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By VARINDIA    2018-08-22

RPA: A Groundbreaking Technology

India is undergoing a digital revolution which is helping the country in its renaissance. Adoption of technology is at its peak in recent days which is being triggered by better connectivity, rapid smartphone adaptation, increasing usage of mobile internet etc. Adoption of innovative technologies makes work easy and fast, increases efficiency of the workforce, takes less time in completing a task etc. Technology has always made human life smooth and easy.    


In this wake of time, a ground breaking technology, Robotics Process Automation better known as RPA is emerging and touching almost every vertical. Though in a nascent state, it has already started spreading its effects in segments like banking, manufacturing, automation, micro finance, healthcare etc. The Institute for Robotics Process Automation describes RPA as an application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a "robot" to capture and understand the existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses, and communicating with other digital systems.    


IDC defines RPA as a software code that helps automates and assigns standardized, rules-based, repetitive, and high-volume processes involving several interoperable systems - which were traditionally executed by humans - to a robot.

Organizations & Latest Technology


To move ahead of the competition, adopting latest and innovative technologies are a thumb rule for any organization, which gives an edge to remain competitive. But before adopting any technology a thorough review of it is a mandate.    


“Any firm should apt to the latest innovations and technologies if it has to compete in the current market environment, the technologies if industry specific can do wonders but if it is adaptive in a fast run without doing proper R & D works out to be more troublesome. We in our firm believe in the thought process of viewing it in four parameters of Need, Cost, Scalability and R.O.I (Return On Investment) factor. RPA is a vast unexplored and a big buzz for the coming century. Robots and Robotics will be dominating the man and machines if are adopted well into the need based environment that is good and need of an hour,” says Dheeraj Chawla, CIO, Shib Dass & Sons Pvt. Ltd.


The latest technologies or Industry 4.0 is considered as new age industrial revolution which has the ability to transform economies, jobs and even society. For the growth of the business it is an imperative these days to adopt new technologies as the new wave of digitization is going on across the nation.    


“Industry 4.0 signifies the fourth in a series of industrial revolutions, which are characterized by the ability to transform economies, jobs and even society itself through the introduction of new technologies and processes.


Exploring new technologies is a key factor to determine the growth and future of the business. The failure to transform in this age of digital transformation, the takeaway is very clear: adopt or be disrupted.


We constantly do evaluations in digital technologies such as analytics, artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies. As an organization we are moving towards using technology that provides a value or serves an important role in business process improvement,” explains Vijay Anand, VP, IT & Compliance, Visionary RCM Infotech India Pvt Ltd. 


As latest technologies are a necessity these days for a business so pilot run is also crucial before large scale adoption. The adoption of new technologies makes the internal process easy and also scale up the external operations.   


“New Age Digital Technologies are good to have and must to test on pilot for large scale adoption. We at Jeena are open to adopt Digital Technologies which would help us in our internal process and scale up our external operations. Aligned Technologies are a gaining new direction and the way each industries do business. There will be a paradigm shift in the way we transact today and how we would be adopting collaborative approaches,” views Meheriar Patel, Group Chief Information Officer, Consultant, Jeena & Company. 


Fast adoption of technologies by Indian companies

India has become another hub of technological innovations and start ups after Silicon Valley. All the major technology companies have their presence in India as the Indian organizations are also adopting new technologies rapidly to remain ahead of the race in their respective verticals.   


“India, with its numerous challenges and limited means, is blessed with a vast talent pool. There is hardly a technology company that does not have some form of presence in the country. Many have large development centre or technical team in India involved in some real innovative work. Many individuals have gone all over the world, made name for themselves and achieved great technical success. Further, India has become a big hub for Start Ups and Innovation Centre now and is second only to the Silicon Valley. What this means is that the general awareness of latest technology advancement is well known within Indian organizations and the IT professionals. With regards to fast adoption, most Indian companies, in my opinion and quite rightly so, have shied away from the bleeding edge technology instead opting for maturation of the offering, allowing all kinks to settle down and for the price point to entry becoming more acceptable. This value for money is essential for a very competitive and open environment and a non-bleeding edge technology hardly leaves the entity competitively lagging behind their peers, domestic or international. It also further allows reduced risks that early adopters take. The pace of change in the technology solutions along with associated products has also grown hence making a patient choice quite an important factor,” opines Sumit Singh, VP & CIO, Wockhardt Hospitals Ltd.   


