Robotic Process Transformation and the Drive for an Improved

Robotic Process
Transformation and the
Drive for an Improved
Customer Experience
Imagine a process improvement that increases
productivity not by 10%, or 50%, but 1,000% or
more. Envision reducing cycle times by days or
weeks, and slashing operations costs by at least
45%. Picture boosting customer satisfaction by
18% practically overnight. Executives across all
industries are faced with the need to please
increasingly demanding stakeholders and
tech-savvy customers—while reducing the cost
of operations. That’s why more and more
organizations are leveraging the power of
Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
RPA yields much more than
cost and productivity
benefits. It provides a
transformative and
competitive edge in
customer service.
“Robots,” in this context are software routines
that can be programmed to use enterprise
applications to gather, read/understand, react to
and execute new data entry activity according
to business rules. Robots behave just like a
well-trained employee. From the data center’s
perspective, each robotic routine appears to be
a hyper-fast user, performing keyboard and
mouse-driven tasks, 24/7 with zero errors.
The concept of “robots” in an industry that
relies on customer satisfaction and the “human
touch” may send shivers down some spines.
However, RPA is ideal for many processes,
particularly labor-intensive ones such as
gathering data from multiple applications,
managing vendor and client master data
records, and dual data entry. RPA is a
transformative process that brings together
human and virtual agents with customers
during each process, providing a faster, more
effective, and higher-quality customer
experience. Any rules-based, repetitive process
that draws on or feeds information to multiple
data systems may benefit from the relentless
accuracy of a tireless robot.
RPA yields much more than cost and
productivity benefits. It provides a
transformative and competitive edge in
customer service.
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Why Robotics May Be the
Next Industrial Revolution
RPA is a software platform that integrates
with any IT application or website to
perform complex rules-based work. That
means it can interface neatly with existing
systems, whether they are based on Java,
.Net, Citrix, web, mainframe or SAP. Even
better, it navigates through the user
interface of an application in the same
way a human would. RPA reproduces
human decision making and data entry
using a virtual keyboard and mouse,
controlling applications through the
existing commands of whatever legacy
systems are already in place. They
become tireless virtual employees
working alongside humans who handle
tasks that robots can’t.
That partnership, in fact, is why RPA
makes eminent sense for a variety of
companies. Many organizations are
global, with complex systems, diverse
language and regulatory requirements,
and an absolute need for data security,
accuracy, risk mitigation, regulatory
compliance and processing efficiency.
1
Though the trend toward Artificial
Intelligence and robots that learn from
each interaction is receiving a lot of buzz,
current capabilities in this regard do not
eliminate the need for human oversight
and intelligence. For the most part,
executives do not want robotic agents to
decide how best to process an item; they
want clearly defined and controlled
procedures with tolerances and business
exceptions, and experienced team
members handling those exceptions.
And... they want lower service costs,
greater accuracy and faster cycle times.
So, how can RPA be leveraged to attain
these benefits without sacrificing
customer trust? Here are six ways.
1. Use Robots to Focus
on People
Today’s customers expect instant
answers, personalized service and
convenient access from anywhere1 . If
something goes wrong, they want a “real”
person to handle their issue, and they
don’t want to wait days for someone to
work through the backlog to get to it.
RPA solves many of these issues, first
through its ability to link disparate
applications into one transparent system,
and then by eliminating human error. A
task that might take a fully trained human
ten minutes to accomplish may take a
robot one or two—or less—and the robot
never forgets to send an
acknowledgement to the customer, the
sales representative, accounting and any
other department that requires the
information. Thus, the all-important initial
customer experience is accomplished
quickly, smoothly and with satisfying
assurance of equally good service to come.
Of greater importance, it frees the staff
that had handled such processes
manually to more highly valued work that
requires complex interpretation,
decision-making, discretion and
personalized customer interaction (best
done by humans)—which is so
appreciated by customers.
Anywhere between three and twenty
FTEs can be automated by a single robot.
