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How Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Transformation Work Together

By Amanda Daly | Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

What is the difference between business transformation and robotic process automation (RPA) and how do they work together? How can robotic process automation help with digital transformation goals such as faster time to market? What other factors do you need to consider when crafting your RPA strategy? 

First things first. What is digital transformation and what is RPA?

Digital Transformation and Business Transformation are one and the same

'Digital transformation' is a buzzword phrase that has swept into countless businesses these days. However, like many of its vague predecessors, it's a term that not many people truly understand. Digital transformation is not merely building apps or migrating data to the cloud. At a fundamental level, it's about changing how you approach a problem. With all the technology available, businesses are still wasting time with manual data entry, printing documents, and creating one-off spreadsheets. Adopting modern technologies and leveraging the power of Big Data is critical when it comes to transforming how your business operates internally and how you engage with customers, vendors and other third parties.We call it Business Transformation to disambiguate the true goal behind implementing all of the myriad digital technologies out there today. It's all about how you use them to drive the success of your business.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of technology to operate systems without human assistance. Its main purpose is to automate tedious business tasks that are repetitive and often uninspiring--the tasks that have to happen, that undergird business operations, but don't actively drive business goals forward. RPA mimics the activities of humans, executing the same actions over and over again more quickly and accurately. In the financial industry, the "robots" involved don't generally look like your typical movie or video game characters, or even like one of the robotic arms you might see in an episode of "How It's Made." Usually, the tool is a computer application that can interact with computerized processes without constant supervision.

RPA can be introduced across a number of systems and departments. Aggregating or cleansing data, normalizing, metadata tagging: these are all tasks that can be stricken from an employee’s responsibilities and entrusted to RPA. This tool automates a manual task of moving information between different systems. It makes it possible to convert a manual process and virtually eliminate the need for human intervention. What’s more, the conversion process is fast and relatively straightforward. CIOs improve not only the quality of data across systems, but also the reliability of retrieval. With automation, there’s no more wondering whether certain information was either input and lost or never input at all. 

Now that we have an understanding of what business transformation and RPA are, let's take a look at how they work together. Of course, RPA has different specific benefits versus other forms of business transformation, but those benefits are greatly increased when RPA is applied under the auspices of a larger transformative approach. 

RPA as part of Digital Transformation

RPA shouldn't be used as a single source - it treats the symptom and not the cause of information disconnects. As with any other aspect of digital transformation, IT leaders need a broader plan for RPA’s role in digital transformation. Take a look at the following issues to address:

  • Strategic alignment

  • Governance

  • System and process stability

  • Organizational change management

  • Well-defined success metrics

  • Dedicated focus

For more insights on Digital Transformation and RPA, download our whitepaper on CIO Trends, Strategies, & Insights for 2021.

CIO Trends, Strategies & Focus for 2021
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