18 November 2016

  |  Deloitte


The rise of robotic and cognitive organisations

Use of robotic process automation surges as businesses realise the benefits beyond cost reduction.

The rise of robotic and cognitive organisations

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of software to automate computer-based work, and it operates by performing rules-based tasks using existing IT applications just as a person would. RPA is one of a number of approaches to automation but, because it does not require new IT systems to be built, RPA has the capability to deliver benefits more quickly and at a lower cost.

Awareness and use of RPA is growing and we are increasingly seeing deployments reaching enterprise scale, where multiple robots are combined to create a virtual workforce – a back-office processing centre but without people. There are financial benefits owing to the lower cost of software compared to a typical salary, and firms are also seeing non-financial benefits including improved accuracy, timeliness, and operational flexibility.

RPA is increasingly being combined with a new breed of cognitive technologies that can automate non-routine tasks like reading handwriting, identifying images and writing prose. When combined with RPA, these technologies can automate some tasks entirely.

Your Automation to do list:

Questions to ask

  • How does the business case for any existing IT transformation, outsourcing or offshoring programme (including the timelines for benefits to be realised) compare to that for RPA?
  • Do you have multiple business applications which don’t communicate with each other or require teams to operate manual workarounds to complete day-to-day work?
  • What is the potential of automation and cognitive tools to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of your service delivery and customer experience?
  • What mixture of technologies is right for your business?

Actions to take

  • Get started – identify a good candidate process and build a proof of concept to see how the technology could work for you.
  • Identify areas of your business with good potential for robotics and conduct an initial ‘size of the prize’ exercise to build an initial business case.
  • Establish your strategic objectives for automation (cost, quality, control and timeliness) to prioritise opportunities.
  • Establish your automation strategy and governance model before you move forward with a larger programme.
  • Consider whether you want to explore the opportunities for automation in-house, or create a strategic partnership.

Reading list

For information on Deloitte’s Robotic Process Automation Advisory Services, contact Graeme Knopf.