Accelerating Digital Transformation with a New Bot Economy
Gary Simpson, Vice President of Business Development & Service Delivery
There’s a reason Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is one of the hottest topics within the C-suite and it’s not just being discussed within a few specific industry segments. RPA represents the biggest opportunity for traditional enterprises in all industry segments to change their weary productivity paradigm.
Why is there such a focus on RPA, and why now? It’s the clearest path to the next revolution in enterprise productivity and the technology required to support it is proven, accessible and affordable. What’s more, RPA automations have been built in a modularized fashion and are configurable to accommodate business processes of all types while allowing customization for specific lines of business and functions within that business. I’ll get back to that point later.
Business productivity needs a reboot. Traditional, or conventional, companies not born in the digital age operating from legacy systems continue to process 80% of their work manually and 20% utilizing some sort of un-optimized automation. Approximately $100M is spent each year on digital transformation, yet many of these projects fail. Rewriting old code is too expensive and too time consuming. Process reengineering by integrating and modernizing all applications within a business process is not practical. Traditional companies continue to struggle to keep pace with and compete against the customer experience standards being set by “born digital” startups in their respective industries.
Traditional enterprises are in need of viable alternatives to drive efficiency to expedite an improved customer experience and are turning to the intelligent digital workforce and RPA to accomplish this. RPA bots are intended to transform, not replace, human work. RPA bots are supplementing worker activities by removing repetitive mundane tasks, thus allowing workers to focus on high-value decision- making activities. “Low-code,” or self-service data management and RPA tools, are enabling finance, human resources and other departments to address data challenges in their function and eliminate repetitive tasks. Embracing this technology allows traditional companies to disrupt their operations with tools that bridge the gap between the inadequacies of legacy systems and related data management and their quest for “digital transformation.”
So, let’s get back to my earlier point about the ease and speed of bot deployment. At its recent premier customer experience event in New York, I was introduced to Automation Anywhere’s Bot Store. The Automation Anywhere Bot Store enables organizations to deploy and mobilize bots in a fraction of the time it takes to build them from the ground up. The Bot Store features verified, off-the-shelf prebuilt bots from strategic partners such as EY, Accenture, Genpact and others that run on the Automation Anywhere Enterprise platform. The prebuilt bots can be snapped together like LEGO® blocks to automate complex business processes, such as order fulfillment, mortgage processing or logistics management. For instance, all businesses purchase products and services. This process involves creating purchase orders, receiving goods and making invoice payments. Line items, quantities and dollar values need to be reconciled among purchase orders, invoices and delivery receipts—a process referred to as “three-way matching.” While the process may sound generic, it is implemented differently in every organization with different systems and processes. Automating the three-way matching process can be costly and time consuming, but with prebuilt, customizable bots from the Bot Store such a process can be automated in weeks, if not days.
Access to the Automation Anywhere Bot Store is open to all, but bot submissions and downloads are currently restricted to customers and partners. Bots are available to Automation Anywhere customers and partners free of charge for an introductory period.
In its appropriate context, the Bot Store has been created to introduce a deployment model that dramatically shortens the time-to-value for business process automation initiatives. The question has been asked, “Are prebuilt bots and bot stores really helpful in speeding up robotic process automation?” Perhaps this is the wrong question to be asked because there really is no question about it, they do speed up deployment. A deeper and more meaningful question might be centered on the use and reuse of specific IP and its applicability across enterprises and their respective business units. Prebuilt bots listed in the Bot Store encapsulate business process expertise and best practices that can be leveraged by other organizations with licenses from bot creators who own the IP that resides in the bots they list.
Complex business processes cannot be easily encapsulated into a single, monolithic bot. The way one enterprise implements three-way matching can obviously vary from that of a competitor and it may also vary by line of business within the enterprise. By breaking down complex processes into modular, configurable automations, processes can be implemented in ways that are meaningful to each enterprise and their respective business units.
Enterprises realize that there is no silver bullet to bridging the digital divide between legacy systems and their organization’s digital transformation. They are looking for compartmentalized automations that provide for customization rather than full end-to-end process automation solutions. No two companies are alike, and very few business processes across business units within companies are exactly alike. In this age of the “sharing economy,” the Automation Anywhere Bot Store is an open marketplace that provides the opportunity for partners, RPA developers and customers to directly engage and transact with each other. In addition, with RPA as the driver, these bots also extend the sophisticated AI and cognitive functionality on the Automation Anywhere platform, something that may not be found with other providers.
Developing a strong RPA ecosystem by packaging reusable modular automations provides a way for enterprises and their partners to begin the journey toward integrating the intelligent digital workforce and transforming the way they conduct business.