Robotic process automation (“RPA”) is gaining significant inroads in the energy industry to increase output and efficiencies while simultaneously decreasing general and administrative (“G&A”) overhead costs through the back-office. Evidence of RPA’s benefits and applications can be seen more broadly in the corporate world. For example, more than nine out of 10 (93%) C-level executives indicated in a recent survey that they’re deploying or extending automation capabilities within their company—and 81% specifically noted RPA’s role in scaling AI in their organization.
Here are five benefits of using RPA in back-office outsourcing functions:
1. Increased Data Processing Speed
One major benefit of using RPA technology for back-office outsourcing applications is increased data processing speed. Opportune’s Outsourcing group implements bots that complete time-consuming tasks to allow staff to focus on core activities. These automated tasks include tedious data entry, journal entries, remittance reports, client onboarding, and other repetitive, manual processes.
For example, data imports that typically take 15 minutes to complete can now be completed in five minutes utilizing RPA technology. Journal entries that can typically take 20 minutes to complete can now be cut down to only 7-10 minutes. By cutting manual processing time in half or more, RPA technology allows employees to better manage their time and redirect those efforts towards the execution of higher priority tasks that may be more impactful. The more repetitive the task, the more time savings that are returned.
2. Data Quality Improvements
RPA bots live in a world of defined boundaries. In other words, bots must abide by rules that dictate their existence. With these defined barriers, bots don’t incorrectly complete tasks as they’re incapable of defying their programming. By denying incorrect data types and flagging errors, RPA improves data quality.
Humans are prone to making mistakes, but RPA can highlight those errors when they occur. RPA bots work with pure focus until the task is completed. Bots eliminate errors and inconsistencies created by humans in repetitive tasks. We’ve seen this firsthand as our bots have prevented from incorrectly uploading the wrong file types, as well as ensuring that client data is always inputted accurately.
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3. Scalable & Adaptable Capabilities
Bots are programmable. Therefore, Opportune can tweak its bots quickly and easily add or decrease steps in a given process. The bots rely on triggers to start tasks automatically, which saves time from adding manual steps. Opportune uses this function via folders so that every time an appropriate file is imported into the correct folder, the automation begins. As more files are added, the bots continue to chip away at their queue of work.
Also, new tasks are easily created as more processes are automated. For example, employing a priority system can rank the most important tasks and bring the highest value in automation. Our bots then follow this structure to complete tasks in the proper order. Our highest value tasks typically take the longest time and, depending on the day, require different levels of work. We adapt our processes as steps and, as priorities change, we’re able to tailor specific bots to the needs of our clients. The scalability and adaptability of our bots enable us to tailor the automation needs of our clients.
An added capability of RPA technology is its low-code interface. Business users can adapt and update automated processes without the need for assistance from IT personnel. Users can operate the bots and make necessary changes to improve functionality. With advanced RPA tools, business users have the power to scale and adapt any RPA process to fit their specific needs.
4. Cost Savings
Another benefit of utilizing RPA in back-office outsourcing functions is the potential to see significant cost savings as employees can maximize their output of complex value-add work for clients. Bots also help companies cut G&A costs by automating basic, manual tasks, enabling fewer employees to be more productive. RPA technology can run tasks automatically after work hours, thus saving costs on employee overtime.
Typically, tedious onboarding activities include time-consuming data entry that involves overtime or temporary employees to complete these tasks. Now, these tasks can be automated to start at 5 p.m. on a Friday and be completed by Monday morning. RPA technology decreases expenses and improves employee productivity, allowing employees to have extra time throughout their day to provide more attention to higher priority business activities.
"RPA technology decreases expenses and improves employee productivity, allowing employees to have extra time throughout their day to provide more attention to higher priority business activities."
5. Improved Customer Service
Ultimately, employing RPA technology in back-office outsourcing functions improves the customer experience. Clients can receive their data quicker with greater quality and increased transparency. Bots don’t wait to accomplish tasks; they begin automatically and report back when they’re complete.
Clients receive higher quality data as bots aren’t prone to errors or mistakes typically done by humans. Opportune’s professionals have the experience necessary to implement RPA technologies for internal and client tasks, which greatly improves work quality and workflow speed. This enables us to provide superior value to our clients and deliver a higher quality of service.
The benefits of implementing RPA technology are achievable for any company willing to automate their back-office tasks and are not limited to companies who are currently utilizing outsourcing services to reduce back-office expenses.
We at Opportune have experienced firsthand the power and capabilities of implementing RPA bots for clients. As such, we’re just touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tapping RPA’s full potential.