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ROBOTICS PROCESS

AUTOMATION
USHERING INNOVATION,
COST SAVINGS

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TRANSFORMING CHALLENGES
INTO OPPORTUNITIES
Amidst continuous pressure from internal stakeholders to bring down costs,
the finance function has become leaner and more cost-efficient. The Chief
Financial Officers (CFOs) besides donning multiple hats(i.e. providing
forward-looking insights and support in strategic planning and
decision-making)continue to keep an eye on cost control, as well as respond
to evolving market requirements by improving organisational agility.
The CFO is looking to automate processes, in order to free up
resources to develop and support business strategy and drive
critical business initiatives.

innovative technology solutions from the Finance and Accounting


Outsourcing (FAO) service providers, to deliver customer
satisfaction.

The CFO is moving beyond plain vanilla cost and labour arbitrage
advantages, offered under the traditional outsourcing model.
As the clamour for differentiation grows, the CFO is demanding

According to a recent study from Horses for Sources (HfS), 47%


of BPO buyers indicate automation as a critical component of the
BPO service provider capabilities.

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ROBOTICS PROCESS AUTOMATION:


USHERING INNOVATION AND COST SAVINGS
In the Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO) industry, Robotics Process
Automation (RPA) is fast emerging as a disruptive technology solution capable
of delivering multiple benefitscost savings, enhanced accuracy, scalability
and increased compliance.
According to Everest Groups Finance and Accounting Outsourcing
Annual Report 2014, FAO Robotic Automation tools are up to
65% less expensive than offshore-based full-time employees
(FTEs). Therefore, not surprisingly industry analysts are looking at
RPA to transform the global outsourcing industry, and disrupt the
traditional BPO business model.

FAO providers are increasingly leveraging RPA to better manage


the growing transaction volumes by automating routine processes;
without increasing the FTE headcount. Thus, allowing the CFO
to realign resources to focus on strategic, high-value customer
facing roles.

TYPICAL AUTOMATION BENEFITS CURVE

Core Systems
Replacement

Benefit

Business Process
Management

Robotic
Automation

Maximised
through Process
Transformation

Screen Scraping
Cost

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ROBOTICS PROCESS AUTOMATION | 3

ENGINE OF BUSINESS GROWTH


In the FAO space, processes such as Order-to-Cash (order management,
invoicing and collections, etc.), Record-to-Report (fixed asset accounting),
Claims Processing and General Data Entry, etc. are ready for RPA.
RPA is the go-to solution for organisations to benefit from process
automation and advanced operational and process analytics; at
economically viable price pointssomething that was not possible
with previous automation approaches.
This is because the RPA platform uses the clients existing user
interface and enterprise applications (both in-house and in
the cloud) seamlessly, with the software robot logging into the
application (similar to how a user would, albeit in a controlled
environment). This does not require back-end integration

or access to client data through APIs. The software robot is


non-intrusive and will function within the security controls
and restricted access rights. In short, there is no compromise
on security, resilience, scalability, compliance or operational
governance.
Furthermore, software robots are technology-agnostic and can be
used in any data-driven, rule-based processes. This makes RPA
a capability that can be leveraged irrespective of industry and
application, making it cost-effective.

Xchanging has already automated seven processes for some of our insurance industry
customers. The robots are working over 30,000 cases per month. We are already seeing
significant benefits from the robotics implemented to date. For instance, the average
processing time has reduced from around five minutes to under 10 seconds per unit and
12 multi-skilled robots are all able to work each process 24/7.
In addition, our robots now scan third party workbaskets for items that we are unable
to process and reject back to the source (broker). Buoyed by the encouraging results,
Xchanging is in the process of deploying more robots across other customer processes
and for our internal Shared Services functions.
Xchanging is also establishing the Blue Prism Competency Centre to spread the
footprint of RPA across the company. In addition, we are also setting up a scalable
environment to support the robotics platform and process modellers who have been
trained to build processes on Blue Prism (Xchangings robotics partner). We have also
created a dedicated and accredited RPA team, reporting into a RPA Product Manager.