At present India is poised with better connectivity, increasing adoption of smartphones and mobile internet. So to keep up with the pace there is no other option other than adoption of technology. The banking sectors is widely embracing technology to bring more efficiency and pushing India towards cashless economy. 


“In today’s dynamic environment, there is no alternative other than adapting to technology, there is no better time than now in India considering the positive ecosystem is driven by better connectivity, increased penetration of smartphones and mobile internet usage.  India’s banking sector has used technology to digitize business operations and to create new delivery models and services.  Technologies now offer an opportunity to address persistent challenges such as lack of financial inclusion.  Technology applications such as EKYC’s, mobile payments, Wallets etc. are bringing greater efficiencies in the way we operate and are going to facilitate in building the cashless ecosystem in the country,” states Sanjay Mahajan, Chief Information Officer, Satin Creditcare Network Ltd..


According to Nirvan Biswas, Chief Technology Officer, National Bulk Handling Corporation Pvt. Ltd., “I feel that Indian companies are fast adopters of technology that is relevant to solving the problems defined by business. Therefore, there is a difference in what I am trying to say, we just will not adopt a technology unless there is a clear proven benefit overall.”   


Robotics Process Automation (RPA): An upcoming technology  


Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is gradually gaining grounds from banking to manufacturing and turning out to be an integral part of digital transformation.   


“RPA is revolutionizing industries from banking to manufacturing. It is speeding up routine processes and freeing up employees to deliver smarter results. It has now become a core part of the digital transformation. Businesses are leveraging benefits of RPA with BPM by achieving end-to-end automation, higher efficiency, lower costs, higher employee engagement and an overall better customer experience,” feels Virender Jeet, Senior Vice President, (Sales & Marketing / Products), Newgen Software.


The major benefit of implementing RPA is cost savings. It also helps in automating repetitive tasks and also improves efficiency and accuracy. RPA in the field of Micro Finance may take some time to flourish but can be initiated in the backend process.    


 “Robotic Process Automation would surely drive cost savings by automating repetitive tasks and improve the accuracy and efficiency of the process execution and reduce or eliminate human intervention.  However, I feel that the Micro Finance sector will take some time to mature to be able to adopt RPA considering that this business strives on creating personal connections with customers in Tier 4 / Tier 5 rural areas. But organizations could start by identifying the backend processes and analyze specific activities that would benefit from RPA. RPA is an expensive proposition hence organizations should have a strong business case with realistic expectations and should build dedicated RPA team to support such initiatives,” explains Sanjay Mahajan. 


In the automation industry RPA plays a critical role and the market is expected to be more than USD 1 billion in 2021. For successful implementation of RPA a thorough strategy is required.  


“In my current sector, RPA is a powerful subject of powering operational efficiency, accuracy, capability, capacity and cost reduction. It already has been considered as a revolutionary technology in the automation industry and this market is predicted to be over 1 billion USD by Gartner in 2021. Adaption of bots is paving the glorifying way towards intelligent automation and it is opening up newer yet innovative capabilities for organizations. I would also like to emphasize that RPA implementation is a complex change, it requires a systematic and well-thought strategy for successful implementations. In my experience what has given us success in implementation is Making RPA part of your overall strategy of digitization, Strong project management, Deeper and from scratch business and technology team's involvement and strong focus on design and change journey,” reveals Kamal Sharma, CIO, Jay Kuling Group. 


