Unveiling the Power of RPA: Success Stories and Use Cases
During AAFCPAs’ recent Nonprofit Seminar (April 2023), Vassilis Kontoglis, Partner, Analytics, Robotic Process Automation & IT Security, briefed more than 400 attendees on the indisputable benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) while offering a few real world case examples.
The full session was recorded and may be viewed as a webcast at your convenience. >>
What is RPA, anyway?
Simply put, RPA involves the use of technologies to perform routine, manual, and time-intensive tasks. For a job to be a good candidate for RPA, though, it should involve a steady and well-defined process with standardized, repetitive inputs that require no cognitive decision making. And the benefits are immense, from faster processing to improved accuracy and consistent output. When combining data analytics, RPA can also give you the ability to see the big picture, improving and expediting business decisions.
RPA in action.
Could you benefit from Robotic Process Automation? Consider how often you have had to:
- Search for duplicate entries within an Excel file (data manipulation).
- Enter data from one system into another.
- Perform operations or process improvements via system connectivity.
- Send routine notifications or approval reminders.
- Combine data from multiple sources to produce a report.
- Cleanse data through a repeated process.
RPA makes those and similar processes more consistent, accurate, and efficient.
Examples where RPA was a game changer.
Search and Document
A spreadsheet containing information needed specific cells copied to another location. This spreadsheet included numerous tabs with hundreds of lines and entries in each. For each tab, a staff member needed to randomly select an entry from the source and try to find a match in the target location. They would then need to document their results. RPA was implemented to review every tab, randomly select an entry, and search for a match, also known as source versus targeting. The result was then documented in a template file, saving hours of labor and fully automating an exhaustive and error-prone manual process.
Internet Lookup and Download
A website needed to be accessed and searched, with specific information retrieved and downloaded, however initially in an unreadable format. RPA was implemented to access this website, locate and download applicable information, convert files into readable format, such as Excel, and save all results in a designated location automatically. This process was completed in a mere fraction of the time it would have taken manually—with zero errors.
Request and Tracking
Purchases needed to be approved after an involved and time-intensive authorization process. This began with the submission of a request followed by manual tracking, reminders, and follow-up. RPA was implemented to automate record creation of purchase requests using Microsoft Forms, Power Automate, and Microsoft SharePoint. This triggered and launched an approval task for the person in charge, who would then receive an email letting them know that action was necessary. All steps were tracked automatically, saving hours of manual labor and archiving all data for future reference. There was also a reminder function incorporated to remind approvers of the action pending if not acted upon within a specified timeframe. This same system could be used to improve tracking of new employees, clients, services, opportunities, and more.
RPA and Data Analytics
Beyond search, download, and tracking, we also combine RPA with data analytics to automate data collection and present that raw data within an easy-to-read dashboard-style format. Real-time business critical information presented seamlessly and visually allows for faster and more informed, strategic business decisions.
Consider denials analysis, for example. Denials analysis occurs when a healthcare provider submits a claim to an insurance company and that claim is denied and sent back to the provider for resubmission. A sizable organization may receive as many as 116,000 or more denials with various data in each, some of which is relevant and some not. Those records need to be scanned, relevant data recorded, and information presented in a way that helps the office see what was denied. This process takes weeks if not months. And even then, there is no guarantee that an error hasn’t been introduced along the way as you gather denial information, conduct data cleansing/data modeling, and create key performance indicators (KPIs) with visuals.
RPA can automate that process including the review of hundreds of thousands of data points to locate exactly what is needed. It could then output that information into a data repository, for example Excel, which could then be used as a source in Microsoft Power BI—displaying those results visually for defined KPIs. The result is a list of relevant and actionable information along with various dashboards that can help you answer key business questions.
Robotic Process Automation helps clients work smarter not harder while boosting insight, transparency, value, and accuracy. It enhances organizational effectiveness, streamlining and expediting processes and offloading mundane tasks. Use RPA to boost job satisfaction, morale, and retention while reducing human error, effort, and frustration.
If you have questions about RPA or how it might benefit your organization, please contact Vassilis Kontoglis, Partner, Analytics, Automation & IT Security at email@example.com or 774.512.4069—or your AAFCPAs partner.