Robotic Process Automation: what is it and why it is the new buzzword


Artificial intelligence, cloud software, remote sales experiences: on this blog the news related to the digital revolution in the Utility world and beyond is never lacking. In OnBoarding Funnel, we always try to look ahead to the future that awaits us, so we can offer our customers the strategic advantage of being the first to take the step towards innovation. That’s why today we want to address another buzzword as we look at the developments of our tool: let’s talk about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and how it could add incredible benefits to your company’s operations.

What is Robotic Process Automation and how does it work?

After the various lockdowns pushed the world toward a new level of digitalization, it finally seems that companies have moved ahead and finally begun to exploit the advantages of digital. Now that so many processes have been brought online, the time has come to go further and build new tools to optimize and enhance the work of internal resources. This is where Robotic Process Automation comes into play. Although the name “robotic” may suggest the use of industrial mechanical machinery, this discipline is based on the creation and implementation of bots, i.e., software created and built to perform generally repetitive activities previously performed by humans. For example, these activities include the handling of structured data as in data entry, copy and paste procedures from database to spreadsheet, the recognition of the type of identification document and the genuineness of the data contained within it. However, progress is increasingly in the direction of unstructured data, and will soon allow for the integration of powerful artificial intelligence systems into automation, which will make it possible for bots to learn, therefore making a significant leap in quality.

Today there are two types of RPA: attended Robot Process Automation and unattended Process Automation. As the name suggests, the first type provides for the presence of a human resource that decides the bot activation, while the second is completely independent of human action. Both are powerful tools at the service of companies because, in different ways, they allow to free up time and energy within the process flows: the difference is only related to the amount of control that the company needs to maintain over the operations. While the attended RPA leaves a direct margin of control to the operator, the unattended RPA is completely independent and is automatically activated by the software every time a certain event arises.

The advantages of Robotic Process Automation for businesses

These activities, which have in common the waste of time and energy and for which company resources are used, can be performed by special software to obtain various advantages, the main ones being:

elimination of human error: thanks to the use of automatic recognition software, it is more difficult to fall back into human error;

use of resources in more important and less repetitive tasks: the automation of repeated operations with specific software programs will free up the time and energy of human resources, who can therefore devote themselves to more important processes which require specific skills;

speeding up of processes: repetitive operations, especially when reiterated such as the recognition and insertion of personal data, can be long and complex when carried out by human personnel, while the use of software speeds up operations and optimizes downtime;

simpler monitoring of data flows: a software allows a more precise and constant monitoring level, making it possible to follow in the footsteps of each process;

quick and easy modification and customization of processes: even when a process needs to be modified, the software can make it easier by simplifying the operation with the help of a technical team or, as in OnBoarding Funnel, thanks to low-code personalization.

Due to its peculiar characteristics and the potential for the improvement of operations in any company, Robotic Process Automation is the optimal solution in case of industries with many repetitive operations, management of big data and the need for data recognition; for this reason, its applications range in a large number of fields and markets, including:

– banking and financial services;

– tourism and booking systems;

– health and hospital services;

– utilities and water, electricity and gas services.

Robotic Process Automation and process management of the Utility world: OnBoarding Funnel’s commitment to the future

If you know our tool, OnBoarding Funnel, we mainly deal with solutions to facilitate utilities’ commercial back-office work, especially in customer onboarding and digital sales processes. Precisely because of its particularity, RPA is one of the best methods for speeding up routine processes, data entry and management of practices in a highly regulated – and therefore rich in big data and bureaucracy – field such as that of utilities.

Up to now with OnBoarding Funnel we have focused on the corporate onboarding phase because we know how delicate and complex it is in the utility field: this is where most of the churn takes place and international legislation makes it possible and easy for the customers to withdraw from the contract, opening opportunities for competitors. However, as we look to the future developments of the market, we believe that it is important to think also about the future of processes: once the onboarding moment is over, sales still go ahead, but the order management processes are still too often carried out by hand. For this reason, in addition to the tools and automated processes that OnBoarding Funnel already makes available to customers such as automatic data loading and the next document recognition, we are developing new Robotic Process Automation tools that will help companies to free up resources and concentrate better on their work. After the digital revolution, this is the new frontier: automation at the service of companies, and therefore of people.

If you want to know more and stay updated on the upcoming OnBoarding Funnel developments, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. Also, you can request your free demo here.

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