Apart from Micro banking, manufacturing, automation, micro finance, RPA has a wide opportunity in healthcare segment. Delving deep into it Sumit Singh highlights, “Healthcare in India is in process of significant changes with lot of interest by private entities entering this space along with the Government led initiatives like Ayushman Bharat to provide coverage for millions of underprivileged members of the society, DISHA Act which will set policies and guidelines for Healthcare Data Exchange, Privacy, security & Confidentiality standards and digital Health records access & ownership to name a few and along with trying to control costs by limiting certain kind of costs. These changes will throw up many challenges and opportunities to the Healthcare sector, which will drive each of the entities to improve efficiency to control costs without compromising quality. The sector provides a lot of scope for automation of tasks from admission, billing to data collection & dissemination, procurement to discharge. RPA has been in play at the care providers in some form or another in few of these areas for a while but large scale usage in the provider space is yet to hit mainstream adoption. Varied reasons including lack of standard practices and supporting ERP or HMIS solution in the sector are the primary roadblocks at his time.” 


Benefits of RPA


Anil Ranjan, Head-IT, Macawber Beekay Pvt Ltd. brings forward the benefits of RPA and says, “RPA (Robotics Process Automation) is very beneficial for industries. Few of the many benefits RPA are as below: 


Cost Savings: When work is automated, not only is it completed faster, but it also can be performed at a much lower rate. So, we can get greater output for less, which results in cost saving.


Quality: With RPA, the work is error-free. Better quality means higher satisfaction rates and good for company’s profitability.


Less completion time: A robot could shave time may be just a few seconds/Tasks and if it’s multiplied by number of tasks and staff members, this savings will be huge.


Less or No Man power required

Quick returns: Automating tasks and workflows through RPA does not require coding or scripting so complex processes can be transferred from human to machine with little effort and industry can start getting benefits immediately or sooner.” 


Sachin Lokhande, VP-Information Technology, Pay Point India Network Pvt. Ltd. highlights top five benefits of RPA. He says, “We are already on Robotic Process Automation on our Call Center Department where in customer itself does chat with robot. Here, we list top-5 benefits of implementing RPA at our place.


Reduced costs: By automating tasks, cost savings of nearly 30% to 50% can be achieved over the output of productivity. Software robots also cost less than a full time employee.


Better customer experience: Deploying RPA frees up your high-value resources for them to be put back on the front line defining your customer experience.


Lower operational risk: By eliminating human errors such as tiredness or lack of knowledge, RPA reduces the rate of errors thereby providing a lower level of operational risk.


Improved internal processes: In order to leverage AI and RPA, companies are forced to define clear governance procedures. This in turn, allows for faster internal reporting, on-boarding and other internal activities.


Does not replace existing IT systems:  One of the biggest advantages of using a virtual workforce or RPA bot is that it does not require replacement of existing systems. Instead, RPA can leverage existing systems, the same way a human employee can.” 


Further more on the benefits of RPA, it enhances the efficiency of legacy applications and it is compatible with a lot of software applications.


“RPA can greatly boost the efficiency of the legacy applications. One of the benefits of most of the RPA products on the market is that they are quite heterogeneous across lots of other software applications,” mentions Vijay Anand.


Going forward... 


RPA is indeed a revolutionary technology with multiple benefits that will benefit human lives. Implementing a robot will be profitable to industries but on the flip side we should also need to keep this in mind that it will lead to unemployment. On this note Anil Ranjan concludes, “We are thinking and going to implement robot which will be very profitable to industries and will get many benefits as mentioned in above column but after replacing the human with robot, what our people will do? There will not be requirement for huge man power and in India we are already facing un-employment due to high population, less employable skill and other reason. Impact is visible, more crime, more un-social people, increased gap between rich and poor.


 We should find the solution based on our country’s requirement. We can make our people more efficient to give better output as robot do in less populated country. It’s possible.” 

Aparna Mullick

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