Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is emerging as an alternative to using people (either onshore or offshore) to perform back office administrative work. Using software robots that mimic the actions of people, tasks can be completed faster, more accurately, and at a fraction of the cost.
The ever increasing power of computing and evolution of smarter algorithms allows us to automate more and more of this activity. Consider the transformation that has taken place in car production plants over the last 20 years, with robots now performing the majority of the assembly work. This has driven profound changes to the ability to produce a car “to order”, product reliability derived from improved quality in the manufacturing process, and a substantial cost reduction over use of labour to perform the work.
In the past 15 years, services work has gravitated to regions and countries with the lowest cost labour, but this can only ever be a temporary solution. Wage inflation, currency risk, additional management overhead, checking and compliance chip away at the benefits case.
Robotic Process Automation provides an alternative to chasing the lowest cost labour around the world and gives much greater control over the precision and execution of work performed in the back office. There is a positive impact for people too. Robotic Process Automation largely deals with the mundane repetitive tasks, the ones humans like least. This frees people up to handle the exceptional cases and focus of value add activities such as customer services. Ultimately it gives them both the freedom and toolset to be creative and entrepreneurial. The things humans do best.