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Ins and Outs of Process Automation for SMEs

What Is Process Automation? 

"Business process automation (BPA), also known as business automation or digital transformation,[1] is the technology-enabled automation of complex business processes " It can streamline business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increase service quality, improve service delivery or contain costs. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labour resources and software applications throughout the organisation. 

BPAs can be implemented in many business areas including Marketing, Sales & Workflow. 

What is Robotic Process Automation? 

Robotic process automation is an upcoming field within BPA and uses artificial intelligence. 

"Robotic Process Automation is a software-based technology utilising software robots to emulate human execution of a business process."It mimics the employee clicks, types, opens applications use keyboard shortcuts and more. It is mainly used to automate business processes and tasks, resulting in reductions in spending and giving businesses of all size a competitive edge. 

How is it different from traditional automation? 

• Traditional automation also automates business processes and workflows, but this is done on the backend. 

• As RPA imitates a human worker, you do not have to make any changes to the backend, and hence it is easier to implement and manage. 

• RPA use graphical user interface (GUI) such as Icons & Menus, and hence it can be implemented on any system without requiring time-consuming and expensive application integration. 

• RPA is just an extra layer on top of your existing technology infrastructure. You do not have to change any of the core systems. 

What are the advantages of Process Automation? 

Automatable work - It removes employees from doing mundane and time-consuming repetitive tasks to doing more value-added activities that will enhance customer service. 

Reduction in human error and costs - Employees makes mistakes when performing repetitive tasks which are eliminated by the RPA. The result is that the quality of the work is 100% and also cost and time is saved correcting and avoiding duplication. 

Many organisations still use legacy systems. RPA can work alongside these legacy systems and hence there is no replacement cost to the existing IT landscape 

Key Differences Between AI & RPA 

RPA isn't designed to think. It's designed to perform specific tasks more efficiently than humans can complete them. RPA bots can't learn based on data input, nor can they make any decisions unless they've specifically been programmed to do so. 

What is Cost Vs Return of implementing a RPA?


1. Hardware costs 

2.Development costs 

Automation via robot can be implemented in weeks, and achieves a return on investment faster, with a payback time of three to nine months. 

3.Ongoing costs and licensing 

An enterprise license for large companies can cost up to £1M, but there are no extra professional services other than maintenance cost. 


1. For example, An onshore (FTE) costing £35K, offshore FTE for £15K; automation software can perform the same function for £3K or less. 

2. The ability to build up a process rapidly and manage the demand through the peak and troughs of the business growth cycle is easily achievable when robotic process automation. 

3. Coaching a team requires time and resource whereas there is no training needed for the Robots! 

4. An RPA is available around the clock so it can work 24X7. One Robot can handle the volume of three full-time employees. 

5. Calculating recruitment cost savings is a quick and easy way to demonstrate the benefit of robotic process automation to the leadership team. 

What are the steps in Process Automation? 

1. Identifying automatable work processes. 

2. Recording critical data about each of the identified work processes. 

3. Analysing data to identify the processes best suited for automation. 

4. Deciding which processes to automate and prioritising them 

5. Creating automation workflows for robots to follow. 

The processes you want to automate with RPA need to be optimised before implementation. If this isn't the case, you might achieve cost-savings by eliminating some of the human input — but you won't improve the process itself by simply automating it. Moreover, inefficient or ineffective processes can leave your company vulnerable to a whole host of problems even, or especially, when they're automated. Issues can range from cost overrun due to waste to mistakes that adversely impact your services or products. 

Therefore, perform Steps 1 to 4 before embarking on your Automation journey! 

For more details or a free process assessment please contact Raji Vaidyanathan at Hoshin Kanri Advisory, Diploma in Robotic Process Automation Implementation, Certified in Process Excellence; Email : 

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