Robotic process automation (RPA) is a new type of software that acts as a virtual workforce. It is the hottest ticket in the already hype-fuelled world of automation, and some would say that in the next two to three years it is going to become an integral part of your operations – whether in-house, shared services or outsourced. But who is driving RPA? And if the future is RPA, who is going to make it happen so quickly?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
In 2009, I was a Director in the Project Management Office at Blue Cross/Blue Shield North Carolina, when we launched an initiative to build a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) application that mimicked the functions of human claims examiner. Overseeing a team of eight software engineers, analysts and testers, we developed a robotic engine and, over the next 18 months, systematically expanded the application’s capabilities.
The world of sourced services is developing rapidly. Gone are the long-term, rigid forms based on lease funding and assumptions of slothful corporate evolution. The cloud, rapid innovation and globalisation have put paid to that. So what emerging trends of the sourcing market are noteworthy for commissioning directors?
Earlier today, I had the honour of delivering the final presentation at the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG)‘s latest London Regional Roundtable – this time round, actually, a joint effort with the wonderful folks at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), which also comprised the ACTE London Corporate Travel Procurement Forum.
Three blogs in already and we have yet to tackle the elephant in the room: what precisely is robotic process automation (RPA)?
In our quest for robotic process automation (RPA) enlightenment, we will come across a lot of speculation and hyperbole on the way. In such a young industry this is perhaps inevitable, but on this journey we will try to separate the wheat from the chaff and pick out real evidence as much as possible. Let’s start as we mean to go on:
In this article I examine the question of whether an in-house or outsourced approach is best when transforming business support services such as HR, procurement, customer care, etc. So for example an organisation might ask itself: “Should we establish a robotic process automation (RPA) regime in our accounting operation or should we get a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider to run our accounting for us, which would include the deployment of its RPA regime?”
The concept of “capability” has long been used in strategic analysis to establish defensible leadership. What are the capabilities that are being established by leading service providers and customers? How do you assess the difference between hype and substance?
Automation is unquestionably the flavour of the month in business chatter today. Robotic process automation (RPA), and a storm of other smart automation approaches like Artificial Intelligence, are being pitched and perceived as the NEXT BIG THING, akin to the emergence of outsourcing some 30 years ago, and offshoring 15 years ago.
Robots hit the headlines over many national and industry outlets this week. The clincher statistic, as reported by Bloomberg, The Times, and most of the international press, is that over five million jobs will be lost by 2020 as a result of developments in artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological change.