CIO Paradox: Part 2

As we looked at in our last blog, change is one of life’s constants…that includes work life. And those who embrace it are more prepared to reap the benefits of change.

CIO’s need to get ahead of the change, or at least try to not get behind, or even worse, under change. CIO’s are being asked to help set corporate strategy, while maintaining systems. It’s a ying and yang of initiatives and tasks they need to lead:

  • Be strategic AND drive operational excellence
  • Adopt technology quickly AND avoid legacy debt
  • Boost innovation AND stay secure

Embrace-change-2


Emerging technologies are poised to help.

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes. RPA uses software ‘robots’ or ‘digital workers’ that can interpret existing work processes and automate them. The software digitizes repetitive rules-based tasks, and by removing the need for human intervention speeds up time-consuming activities and reduces errors.

Using RPA tools, a company can configure software, or a “robot,” to capture and interpret applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems. RPA scenarios range from something as simple as generating an automatic response to an email, to deploying thousands of bots, each programmed to automate jobs in an ERP system.

Financial Services firms were the first to see and embrace the value of RPA. COOs in financial firms figured out ways to leverage software to facilitate business processes without increasing headcount or costs*.


What are the benefits of RPA?

Cost savings (staffing) and reduction in errors are a few leading benefits of RPA.  One bank leveraged RPA for claims processing via 85 bots to run 12 processes, handling 1.5 million requests per year. The bank added capacity equivalent to more than 200 full-time employees at approximately 30 percent of the cost of recruiting more staff.*

Enterprises can also supercharge their automation efforts by injecting RPA with cognitive technologies such as ML, speech recognition, and natural language processing, automating higher-order tasks that in the past required the perceptual and judgment capabilities of humans.

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According to Gartner, by 2020, automation and artificial intelligence will reduce employee requirements in business shared-service centers by 65 percent. Gartner says the RPA market will top $1 billion by 2020. By that time, 40 percent of large enterprises will have adopted an RPA software tool, up from less than 10 percent today.

Walmart CIO Clay Johnson says the retail giant has deployed about 500 bots to automate anything from answering employee questions to retrieving useful information from audit documents. “A lot of those came from people who are tired of the work,” Johnson says.

Across a variety of industries, not just finance (think insurance, legal, media, primary infrastructure, hospitality and utilities), RPA is being used to automate mundane, high volume, and time-consuming processes. Consequently, RPA is reshaping the ways these organizations can operate and their efficiency levels.

Thinking about deploying RPA in your organization? Check out our “Transforming Business Processes” blog on best practices for deployment.

At SMP, we are developing digital workers (RPA) to help our customers manage security alerts.  Click here to learn more.

*CIO online “What is RPA? A revolution in business process automation.”