How did our Robotics Process Automation story began?
Digital Mind partner Edgars Stafeckis shares his story on how did a relatively new automation approach - Robotics Process Automation (RPA) - came to be part of Digital Mind offering.
Business processes improvement has been my passion since university, when we were solving various complex tasks in Optimization theory class.
Working in a bank I had the chance engage in a project that documented banks processes in the form of visual process models.
Afterwards, being already with Digital Mind team, business process management (BPM) became my everyday life. My working days went by advising clients on the opportunities and various applications offered by BPM to achieve their goals.
In the vast majority of cases, goals of practicing BPM, were related to efforts to increase the effectiveness of organizations, reducing non-value-added activities and to enhance transparency of organizational processes. Certain technologies were used to achieve all of the above, in this case, technology for document and process management as well as business process automation.
Digital Mind has been successfully operating in this field for 15 years. Over time, we have successfully implemented more than 130 projects in the leading and largest organizations in the Baltic States, and today we are facing increasing interest in digitization opportunities.
One of the goals of digitalization is to make technologies to perform tasks that do not require only human-like qualities, skills or capabilities (e.g. empathy, intuition, humor, etc.). Technology support in this case helps the employees-humans to focus on what really matters, realizing their intellectual potential.
While helping our customers to find new ways to operate more efficiently and intelligently, it is important for us to be innovative in the way we deal with our tasks and the solutions we offer as well.
Digital Mind's latest line of business - Robotics Process Automation (RPA) - is additional approach how we can provide our customers maximum technology support for efficient business process automation, employees technological empowerment and data retrieval among systems.
RPA is an automation approach where software robots are entrusted with activities that people do in computer systems and do not require only human capabilities.
How did the "click" happen?
Over a year ago, I started to study RPA for the first time and, I have to admit, at first I did not see the true potential of this technology.
At that point in my mind, it seemed as just another technology for automating routine operations and processes. Definitely more uncertainty and questions, than answers.
While exploring where RPA is applied, I thought that the tasks assigned to RPA robots could be automated with a "workflow engine" or automated in another company’s systems, programmed, integrated - as we usually do in projects.
Another reason why companies use RPA, supposedly, is to mitigate impact of scarcity in labor market. My thinking was that in our region it will still be cheaper to hire additional talent, including for tasks that can be entrusted to RPA robots.
At that time, I was thinking of writing my own, skeptical at the time, reflection asking the RPA's "hype" - something like "Are robots really coming?!"
As time went by and with a better understanding of RPA capabilities, I began to notice activities and tasks in my daily routine which actually fit to RPA robots. For example, registering a new contact in CRM. Unregistered business cards, both in paper and e-mails, tended to hang around until registered... While this is an important task, it takes time to transfer information from one medium to another. Repetitive activity, which does not require intelligence, intuition etc. Just some validation (whether such contact exists already etc.) and data entry. We continued our research, tried out RPA technology in our processes, talked about it with a number of clients and a "click" happened - we believed in RPA!
In recent months we frequently meet with companies and organizations that have interest and who have believed in RPA's ability to help their business; we are a number of certified RPA consultants; we have the first client with full implementation of RPA; "proof-of-concept” projects running in parallel with other potential customers.
Seeing the great interest and many questions on the RPA subject, we are organizing a conference about RPA in mid-May to explain and show practical examples of RPA in practice thus raising awareness and stimulating ideas. Companies that have already implemented RPA will share their experience and feedback.
A representative of a company using RPA once said that “RPA, like the “excel”, will be used in each organization over time…”
In future blog posts we will publish practical examples that best explain the essence of RPA and encourage your thinking. We'll describe the main reasons and motivations that prompted Baltic companies to implement this technology. We'll elaborate on the economic rationale and explain what should be taken into account for a successful RPA implementation.
Robots are not coming; they are already here!
Link to facebook post for questions and discussions.