It was great talking to Harel Tayeb, CEO of Kryon Systems, about how robotic process automation (RPA) is being used to drive digital transformation with attended, unattended, and hybrid automation.
Attended automation is when a virtual robot actively aids an employee on a task being executed on a workstation, such as a salesperson opening and populating a new case in Salesforce or helping employees at a call center process requests which require the use of multiple interfaces and databases. Much of the process can be offloaded to the virtual robot, ensuring that the record is filled out completely and accurately, while also appending additional information such as social media or other sources that will supplement the record.
Unattended automation is when any logic-based process in the organization is mapped out and then replicated on a virtual machine by a robot. The virtual robots learn how processes are executed and can carry out entire processes without the need for human intervention, or at least with only a minimal need for it. A great example is a process being done in the back office of enterprises, such as sorting and entering large amounts of data. With unattended automation, data that comes in can be automatically sorted and entered into the correct databases.
Hybrid automation is about enabling genuine collaboration between the virtual and human workforces, allowing tasks and assignments to be easily passed from one to the other — an automated process can start on a virtual machine and call on a person when needed to carry out stages of the process which requires it. This can also work the other way around, where a human employee can start a process and offload the portion that can be handled by RPA to the robot, which will execute it and then pass it on to the next relevant person. So far, Kryon Systems is the only RPA provider in the industry providing this type of service.
Let's get into the interview.
Q: What are the keys to a successful RPA strategy?
A: It starts by identifying the processes that can be optimized with RPA, finding the right RPA partner for your needs, and by setting up a Center of Excellence (CoE) to create and manage the automation scenarios. Selecting the right provider is key because certain services on the market are more flexible and accurate than others, which can save an enterprise valuable resources and scale according to the company’s needs. Once up and running, a CoE staffed with business process experts and RPA managers can continue to find new processes to optimize, as well as continually improve and offer oversight for processes that are being handled by RPA.
Q: What are some real-world problems you are helping clients solve with RPA?
A: We have an insurance company as a client, and when a claim is filed, a 60-page claim form must be completed and 26 bank websites have to be contacted to validate information. When the claim forms were completed by people, there were errors and crucial information was missing. Virtual robots are able to get all of the necessary information in far less time than a human and eliminate the possibility of errors. They were also able to contact the 26 websites and confirm the information they need, namely that payments were made on a claim, within two hours versus the four days that were previously required.
Microsoft is using RPA to help them process between $4-5 billion in royalty payments. The existing team that was tasked with handling the payments was doing a great job, but they wanted to offload these logic-based processes to a virtual workforce so the team could focus their time on more creative, business-driving tasks.
Q: Does this end up costing people their jobs?
A: RPA isn’t about replacing humans with robots. Rather, RPA enables companies looking to scale without increasing headcount to be able to so and can drastically reduce the impact of human error. Companies and their employees are bogged down with repetitive tasks and RPA automates that work, allowing robots take care of those time-consuming processes. By providing more training for their employees to expand their skillsets and career horizons, companies can increase the value employees bring to the company now that their time is not wasted handling easily automatable processes.
Q: What skills do developers need to be proficient on RPA projects?
A: Almost anyone can use RPA solutions. If a developer is writing code, using scripts in any language, there are parts of the process which can be automated, so the developer can focus on the more sophisticated elements of the work.
Q: What else do we need to know about RPA and digital transformation?
A: RPA helps companies embrace digital transformation by providing them with a platform to automate legacy processes and tackle other operational challenges. Additionally, using RPA as the primary tool to execute processes generates invaluable data and insights. While RPA optimizes the processes it’s been assigned, it also helps companies get a full 360-degree view of their operations, helping them which helps enterprises take on new digital initiatives and implement their corporate visions.