RPA’s Role in Reducing or Eliminating “Friction” in Business Processes
A lot of people wonder why RPA Technology became such a big deal in the first place. The usual answer is that RPA helps automate Business Processes and improves business efficiency. We want to present a slightly different take on this. We feel that our job as Process Automation specialists is not just to implement RPA but to reduce or eliminate “Friction” from Business Processes.
“Friction” is everywhere. When you interact with your favorite vendor online through their self-service portals or through their Customer Service Representatives, chances are that you will experience “Friction” in the form of layers of data input screens or delays in getting your Customer Service issues resolved. This “Friction” can take many forms either in the Front office (Customer facing channels) or Back office (Finance/Accounting, HR, etc.). In back office, “friction” can be found as a mundane task of reconciliation which causes monthly financial closing to be delayed or even as an inefficient AR process that causes cash flow issues.
We view RPA as a tool to fight “Friction” within Enterprise Business Processes. Although many talk about the loosely defined term “Digital Transformation” as the ultimate solution, we see the “Digital Transformation” of an enterprise as a way of reducing or eliminating “Friction” from Business Processes. The reason it’s important is that “Digital Transformation” is not just a Technology exercise but rather a mindset for constantly and incrementally improving and reinventing Business Processes to reduce or remove “Friction” from Business Processes.
There are countless examples of this in real life:
- Uber removed the “Friction” from the process of hailing a cab through its mobile App. They continue to enhance their mobile App functionality to reduce it further.
- Amazon used its “One-Click” and Dash button ordering functionality to reduce the “Friction” from its Buying process thereby considerably increasing its Sales drastically.
- Mobile Boarding passes for airlines (and now even Fingerprint-based Boarding passes) reduced the “Friction” where people stood in long lines to print boarding passes.
In summary, we see surface UI based RPA Automation Technologies as another tool to reduce or remove “friction” from Business Processes in addition to the many other technologies like APIs, BPM, and AI/Machine Learning tools.
Let’s all fight the “Friction” and help us find a better digitally transformed world!