ONQU Solutions, the business transformation consultancy, today launches a free, online Process Cost Calculator. The calculator is designed to help an organisation evaluate the true cost, particularly the personnel cost, of running a repeating internal process, as a precursor to assessing the value of automating that process.
The output of the calculator, as well as providing valuable insights itself, can be fed into ONQU's Return On Investment (ROI) Calculator to estimate the savings available through automating the process using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software. This considers the cost of implementing and supporting automation. The result can be a remarkable increase in productivity as well as a reduction in overall running costs plus a significant decrease in human errors and compliance issues.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is different from the more established Business Process Automation (BPA). BPA optimises and often changes the way processes work, with solutions that might mix various approaches, processes and technologies. RPA, in contrast, is a single piece of software used for a specific process that is repetitive, low value and often data intensive. RPA doesn't set out to change the process but maps exactly the actions of the human user and then, in effect, the robot processor becomes a virtual user, performing the same tasks but much faster and more accurately, 24 hours a day, with a range of metrics that can be measured and analysed for process improvements. A BPA solution could include one or several RPAs.
An example process might be one that is quite laborious, with several steps such as logging onto several different applications, pulling data from disparate data sources into one or more places and checking the integrity and compliance of data updates. It could be, say, the compliant copying of high volumes of customer contact data from system to system.
ONQU director Steve Priestnall said: "Many organisations don't understand the real, fully loaded cost of a process, factoring in all staff and management time, which is why our Process Cost Calculator is invaluable. It can make clear the savings to be found in using RPA to automate mundane, low value and often data-intensive tasks that are prone to mistakes, with the added benefit of sometimes dramatic increases in productivity, especially in high volume, high compliance and complex systems environments.
"Robotic automation offers softer benefits, too, such as freeing up staff time for a more customer-facing activity or people-to-people tasks that can't be automated. By taking away some of the drudgeries it can make work more meaningful and rewarding, while fewer mistakes or compliance issues can do wonders for an organisation's reputation and risk profile."
ONQU technical director Dave Brown said: "RPA doesn't require significant IT spend, or staff time, on either implementation or support. Implementation is typically measured in days and it is little or no systems integration as the software simply replicates user actions. Organisations continue with the same processes but more accurately, faster and continuously.
"Without a doubt, RPA is coming to a small screen near you. And our new Process Cost Calculator, which is freely available online with no strings attached, helps you decide which processes to target, by knowing the cost and then working out the ROI."
Steve Priestnall said: "We all know the UK is suffering from low productivity, which it won't solve while businesses sidestep technology investment by simply employing more people. RPA offers a quantum leap in improving productivity and reducing error through automation. And this is for a very modest investment which can be rapidly paid for in reduced processing costs, all of which our calculators will compute up front."