Rise of the robots!

“How can we complete X process in less time, for less money, while maintaining or exceeding the current quality?”

We’ve been asked this question numerous times, in many different forms, whenever we examine an organization’s current operations. In Canada, insurance organizations are undergoing multiple transformation activities across their businesses, often requiring business or process benefits to be demonstrated before the activities complete.

Robotic process automation (RPA) is evolving to become a critical tool to answer this question. In the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, insurance organizations have already started to turn to RPA to solve their needs for improved process efficiency — and Canada is prime to be next.

RPA involves the use of software ‘robots’ that are easy to configure and can quickly be ‘trained’ to automate manual tasks. They differ from traditional software by working at the user interface level, replicating the exact actions a human user would take and creating, in effect, a virtual business process outsourcing (BPO) outcome. We’ve outlined this below:

The value of the RPA lies in its ability to take on the repetitive but necessary tasks required for a process, while freeing the human employee to focus on value-added activities based around the end customer. As well, robots are able to complete the processes in less time, with less errors than a human, and comply with regulatory requirements.

RPA is relatively quick to implement once a process has been selected for automation. We’ve seen that selection and piloting of a process usually takes 8–10 weeks, with implementation happening immediately after. And RPA can deliver enormous return on investment very quickly, allowing for capacity creation or redeployment of effort.

We’ve noted the following leading practices in successful RPA implementations:

  • Use it ‘fit for purpose’ — Understand how RPA will fit into the organization’s overall strategy. Organizations can use RPA as a short- or long-term solution to tactical problems, but they can also use it for long-term operational planning.
  • Be specific and measurable — Determine the specific actions and protocols within a process that RPA will replace. In addition to understanding what will be automated, it’s important to understand the impact of automation and how resources and other processes will be affected by the change.
  • Integrate it into your governance and quality program — Create a governance structure, or centre of excellence (COE), to manage the RPA. Dedicating a team to maintain and sustain RPA across the organization helps develop an effective tool throughout the organization’s automation journey.

So maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the old premonition that robots will one day take over. They’re already here, and they’re ready to work at our side.

Contact us

Jessica Lewis
Manager, Consulting & Deals
Tel: +1 416 941 8383 ext 13526