RPA allows enterprises to extend and modify business system functionality without committing to a costly and time-consuming redesign. When companies need to scale-up rapidly, RPA can automate manual work processes more speedily and at lower cost than by hiring and training new workers or outsourcing the work.
RPA applications cut across industries, world regions, and public and private sectors. Typical adopters include finance, procurement, sales, customer service and human resources departments. “The benefit is greatest for [departments] with complex processes or numerous business systems,” Weilerstein said.
Given its potential to boost productivity and cut costs, it’s not surprising that RPA software sales are booming. “The RPA market now consists of over 200 companies,” reported Craig Le Clair, a vice president and principal analyst at technology research firm Forrester.
Automation tools like RPA are especially valuable in times of crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. “Many companies have accelerated automation investments to make systems more resilient, eliminating application and infrastructure bottlenecks, and freeing up human resources to focus on higher priority issues,” said Manish Sharma, group chief executive of technology consulting firm Accenture Operations.
“If employees are not going to be in a shared office [or] going back to a physical office but working from home, then it’s even better to have the end-to-end process mapped out, streamlined, and automated,” Tayur added.
RPA can also be augmented with other emerging technologies, such as cognitive automation, which adds intelligence to robotic processes, taking repetitive activities to even higher performance and accuracy levels. “Intelligent automation applications are … transformational, focused on business performance using a more holistic approach,” Wilczak said.