Guest Blog by Ian Smart, Capita Transformation
From the title of this piece, some readers will call to mind the 1979 Fiat Strada television advert that brought to the public’s consciousness the brave new world of robotic car manufacturing – all to Largo al Factotum from the Barber of Seville by Rossini! Others (dare one say, younger) will think of Newton Faulkner’s 2007 debut album. Either way, since that time robots have become a feature of modern life such that we take it for granted. Over the last 30 years manufacturing has been transformed by robots replacing often dangerous, mundane and repetitive tasks. Robots can now perform complex tasks at great speed with 100% accuracy, including in areas such as robot assisted surgery!
One area that robots have yet to be fully exploited is in the service sector. That is about to change. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software has the potential to revolutionise how services are delivered in the middle and back office.
A robot in this sense is a computer programme that replicates a worker by mimicking the steps of a rules-based, non-subjective process without compromising the existing IT architecture and can be easily scaled up or down to meet changing demand.
These ‘virtual workers’ are 100% accurate. Process exceptions are referred to experienced staff who benefit from only having to deal with the more rewarding work requiring a their skills and judgement.
Services suited to the application of RPA need to be identified carefully, but in many cases Capita has seen over 80% of transactions automated and cost savings of 70% made against manual alternatives. Good examples include the repetitive processing of data from multiple systems such as that required in some Council Tax collection processes.
Other examples of where RPA could help include:
• Triage – running cases through a process to perform checks that filter out the simple cases, leaving staff to do the more complex rewarding work;
• Re-keying – where there is no integration between systems and where staff access multiple systems;
• Multiple sources of data input – where a process requires input from multiple sources then it is suitable for RPA;
• Manual checking, decisions and calculations – if these processes follow a set of business rules, then they can be automated.
The benefits of RPA for Local Government are potentially quite staggering. While a typical FTE might cost £25k, a virtual worker would cost approximately £10k and can work 24/7. Also, because RPA software is trained to drive existing applications, there are no issues with costly integration, which also means that the lead time to automation can be measured in days and weeks.
Reproduced with permission from Capita Transformation. Original article can be found here