What I got from Attending a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) conference

By Angela Polania

Last week I attended an RPA technology vendor’s conference in Miami. What was obvious from attending this conference and having exposure and experience working this field for over a year is that we are only at the beginning of this large opportunity to change the way many humans work and the future of repetitive or simple decision-making task jobs.

RPA alone will bring many benefits to organizations that are looking to improve their operational tasks and eliminate repetition and redundancy from humans. RPA combined with Machine Learning will improve tasks for simple decision making (e.g. pre-approved under writing of a loan without human interaction based on inputs and calculations from various sources), the RPA of the future promises the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence),  Natural Language Processing (NLP) to further automate more complex decision making and tasks than what we can even think of today.

The leaders in RPA adoption so far appear to be large companies: Banks, Insurance, large Technology companies but this will eventually trickle down to others as more use cases are proven and built.

The most common use cases today include:

  • Loan Underwriting processes
  • Loan Servicing processes
  • Claims Management
  • HR Workflows
  • Payroll Processing
  • Accounts Receivable collections
  • KYC Compliance (Know Your Customer)

However, note that if you have repeatable processes at scale, RPA would make your life easier if implemented adequately.

So, what can you do today if you haven’t started the road towards automation and faster realization of process improvement savings?

  • Well, the most important thing is to determine the why? Is it to change your business strategy, improve operational efficiencies, meet compliance requirements?
  • Once you have decided why you are doing this then you want to look at the processes in question and try to streamline prior to implementing any automation as this would just automate a messy process. The streamlining means using Lean Six Sigma and other process improvement skills as well as spending some time analyzing improvements with existing technologies that can be done in lieu of automation (e.g. improving the business process management (BPM) workflow)

So, I believe in the next 3-5 years, middle market companies will also be using RPA like technologies greatly to improve businesses.