– By Chris Huff, Chief Strategy Officer, Kofax
Imagine this: You’re a bank with a very detailed and precisely executed loan origination process. Since it’s fully optimised and running smoothly, should it be on top of your list for automation? Is there room for improvement?
Many businesses scan their organisations and wonder which processes among many are the most appealing candidates for automation. The answer may surprise you. While you might believe the big wins are in fixing inefficient processes, the most immediate gains actually come from applying robotic process automation and intelligent automation to prioritised, well-defined and well-executed processes.
50% of Processes Ready for Automation
Many executives might be surprised at how prevalent optimised processes are within their organisation. According to the first-ever Intelligent Automation benchmarking survey conducted by Forbes Insight and Kofax, most companies say their processes are prioritised and well-executed. Almost one-third claimed that all of their processes were optimised to achieve their goals, while another half said that most were optimised.
The McKinsey Institute has even pegged the amount of menial work ripe for automation at 50%. And yet, Max Cheprasov, Chief Automation Officer at Dentsu Aegis, says he believes 75% of his firm’s rote tasks are candidates.
These observations align with findings in our survey. There is a broad opportunity for intelligent automation within the enterprise. More than three-quarters of survey respondents said that 60% or more of process work could be automated, and almost one in five said that 80% or more could be automated.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, there are usually multiple, complex, legacy processes supporting just about every business objective. Some are simple – such as filing new customer orders or setting up invoices – while others are more complex, like loan originations.
The Upside of Automation
Although many organisations have optimised their processes through experience, research and/or trial and error, there may still lie opportunity to realise further improvement via automation. The next wave of productivity lies in leveraging intelligent automation to converge the digital (automation) and physical workforces into a collaboratively run machine to ‘work like tomorrow’. Companies that ‘work like tomorrow’ realise benefits such as enhanced service levels, reduced operational costs and increased productivity as a byproduct of leveraging automation to increase organisational capacity and empower the physical workforce.
Organisations stand to gain in numerous ways from applying RPA and intelligent automation to repetitive, manual tasks. These technologies eliminate errors, cut processing times by half, deliver 100% accuracy, and increase capacity by as much as 50%. Perhaps even more importantly, automation relieves employees of tedious tasks and enables them to focus on value-added activities that require a human touch.
Further, using automation to improve the quality of products and services has a direct effect on the bottom line. In banks, for instance, the loan application process mentioned above is usually highly defined. When financial institutions deploy robots to handle tasks such as assessing property valuation and consumer data, they reduce processing time.
That’s exactly the experience Western Australia’s P&N Bank had when it put bots to work in the home loan process. Two bots extract required lending data and order valuation reports. Another two assess the information, upload it to the bank’s core lending platform and progress the deal. The result? The bank now processes its annual lending volumes with 11% less human effort.
When forward-thinking organisations such as P&N Bank harness the power of intelligent automation operationally and strategically, they deliver higher customer and employee satisfaction and competitive differentiation. These outcomes aren’t simply good talking points. They lead to real, tangible benefits, including higher revenue and deeper profit margins.
Where to Start?
The first step toward automation is to identify processes that are the strongest candidates for RPA and intelligent automation. According to the benchmark survey, the five most frequently automated processes were quality control (43% of executives), technology enhancement (42%), financial transactions/reporting (35%), customer experience (32%), and delivery of products and services (32%). Thus, it makes sense to start your evaluation in these areas.
Further, most executives said their processes were executed in a precise and consistent manner. In fact, 68% indicated that their process execution is either somewhat or very detailed, and 75% remarked that their processes are either consistently or very consistently executed. These findings indicate that – similar to these organisations – you’re likely to discover dozens of processes in the above areas that are excellent candidates for RPA and intelligent automation.
Once business users have strategically identified how and where to apply these technologies, they can take steps to prioritise which to automate first. This is the next wave of productivity, and organisations that move quickly to embrace RPA and intelligent automation across their optimised processes will set themselves up for competitive advantage and success in the digital age. The time to work like tomorrow is here.