How Robotic Process Automation Drives Innovation

BrandPost By Ram Sathia
Oct 05, 2021
IT Leadership

Successful RPA creates 3 essential capabilities: enhanced scalability, increased human innovation, and remarkably—cost effective.

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Credit: iStock

Adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) has only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased the need for faster and more accurate business process automation. In fact, Gartner predicts that 90% of large global organizations will have adopted RPA in some form by 2022 and large organizations will triple the capacity of their existing RPA portfolios through 2024.

What makes RPA so appealing is its efficiency and propensity for producing positive business outcomes. Instead of replacing humans with bots, RPA automates high-volume, repetitive responsibilities—like copying, pasting, verifying, and gathering data—allowing companies to leverage the full brainpower and focus of their workers. By enabling higher-level job function, RPA helps to spur innovation. Its ability to invigorate business is founded on three key capabilities.    

RPA allows for greater scalability

RPA gives enterprises the ability to adapt as needed—not only in terms of the types of tasks that can be automated, but it can also increase the number of tasks required for a given business objective. RPA can automate any process or task that is rule-based and repeatable and can be defined.

Healthcare offers a textbook case study for RPA’s ability to enable organizations to scale. In the early weeks of shutdowns due to COVID-19, the adoption of virtual care surged at a breakneck pace. Telehealth appointments at Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California healthcare system alone jumped from 18% to 80% of visits by the end of April 2020, and video requests from digital telemedicine providers swelled to more than 15,000 per dayover the same period.  At the same time, providers and health systems began to use RPA to streamline processes and innovate in its ability to treat more patients, from enabling self-triage to interpreting biometric data from medical wearables and inputting patient information into Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

Scaling healthcare to be able to improve health outcomes, whether that’s virtually bringing the doctor to the patient or reducing the administrative burden on healthcare professionals, will heavily rely on RPA technology moving forward.      

RPA augments human capability

RPA enables more creativity and innovation in workers by augmenting their existing capabilities. The activities that are ideal for RPA transformation are those that take up the bulk of employees’ time but require little brainpower, such as those that are repetitive or involve significant back and forth between teams.

Consider, for example, the telecom industry. One telecom giant offers an app that delivers hundreds of offers and discounts from outside vendors to 2.5 million users each week, but it was struggling with a convoluted software update process. Sharing the deals with the app management team meant updating a large spreadsheet manually; inevitably, copying and pasting information from emails into the spreadsheet that led to errors and missing information—errors that in turn resulted in significant software update delays.

The telecom was able to use RPA to implement robotic integrity checks, eliminating the time needed for the app team to uncover and fix errors, and freeing team members to brainstorm and design new methods of customer interaction within the app. By being able to use their skillsets on business needs that drive value, workers are now more engaged and feel more fulfilled in their roles.

RPA delivers on ROI 

The good news is that RPA doesn’t break the bank—or the systems you already have in place. It automates actions at the user interface level or API level, and unlike system-to-system interactions that require integration at a deeper level, it doesn’t demand changes to applications or processes. With few resources, IT teams can test and adapt RPA at scale without risking an organization’s existing processes and platforms after having tested a proof of concept to determine its feasibility. These cost savings allow organizations to invest in activities that drive innovation, such as increased R&D.

ROI can be achieved through even small changes. A major software company achieved impressive ROI by leveraging RPA to streamline business process outsourcing. The enterprise built an RPA pipeline that can automate the entire lifecycle of invoice processes, including receipt of invoices, organization and folder structuring, and invoice reconciliation. This resulted in zero errors while producing unlimited invoices per hour, with an ultimate cost savings of over 30%.

RPA not only offers the ability to reduce menial workloads but also fosters imagination, creativity, and innovation among employees by empowering them to focus on the highest value activities—those that can’t be replicated by machines. By making room for innovation, RPA makes an impact well beyond faster and more efficient business processes.

Learn more about how RPA can transform your organization at