This depends on the speed of the
systems, the complexity of the process
Customer Experience Insight, “Customers Want More: 5 New Expectations You Must Meet Now”
3
and the hours the robot will run. Thus,
RPA can bring competitive advantage to
savvy adopters by enhancing the
customer experience through the speed,
24/7 responsiveness, convenience and
accuracy of RPA.
2. Harness Robotic
Efficiency to Human Intuition
Per the Institute of Robotic Process
Automation (IRPA), out of every 100 steps,
a human is likely to make 10 errors, even
when carrying out somewhat redundant
work2. Most employees hate repetitive,
boring tasks; the more bored they are, the
likelier they are to make mistakes or to
look for another job. This contributes
directly to two of the biggest challenges
facing executives today: quality control
issues and finding qualified staff to do the
work. A robot requires no training curve,
doesn’t get bored and cannot make a
mistake; it simply follows the established
rules, and does it the same way every
time, flagging exceptions for human eyes
to examine further.
On the other hand, there is no substitute
for human intelligence in analyzing data
and determining the proper action for
exceptions to established processes.
Well-defined RPA systems not only
automate routine tasks, they also gather
and store all that information in ways
previously impossible or too cumbersome
for timely, detailed analysis. Now, data can
be combined with analytic tools to
continuously improve the customer
experience and inspire lifelong loyalty.
Experienced personnel can analyze trends,
anticipate customer needs, spot process
bottlenecks, head off fraud and establish
policies that quickly route questions to the
proper group for fast resolution.
2
3
4
3. Improved Employee
Satisfaction
While one may be concerned that robots
are here to replace humans, this is simply
a myth. Humans are needed to enable
artificial intelligence. These technologies
are not independent from humans and are
not able to reproduce the higher-level
thinking of which humans are capable.
RPA allows employees to increase their
productivity by improving their efficiency.
Freeing staff to tackle more challenging
work makes much better use of human
intuition and insight while helping
employees grow their skills—a much more
satisfying long-term career outlook than
spending every day keying the same data
into the same fields over and over.
4. Improve the Whole
Value Chain—And
Customer Satisfaction Too
RPA works best where the underlying
processes are rules-based, repetitive and
frequent. In the insurance industry for
example, RPA can help with claim
processing, enrollment, new policy
creation and renewals, premium billings,
investment management, as well as
statutory and regulatory reporting. In
healthcare, RPA brings benefits to
revenue cycle management, contract
loading, credentialing and vendor payer
management. In the travel industry, airline
fare entry and audits, as well as refund
management can all be improved by
implementing RPA.
In addition, RPA quickly scales up or down
to accommodate seasonal peaks or
unexpected market downturns, often
obviating the need to hire, train or lay off
staff3. Robots can be “onboarded” as they
come online by the dozens or thousands,
and never lose their skills during dormant
periods. Refresher training consists of a
simple update of the business rules.
The modern world moves at speeds
unimaginable even ten years ago. When
RPA is implemented, paperwork
submitted from around the world remains
in perpetual motion, no longer slowed
down by holidays, seasonal pressures, the
weather or other unforeseen issues.
5. Drive Improvement
without IT Disruption
Because RPA is capable of seamlessly
linking to existing systems, deploying
automation can take as little as four
weeks for simpler processes, and
produce return on investment quickly,
usually within a single year4. There are no
hard-and-fast rules as to which parts of an
industry process model will suit robotics,
but RPA returns the highest benefit when
there is:
• A processing environment with
interfaces between different systems
that require some exchange of data,
possibly with some rules-based variation
in the process steps required
• An environment that requires
consolidating information from multiple
systems where writing an interface for a
data warehouse solution is too
time-consuming, costly or is not justified
based on the expected lifecycle of one
or more of the systems
• A process where data needs to be
validated using an external source
(probably online)
• A process where data must be pulled
from multiple systems/sites and made
available to an agent in a consolidated
form (e.g., claims, payroll processing,
collections, order management)
• A process that is high-volume, workflow
enabled, labor intensive and input is digital
Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA), “Benefits of RPA”
UIPath, “Hidden Benefits of RPA: Scalability”
Ibid, IRPA
4
Low-volume processes with unstructured
inputs such as voice, letters, or faxes and that
require human judgment for handling each
case are unsuited to RPA. However, RPA can be
instrumental in solving multi-system complexity
and diversity in systems that are poorly or not
yet integrated, but which must meet industry
compliance or servicing demands. Being
system agnostic, RPA requires no elaborate
technology upgrades or heavy IT intervention,
just a good platform for accessing data,
monitoring the robotics, and passing work
between people and robots. A good business
process transformation provider experienced
with RPA will have a team that works with
operations staff to establish business rules and
monitor systems 24/7, making changes as
required to accommodate unforeseen
circumstances, updates and more.
