In the modern workplace, people and robots work side by side. Have you already met your new virtual colleague?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA): it’s a term heard more and more often.
For some individuals, especially IT staff and business people in charge of ‘Fast IT’, the term RPA doesn’t require further explanation. Others need a bit of help. What is it exactly? Well, RPA in fact is your new virtual colleague. It’s not ‘deep learning’ AI (yet), solving global problems with automated brilliant algorithms and we are not looking for that when working with our virtual colleague. Instead, I see plenty areas where this virtual colleague can be of added value, particularly when work is repetitive or prone to error. Such a colleague can be deployed anywhere in an organization, from HR (on/off boarding) to marketing (CRM cleanup) and from the risk department (knowing your customer) to customer service (360 customer view).
Some robots are better known than others. Most people are familiar with the ‘chatbots’ that banks, insurers and web shops utilize to process the most common customer enquiries and requests. But are they aware that the applications and websites needed for customer contact are increasingly built by robots and that bots maintain the underlying data bases? These are things that occur under the radar and are unknown to most of us. It’s not surprising that many people find it difficult to estimate the true worldwide impact of software robots.
With the offset of RPA, more virtual employees will appear at the office. What exactly do they do? Let’s meet four of them.
Data entry robot – Never-ending data entry is the bread-and-butter domain of robots. They carry on 24/7, without any breaks and – equally important – without any mistakes. The data entry robot takes data from various sources and ensures it is entered into an ERP system, for instance. Tools such as digital image recognition guarantees that the bot can ‘read’ information. With the right rules, it can modify the data, communicate with systems and transactions and, where necessary, process the data.
Validation and verification robot – The validation robot can be used to sound an alert outside the regular ‘workflow’ so that the accuracy of information can be checked. One area of application is the financial sector where the authenticity of a financial transaction must be verified. This robot generally replaces the ‘sanity check’ for unusual transactions which at present is still largely carried out by humans.
System integration robot – The integration of different systems can be a complex and extremely labour-intensive process. The new virtual worker takes over this traditional task, speeds it up and can ‘patch’ a connection with very little human intervention. As a result it has become much cheaper to put new systems into use or use old systems in a new fashion.
Scheduled/trigger robot – In every organization there are numerous simple tasks that persist regularly but can’t be executed until a certain event has taken place. An example is the compilation of monthly reports required by various departments. A ‘trigger’ robot might then be ideal.
Would you like to know more about Robotic Process Automation? Then read the brochure!
Fujitsu has developed a solution for LeasePlan through the innovative use of RPA. LeasePlan is one of the market leaders in the mobility sector in the Netherlands and Europe. This success is based on optimal fleet management, finance and innovation. For a large customer LeasePlan had to transfer data from over 3000 vehicles. The solution with Fujitsu was to build a software robot, which processes this data faster, cheaper and above all without errors. Watch the movie we made: