Empowering the Workforce with RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

30 Sep 2021

The rapid growth of digital transformation over the past pandemic-filled year and the increased competition among businesses that are only gaining back their momentum have made agile productivity more important than ever.

This is why RPA or robotic process automation has also been gaining traction over the last few years. RPA is actually part of the booming automation trend, which is composed of various next-gen business automation technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

It is projected that the rapid digital acceleration is also propelling the move towards automation for various industries.

Gartner predicts that 85% of large organizations will have deployed some form of RPA by 2022. As such, it's only a matter of time before RPA will be a common business process in the Philippines.

Photo by @thisisengineering

So, what is RPA?

Contrary to popular belief, RPA does not refer to physical robots doing manual labor in a factory. Instead, RPA refers to software robots, specifically the software deployed in a company to carry out repetitive tasks such as data capture and inputs.

Gartner defines RPA as a productivity tool that allows users to configure one or more scripts, often called 'bots,' to perform specific tasks in an automated fashion. As a result, bots mimic or emulate selected tasks within an overall business or IT process.

RPA uses a combination of user interface interaction and descriptor technologies to allow the automatic completion of mundane and repetitive tasks. The descriptor technology scripts can overlay on one or more software applications. These tasks may include manipulating data, passing data to and from different applications, triggering responses, or executing transactions.

How does it work?

One of the many advantages of RPA is that it's a versatile and flexible tool that can be used for any kind of business, whether it's for startups or enterprise organizations. RPA is a rapidly growing industry that offers a wide array of automation technologies. In addition, it has the capability to process whether or not automation should occur based on the parameters set in place. There are two common types of RPA available in the market:

  • RPA uses programmable bots.

An RPA's programmable robot is defined by a set of rules and instructions. As a result, the parameters need to be defined before the bot can work. Therefore, programmable bots usually have a step-by-step mapped-out process for automation.

  • RPA uses intelligent bots.

RPA with artificial intelligence has the capability to analyze both historical and current data as part of its learning mechanism to understand how employees perform a process. These intelligent bots can follow clicks, mouse movements, and actions. Once enough data has been collected, the bot can figure out how to complete the process itself. These intelligent bots are better suited to perform processes with unstructured data and fluctuating parameters.

Ricoh’s process automation solutions help businesses gain a competitive edge by automating their essential business processes. Ricoh will work closely with your company to help identify repetitive and rules-based tasks.This state-of-the-art end-to-end solution covers extensive productivity insights and leads to effective automation of repetitive tasks.

Relevance of RPA in today’s business climate

Employees today use a large number of tools compared to the past. The more tools, the more it’s needed to integrate them together. RPA is the answer to these integration problems. Intelligent RPA bots will help bridge the gap with these systems. In addition, some business logic processes can easily be automated with these integrations.

Advances in tech integrations also enable RPA to automate business processes. Think of RPA as a digital lifeline that can connect all other software applications. Since remote and hybrid work arrangements are slowly becoming the norm, companies use more varied software applications than before.

With Ricoh’s process automation solutions, businesses can now implement dynamic desktop applications that can work in the background for remote and hybrid employees. Ricoh can help empower employees with customizable and automated tasks, task monitoring, visual reporting, break alerts, work summaries, and even simple office administration.

Benefits of RPA

  • Enables automatable work

Enabling automatable work is one of the best value propositions of RPA. With this technology, employees are relieved from doing mundane tasks and repetitive administrative processes like data entries. As a result, significant cost reductions can be achieved when automating repetitive, data-driven activities that minimize processing times and reduces manual re-keying of data.

  • Reduces human error

RPA helps in mitigating human error for long and repetitive tasks. Human errors are bound to occur during data entry, and Ricoh's process automation solutions will help resolve this issue by connecting and integrating systems, capturing data, and streamlining processes.

  • Highly flexible

RPA works with existing IT infrastructure, and it can benefit companies that have existing legacy systems. Automating content migration from legacy systems is made more affordable. In addition, it can also help companies align their business processes with governance, regulatory, and digitization standards for compliance and privacy purposes.

Steps to Help Businesses be RPA-ready for the Future

STEP 1: Educate yourself about the latest RPA innovations.

Learning about the latest innovations in technology and RPA plays an essential part in preparing for a technology-driven future. There are a lot of online resources and training courses that will help businesses take the first step towards RPA. In addition, being educated on how it works and the benefits of automating business solutions will help businesses understand how it can be helpful for the organization.

STEP 2: Understand the business context and identify the process that can and cannot be automated.

RPA are typically used for automating repetitive business processes such as data entries, data transfers, etc. These tasks are the primary candidates for automation. Meanwhile, jobs that involve creative thought and nuanced human decision-making processes are generally not suited for automation.

STEP 3: Narrow down the tasks to be automated.

Just because a task can be easily automated does not mean that it needs to be done. Companies need to prioritize which business processes will get the most benefit from automation. It’s easier to establish the usefulness of RPA solutions for repetitive workloads and mundane tasks since it reduces the skepticism around what this change could mean for the employee’s jobs and the overall organizational culture.

STEP 4: Research the most viable tools and solutions.

Before deploying an RPA solution for the company, make sure that the people involved have done their due diligence. They can start by researching the best technologies available and potential RPA partners. Think about the compatibility issues with existing legacy systems and how these RPA integrations can help unlock potential long-term benefits for the company.

STEP 5: Pick the right RPA partner.

Find the right RPA partner that will suit the needs of the company. Look at their track record, existing solutions, and how they can seamlessly deploy the system as frictionless as possible. Ricoh's process automation solutions allow businesses to automate essential tasks tailored to an organization's specific requirements and workflows. Seamless from start to finish, Ricoh offers an integrated set of automated processes that guarantee successful outcomes.


Is RPA implementation expensive?

Contrary to popular belief, RPA is actually more cost-effective since it can work alongside the company's existing legacy systems that are already in place. With RPA, companies do not need to remodel the entire IT infrastructure, they can just prioritize which solutions need to be automated first, and it can be easily deployed.

Does RPA pose a potential cybersecurity risk?

Of course, there is no fool-proof system that is entirely impenetrable. However, diligent RPA providers like Ricoh meticulously comply with governance, regulatory, and privacy standards. By partnering with trusted RPA providers, companies reduce the risk of threats associated with data misuse and other compliance issues.

How can businesses prioritize projects available for RPA implementation?

Choosing the right task to automate first can be challenging for businesses. That's why employees need to be ready to embark on this endeavor as well. It might be worth considering implementing several small-scale automations at a low-risk first to help employees get acquainted with this new system.

What’s in-store for RPA in the future?

The past few years have seen the growth of RPA as a highly sophisticated automation technology. Its benefits proved to be even more significant in the wake of recovery from the pandemic. RPA technology is bound to mature even more in the future with the convergence of artificial technology and machine learning. At this point, we're already seeing signs of RPA technology being used beyond data entry and repetitive tasks. In time, RPA will be able to recognize more nuanced processes and perform more accurate judgment at a faster rate.

Ricoh is here to help Philippine businesses scale for the future with our Robotic Process Automation Solutions.

With Ricoh, process automation is made simple. Helping organizations boost productivity through integrated automation, Ricoh will help businesses streamline essential tasks.

Get in touch with our automation expert to learn more.