A keen focus on the customer experience
enables better outcomes in RPA deployments.
All processes should be analyzed and
redesigned to provide an excellent customer
experience at the lowest cost with the greatest
efficiency. One proven methodology for
deploying RPA uses an A3 approach: Assess,
Automate and Accelerate.
Step 1: Assess the Landscape
• Understand the “As Is”
• Design robotics subjectivity tables and
decision matrixes
• Create a technology-enabled manual process design
• Create business requirement documents
(BRDs) for automation and platform development
Step 2: Automate the Exceptions
• Automated decisions and governances
expose exceptions in processes, data and
native tools
• Exception data is analyzed to provide and
prioritize process improvement and exception
automation opportunities
• Utilize proprietary technology to create a
single, common user interface reducing
inefficient ‘swivel seating’
• Institute Six Sigma Lean management
Once suitable processes are identified,
implementation teams can leverage the
operations know-how of existing process teams
to write the business rules, test and refine the
new robots, and ensure that each stage of the
process is complete before an application or
claim moves to the next.
The increased accuracy provided by RPA leads
directly to higher customer satisfaction.
6. Improve Governance and
Compliance
In addition to lower costs and greater efficiency
in core functions, RPA also drives better
compliance, audits, governance and security.
Robotic processing necessarily documents every
transaction and all the rules pertaining to it,
providing transparency to auditors and
consistency to analytics. It also facilitates timely
reporting to managers and executives at all
levels. Its built-in workflows not only enhance
processing efficiency by enforcing rules and
routing tasks to appropriate agents; it also
safeguards data from unauthorized human eyes
and provides detailed audit trails regarding data
access and flow.
Because the number and functionality of robots
within the processing environment is so flexible,
RPA can be used to adapt automated processes
to local regulations and customs, extending their
reach into formerly difficult locales without
degrading control structures.
Step 3: Accelerate the Process
• Establish platform-enabled prioritization of
tasks that bring accuracy, repeatability and
efficiency to the process
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Get Ready to Grow
RPA is a solution whose time has come. The “do more with less” mentality that drives so many business decisions has brought
automation to the forefront of consideration when enterprises evaluate solutions for process improvement. Executives seeking innovative
solutions that deliver the highest value and return on investment are increasingly looking for expertise in robotics and analytics from
process transformation providers, viewing these two solution areas as critical drivers of expansion.
Slashing costs is only one of the benefits RPA delivers. Freeing FTEs to higher-value work enables insurers to service more customers,
dig into analytics that help drive more informed business decisions, and staff business projects that have been on hold for years for lack
of personnel. Companies can put more resources into understanding customer needs and expectations, which in turn leads to market
innovations that produce highly satisfied, loyal customers.
Growth, therefore, is a definitive byproduct of RPA, through the steady, long-term improvement of the customer experience that burnishes
the company’s brand and continuously expands its customer base. RPA is the ultimate bridge between technological efficiency and the
human insight that customers crave.
For more information on how we can help you transform your processes, visit us at www.sutherlandglobal.com, email us at
sales@sutherlandglobal.com or call 1-800-388-4557 ext. 6123.
As a process transformation company, Sutherland rethinks and rebuilds processes for the digital age by combining the speed and insight of design thinking with the scale and
accuracy of data analytics. We have been helping customers across industries from financial services to healthcare, achieve greater agility through transformed and automated
customer experiences for over 30 years. Headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., Sutherland employs thousands of professionals spanning 19 countries around the world.
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