The relationship between technology and people has to change in the future for the better, and I think RPA is one of the great tools to enable that change.

-Leslie Willcocks, London School of Economics

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a programmable software system that automates repetitive clerical tasks—thereby freeing up your human resources for more strategic tasks. Robotics made its way onto the business scene in the 90s with artificial intelligence, or AI. Due to cloud storage, implementation, and other costs, RPA failed to get traction at that time. Costs have now dropped. RPA has gained acceptance and has become a viable tool used by Fortune 500s and much smaller firms.

At Sirius we’ve developed an integrated approach to learning at the point of need that is designed to reflect the changing psychographics, demographics and working styles of today’s workforce.

Why do you need RPA for your business sooner than later?

Four main RPA benefits for your organization include:

  • Up to 80% reduction in labor expenses plus improved accuracy
  • More strategic and engaging assignments for your workforce
  • Transparent, efficient, and compliant processes for potential audits
  • 24/7 customer service regardless of variations in customer demand loads

Is your organization the type that will benefit from RPA?

Any organization that performs repetitive, manually-intensive tasks is an ideal candidate. These repetitive tasks, subject to human mistakes, must be compliant with strict rules without human subjectivity. Back offices subject to tight processing deadlines will enhance their ability to handle workloads with RPA. This holds true especially when the demand is labor intensive, which can be costly and prone to errors.

What specific tasks can you automate with RPA?

That answer is vast and includes specific tasks like:

  • Billing and accounting
  • Inventory reconciliations
  • Reading and writing to databases
  • Opening email and attachments
  • Performing data comparisons
  • Extracting structured data from documents
  • Following “if/then” decision/rules
  • Filling in forms
  • Copying and pasting

At a functional level, while Sirius is equipped to automate various jobs within an organization and across many industries, it is focused on four key process areas:

  1. Land Administration for Upstream companies
  2. Billing
  3. Inventory Reconciliation
  4. Back-End Settlements for Trading organizations

What if you already have a cost-effective process using offshore FTEs?

RPA vs. FTEs is an unfair comparison. It’s comparing the 24/7/365 efficiency of an impartial machine to a human who is prone to errors, fatigue, and other nuances. In the short run alone, the comparison is usually estimated with RPA operating at ⅓ the cost of an offshore FTE. As time passes, RPA’s lead widens even further as it is designed to be adjusted/streamlined to meet your needs. Comparing RPA to onshore FTE results in estimates closer to ⅕ the cost of your FTE.

How involved is RPA for you to implement?

RPA is not an IT project, but rather a business project—thanks to its simplicity. Within a few weeks of training, you’ll be operating in pilot mode, up and running.

What are common misconceptions about RPA?

  • RPA isn’t a fad. Its impact is already being compared to the industrial revolution. Although changes (software updates) are inevitable, such is the case with nearly any successful software.
  • RPA isn’t prone to inaccuracies. Provided the test parameters are governed by a strict adherence to rules, RPA outperforms human labor in both productivity and accuracy.
  • RPA doesn’t increase unemployment. You will need experienced guidance to make a smooth transition to RPA with your human resources, but the transition need not displace jobs. Improved efficiency does not equate to job loss.
  • RPA isn’t a physical robot. RPA doesn’t even require a computer monitor. No additional office space is required.

What are the key factors to consider when you’re deciding on implementing RPA?

Robotic Process Automation is not a one-size-fits-all. RPA must be tailored to your organizational needs for optimal automation. Also, your transition to RPA software requires professional and experienced guidance—all the way through to the transition for your human labor.

What are your risks in implementing RPA?

The most common RPA pitfall is failing to get your inefficiencies assessed and ironed out prior to your implementation. Otherwise, you risk having your redundancies automated and programmed, a common problem if your best interests are not kept in mind.
Installing RPA is work. Training is required and implementation does not take place overnight. Taking shortcuts is ill-advised. Consultation is needed before, during, and after the process to yield the benefits of your investment.
Don’t expect 100% optimization straight out of the gate. During the pilot phase, monitoring is a vital step in making adjustments to optimize your software automation. RPA isn’t a “set it up and you’re finished” experience if you want to maximize your investment returns.
A small mistake entered into your RPA system can lead to a snowball effect. Fortunately, monitoring only a sampling of the RPA processing prevents such catastrophes.

Why should you consider Sirius?

Whether it’s an assessment or implementation, we deploy a lean team of professionals to provide a holistic view regarding the best way to automate. We mobilize experienced business and technology specialists who partner with each other and our clients to determine the ideal RPA approach for the business at hand. It’s our associates’ extensive industry and tech experience that allows for a leaner, more focused team, and, ultimately a solution that’s relatively quick to implement, comparatively inexpensive and absolutely impactful.
In addition, our associates are technology agnostic so clients know that any recommendation that Sirius makes is custom to their systems and won’t require any unnecessary trading of legacy technology.

What is Sirius’s approach to working with you?

We use a simple 3-step process in all of our consulting work, regardless of your business or size. First, we define what success in RPA implementation means to you. This is generally an easy answer for RPA clients as efficiency and lower operating costs are the typical answers—although they may take the form of much more specific answers which are noteworthy to us. So, this first step involves quantifying your expectations or goals, developing a timeline, and ensuring feasibility.
Second, we identify and deploy the right team members for each phase of RPA implementation and training. Taking the deployment step in increments allows you to adjust at your speed to the transitions that we’ll recommend to you.
Lastly, we conclude the project by revisiting your initial goals evaluated against your RPA platform’s real-time delivery. Specifically, we end the project with a value realization document highlighting your anticipated return on investment. This initial assessment of your investment can occur soon after the early stages of RPA have been implemented. It is the document reminding all involved that RPA is an evolving process, especially in the early stages of operation.
Your ROI will improve as we take a proactive stance after implementation to find further inefficiencies. The value realization document serves you to that end, with regards to emphasizing your goals and highlighting opportunities that you perhaps didn’t consider for your investment for current or future endeavors.