- Are you fed up with your routine repeatitive desk jobs like such as copying and pasting formulas, results of one system to another?
- Do you spend lot of time staring at Excel in reconciliation tasks?
- Do you need to log into different Systems to perform a task?
- How good it would be if some digital assistant learn the repeatitive cycle of your daily tasks and execute jobs on your behalf !!!
- It would be even more fun if you are given a platform to develop this Digital Assistant on your own.
Yes, this is possible now with RPA(Robotic Process Automation).
20th century saw companies moving their processes to digital platforms. Entries in registers were replaced by file storage in hard disks. Computers started making their way into offices. Distant offices of a company were now connected on ERP Platform. Work was better streamlined, and the manual jobs were now digitized, making their maintenance easier.
Over the years, as the processes started growing more complex, a large number of applications started appearing in the Digital workspace. And for most of the part, these applications handled 4 basic operations: Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) data. One needs to perform the same set of operations, although with different data each time, on these applications. And if you analyze your day, you will find much of your time dedicated to such repetitive jobs: creating MIS reports, entering data into some portal, performing the same excel calculations on different data, etc.
With the advent of computer capabilities, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) addresses the issue of performing repetitive jobs. RPA is a software bot (program), which once taught the steps to perform a process, can do it for different sets of data. Hence, a BOT can work on your behalf, freeing up your time and removing any human errors that can creep into the output. A sort of your assistant!
A very interesting business use case for finance given below highlights the utility of Software Bot.
Refunding the credit balances of non-corporate customers which are lying for more than 365 days is a repeatitive and time consuming task. It involves identification of unmoved credit balances and initiating actions for refunding same to comply with the statutory requirements. The credit balances on a particular date need to be segregated into various time buckets, say 0-6 months, 7-12 months, more than 12 months, etc. The calculated amount then needs to be refunded back to non-corporate customers, which are identified on the basis of their PAN number.
The detailed ‘AS-IS’ process makes use of SAP, to find out the credit balances and the deposits made for a customer account. Credit balance is downloaded from SAP for a particular date and the deposits made during a time period. With the help of this data, computation in excel is performed to age the credit balances into time bucket. The same process is repeated for different back-dates to arrive at final results. Finally, SAP data is merged to identify the legal status of that customer, and this result is then used for the next steps in the refund process.
This process is performed in every state office of the Marketing Division and requires a lot of man-hours to build this report. Also, there are chances of human errors creeping into the calculations.
The Software BOT automatically logins to a SAP, and download the reports with pre-defined parameters to. It then runs the python scripts to compute the intermediary result. The same process is repeated for various back dates to arrive at the final result, which is sent via email to the concerned users. All these steps are completed by the bot in under 15 minutes, resulting in great savings of time.
There can be many business use cases, where RPAs can help automate the repetitive interaction with the software BOT. Service entry sheet (SES) having recurring payments is a perfect business use case to be developed on RPA platform. Similarly, Year end closing which involves compilation of data from different departments is another area where software bots can come to our rescue.
Likewise, there are many business domains like invoice reconciliation activities, payroll management, inventory management, employees onboarding and operational reporting activities and automation of field operations, where RPA can best fit into. RPAs is attracting the attention of the global players in the Oil and Gas industry.
RPA is a powerful tool, which if well leveraged, will help us transition smoother and stronger into the next wave of digitization and enable us to work smarter not harder.
Sources: Author’s experience
Citation: This Insight may be cited as InfEneTy ‘RPA (Robotic Process Automation) platform is your new Digital Assistant ’ 03.01.2023
Tags: Robotic Process Automation; Robotics; Software; Technology; Artificial intelligenceAbout InfEneTy
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