We have embraced RPA and implemented the required infrastructure, framework


approach, delivery capability and support model for the initial wave of processes. With
this capability, we will offer true innovation to our customers and deliver creativity and
real process transformation -Product Manager RPA, Xchanging

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VALUE PROPOSITION OF RPA IN FAO

SCALABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY

PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY

The ability to replicate robotic tools


across geographies/business units
increases scalability and flexibility

Robotic automation tools are at


least twice as fast as human FTEs
and can function 24/7

ACCURACY
ROBOTICS PROCESS
AUTOMATION

Automation phases out human


intervention, thus reducing
possibility of human errors

COMPLIANCE

COST SAVINGS

Robotics allows data and processes


to be retained onsite

Robotic automation tools are up to


65% less expensive than offshore
based FTEs

By eliminating repetitive and manually intensive processes, RPA drives efficiency,


enhances productivity, consistency and accuracy. This enables companies to improve
response time to new markets and adhere to global regulatory requirements

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ROBOTICS PROCESS AUTOMATION | 5

A ROBOT FOR EVERY RULE-BASED PROCESS


The CFO is constantly challenged with ensuring optimal resource utilisation
and cost reduction. Therefore, organisations are constantly looking to identify
processes which can be automated. Rule-based, routine and high-volume
processes, predictably susceptible to human error and miscalculations, are
ideal for RPA.
Some of the areas where RPA can help organisations improve
working capital management, enhance productivity and efficiency
include:
Processes having structured input source, with readable data
(sourced from spreadsheets, database, forms, etc.) or routine
workflow tasks. The presentation-layer automation software
follows the steps defined in a rule-based, non-subjective
process and does not alter the existing IT architecture. The
RPA software continues to carry out pre-defined steps, and
can be easily scaled up or down, to adapt to dynamic business
requirements
Remote management of IT infrastructure, automated
processes under RPA can address and resolve problems on
its own. In addition, RPA software can also improve the service
desk function and monitoring of network devices. By separating
business scalability from the need to add headcount,
enterprises can easily manage short-term business demands
without adding to the employee strength

Large call centres or customer service centres handling high


call volumes, in multiple languages. With voice recognition
software, progress in language processing by machines and
ease in information retrieval, RPA can enable customer service
executives to answer customers in natural language, rather
than in software code
Processes that require data transfer across multiple systems,
which can leverage the software robots to help drive record,
without the expense of technical integration. By incorporating
RPA into operations, FAO providers can create one master
process, that can be emulated by the robots in the clients
specific systems
Data being collated from multiple sourcesweb pages
for orders, invoice workflow, email exchanges and excel
documentsRPA can be leveraged effectively to automate
high-volume, low complexity tasks. Organisations can thus
ensure optimal resource utilisation and also improve employee
productivity

APPLICATION OF RPA IN BUSINESS PROCESSES

Robotics Automation can be effectively


used by teams and individuals who:

Undertake structured,
repeatable, computer
based tasks

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Perform complex
decisions based on
algorithms

Access more than one


system to complete a
process

Use workflow enabled


interaction with people
Do information search,
collation or updation

VALUE DEFINED, VALUE DELIVERED


Organisations expect RPA to drive productivity (by automating transactional
tasks) and profitability (by gleaning relevant business information from
unstructured operational data). RPA allows companies to save 50-70% on
labour costs by making intelligent use of resources, near-zero error rates,
improved compliance and reduced process cycle time.
Therefore not surprisingly, a large majority of the CFOs are already
contemplating RPA to automate a large percentage of their
rules-based, repetitive back office processes resulting in:

FTEs are deployed into existing transactional systems operating


the processes in exactly the same way that human FTEs do today.

