation – RPA application areas

Robotic Process Automation – RPA application areas

We explained RPA before. RPA has a fancy name and a growing number of providers however few people I have spoken to could pinpoint exact areas where RPA can be applied. Decided to compile a list of all RPA use cases/application areas we have seen so far:

Quote-to-cash

Every business needs to sell to survive. issues in the operations side of selling can result in customer complaints or selling at reduced prices due to clerical errors.

Automating complete sales operations process eliminates these errors and provides fast service to your customers. Since automation processes sales faster than manual processes, customers will receive invoices earlier, leading to earlier payments and improved cash flow.

Procure-to-pay

Since procure-to-pay process involves extracting invoice and payment data from multiple systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), banks, vendors, logistics companies and since not all these systems provide easy integration methods they generally involve some form of manual labor. RPA bots can fill integration gaps. Since they work on the front-end, they  can provide an easy way to automate integrations.

With a fully automated procure-to-pay, you can ensure that procurement best practices are followed and there’s a single source of truth for all transactions.

Claims processing

Claims processing is at the heart of every insurance company. Since customers make claims at a time of misfortune for them, customer experience and speed are critical in claims processing. There are numerous factors that create issues during claims processing such as

  • Manual/inconsistent processing: Claims processing often involves manual analyses completed by outsourced personnel.
  • Input data of varying formats: Customers send in data with various formats
  • Changing regulation: No insurance company has the luxury of not accommodating to changes in regulation in a timely manner. This requires constant staff training and process update.

These lead to human biases in claims processing which can lead to losses, customer dissatisfaction and lack of visibility in a crucial process.

RPA bots can deal with all these issues. Essentially, bots take in unstructured data in forms, extract structured data and process claims based on pre-defined rules. This approach takes care of all major issues with manual claims processing:

  • Claim verification can be automated with rules
  • Bots can deal with various data formats to extract relevant data
  • Rules can be changed with regulatory changes, without any need for training, immediately ensuring compliance.

Data migration and entry

Legacy systems still perform critical functions at companies. For example legacy billing systems need to interface with other systems and such systems may not have the capability to pull relevant data from APIs. In such cases, employees manually migrate data using formats like CSV. RPA can prevent such manual labor and potential clerical errors it brings.

Periodic report preparation and dissemination

Every business requires regular reports to inform managers and ensure team are aware of their progress. Preparing such reports and sending them over every week or month is not labor intensive but it distracts employees. RPA solutions can easily auto-generate reports, analyze their contents and based on the contents, email them to relevant stakeholders.

For example, a report of a telecom operator showing areas with connectivity issues has different recipients based on its severity. CTO should be copied in reports with criticial issues and head of network should be copied in reports with major issues. RPA bots can analyze reports to modify recipients according to provided criteria.

Other areas

We listed some major areas of RPA applications but there are other use cases as well. RPA provides your teams a Swiss Army knife of automation and they should be using it as automation opportunities arise. Some other areas where RPA has been used are:

  • Inventory management
  • Mass email generation

We also listed the benefits you can reap from these applications.

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