LOWER COST:

Organisations are wary of the possibility of experienced process


associates skipping any step in the standard operating procedure.
The robots are programmed to follow the SOP and hence perform
the task in exactly the same way, every single time. In addition,
robotic automation also generates extensive audit trails at the
keystroke level, which provides an extra level of assurance during
testing and production.

Robotics Process Automation can create a 25-50% cost savings.


Process automation enables round the clock execution at a
fraction of the cost of a regular FTE model. A software robot can
cost as little as one-two ratio the price of an offshore FTE and as
little as one-fifth the price of an onshore FTE. This number can be
significantly greater, given overnight system availability.
HIGHER EFFICIENCY:
Robots can work 24/7, 365 days a year, with no vacation breaks
or attrition. This leads to reduced cycle time and enhanced
productivity.
ENHANCED ORGANISATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY AND
QUALITY:
RPA can help organisations enhance organisational productivity
without significantly modifying the existing process flow. Robotic

INCREASED COMPLIANCE TO REGULATORY NORMS:

Analysts, however, add a word of caution for organisations


considering RPA to be a replacement of their existing systems.
Enterprises need to remember that RPA does not and cannot
completely replace the existing systems, but can only perform
specific rule-based repetitive tasks. In addition, the cost of
building automation into the systems should also be well thought
through. With increasing incidents of data theft, organisations
are treading cautiously when it comes to providing access to
confidential business data, under RPA.

IN SUMMARY
Robotics Process Automation is maturing in terms of credibility, clarity and
applicability, as more and more organisations are embracing it. According to
Gartner, the focus of outsourcing is shifting from resource augmentation to
outcome-based managed services.
As this continues to evolve, the role played by RPA will be even
more significant. Besides process automation, this technology
can be applied to a wide range of domains including information
technology support and management, and automated assistance,
etc.
The main challenge with RPA is with respect to handling
unstructured data. In the F&A domain, especially in payments

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and collections, the dataincluding correspondence, claims,


complaints and invoiceare received via email, fax, post and
paper, etc. The potential to combine RPA with new Artificial
Intelligence (AI) engines, would help overcome this challenge.
Therefore, together with AI, RPA can make deep inroads in the
F&A domain.

ROBOTICS PROCESS AUTOMATION | 7

THE BENEFITS OF ROBOTICS PROCESS AUTOMATION

QUALITY/ACCURACY/
RISK MITIGATION

FLEXIBILITY/
MULTI-TASKING

CUSTOMER
SATISFACTION

EFFICIENCY/COST
BASE REDUCTION

APPLICATION INTEGRATION
VIA USER INTERFACE

MI, AUDITING
AND SECURITY

OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY

TECHNICAL

ROBOTICS PROCESS
AUTOMATION

8 | ROBOTICS PROCESS AUTOMATION

DATA COLLATION
AND MIGRATION

REDUCED
DELIVERY RISK

AUTHOR
Raja Subramanian
Group Enterprise Architect Xchanging
Raja.Subramanian@Asia.
Xchanging.com

REFERENCES
http://www.blueprism.com/industry/industry.php?cat=8
http://www.sourcingfocus.com/site/featuresitem/8353/
http://www.irpanetwork.com/what-is-robotic-process-automation/
http://www.everestgrp.com/2014-03-robotic-automation-drives-value-in-fao-market-insights-14141.html

AMERICAS

EUROPE

ASIA-PACIFIC

281 Winter Street Suite 380,


Waltham, MA 02451, USA

The Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook,


London, EC4N 8AQ, UK

Xchanging Towers, SJR iPark, EPIP Area,


Whitefield, Bangalore, 560 066, India

Phone: +1 (781) 916 9111


enterprise-us@xchanging.com

Phone: +44 (20) 3604 6999


enterprise-eu@xchanging.com

Phone: +91 (80) 3054 0000


enterprise-apac@asia.xchanging.com

@xchanginggroup
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2014 XCHANGING

JAN.15

9 | ROBOTICS PROCESS AUTOMATION