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The Impact and Possibilities of Robotic Process Automation for Business Processes

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The Impact and Possibilities of Robotic Process Automation for Business Processes
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Paulus, Jordan Kylie
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The purpose of this paper is to explore robotic process automation – its evolution, applications and future outlook – to demonstrate why more companies should invest in the technology. With the growth of digital transformation movements and information technologies in general, businesses need a way to maintain or regain a competitive advantage; robotic process automation is one way businesses can reach that goal. ( en )
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Awarded Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, magna cum laude, on May 8, 2018. Major: Information Systems
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College or School: Warrington College of Business Administration
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Advisor: Kyung Sung Jung. Advisor Department or School: Information Systems and Operations Management

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Copyright Jordan Kylie Paulus. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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The Impact and Possibilities of Robotic Process Automation for Business Processes Jordan Paulus University of Florida Undergraduate Honors Thesis Spring 2018

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Paulus 2 Table of Contents Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 3 What is RPA? ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 3 Definition ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 3 History ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 4 Pre RPA Technologies ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 4 Evolution ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 5 Differences Between Automations ................................ ................................ ................................ 6 Robotic Automation vs. Robotic Process Automation ................................ ................................ ......................... 7 Business Process Automation vs. Robotic Process Automation ................................ ................................ .......... 7 Attended Automation vs. Unattended Automation ................................ ................................ ............................ 8 Applications ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 9 Vendors ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 11 What to Look for in Software ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 12 Total Cost of Ownership ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 12 Ease of Use and Control ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 12 Technical Criteria ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 14 Vendors ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 14 Benefits ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 15 Cost Reduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 15 Boosts Capabilities ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 15 Efficiency and Accuracy ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 16 Improved Compliance ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 16 Ease of Change Management ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 16 Personal Experience ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 17 NextEra Energy ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 17 Future Outlook ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 18 Pairing with O ther Technology ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 18 New Uses ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 18 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 19 Works Cited ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 20

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Paulus 3 The purpose of this paper is to explore robotic process automation it s evolution, applications and future outlook to demonstrate why more companies should invest in the technology. With the growth of digital transformation movements and information technologies in general, businesses need a way to maintain or regain a competitive advantage; robotic process automation is one way businesses can reach that goal. Definition Robotic process automation (RPA) is "the application of techno logy that allows employees in a company to configure computer soft ware or a 'robot' to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with oth er digital systems (IRPAAI). This technology offers cost benefits, new team roles and a mult itude of innovations to improve business processes. activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of a mix of digital technologies and their accelerating impa ct SCOOP). Because robotic process automation affects businesses processes it falls under the umbrella of digital transformation. Digital transformation can be compared to business process management, or more specifically, business process optimization Business process outsourcing is moving from more cost saving and outsourcing to cost plus optimization plus innovation plus value proposition SCOOP).

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Paulus 4 The major premise of robotic process automation is that it creates the ability to map and a ssign a software robot to manage the execution of any definable, rules based business process ; instead of taking over jobs, it simply takes over tasks technology e, but rather sits on top of it can be implemented rapidly, efficiently and without making major changes to existing infrastructure. History The term robotic process automation can be traced to the early 2000s. However, RPA relies on older technologies, elevating them to a higher level and using their capabilities to provide more benefit to business users These technologies include screen scraping, workflow automation tools and artificial int elligence. Pre RPA Technologies Screen scraping was earlier computers to scan large sets of static information or other visual representations of data to pull key terms, integers, or other important analytics (Ostdick). The term workflow autom ation is older, dating back to the 1920s and the industrial age. manual and paper based processes by integrating tools, automating hand offs and replacing other repetitive tasks instead of the proces ses that support that work, employees are more agile and spend less time on repetitive tasks Artificial intelligence (AI) was officially coined at a confere nce at Dartmouth C ollege in refers to the capability of computer systems to perform task s that normally require

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Paulus 5 human intervention and intelligence Ostdick ). The use of AI has become more practical with the advent of big data processing power and cloud solutions. On their own these technologies are impactful but combined and coordinated they offer even greater possibilities cost reduction, efficiency and more. Evolution What started as employees manually performing repetitive tasks can now be handed off to a robot, freeing the employee to do other work. As demonstrated in Figure 1, bus iness processes have evolved from making labor more efficient to attempting to eliminate labor. However, robotic process automation is not intended to remove jobs, but instead to take over mundane tasks. Figure 1 Old manual processes are time consuming and have a more clerical long process and consequently scaling requires a large number of human resources. Assisted macro automation is the next step from manual. Macros are short segments of code that perform a sin gle task. The development required for assisted macro automation is laborious, does not offer scheduling and has no centralized management. Macros are non scalable as they are built for a

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Paulus 6 single, specific process. Multiple macros cannot run at the same tim e and there are compatibility issues with legacy systems. Robotic process automation has evolved into more of a virtual workforce than a virtual assistant; it is also a more strategic solution than a tactical process. In comparison to manual processes and macro assisted processes, robotic process automation offers many more features, as demonstrated in Figure 2. End to end process automation means completing all the tasks that must be accomplished in order to achieve th e process goal. RPA is also more scalable and flexible with the ability to scale up or down almost instantly. Hundreds of RPA bots can run at the same time, handling a multitude of different processes; these bots can also be handled by centralized manage ment and scheduled to run at optimal times. Overall, RPA offers several clear benefits over manual and even macro assisted automation. Differences Between Automations T he word automation can mean many different things depending on the modifier robotic automation, business process automation and attended or unattended robotic process automation. Figure 2

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Paulus 7 Robotic Automation vs. Robotic Process Automation T here is a major difference between robotic automation and robotic process automation software versus physic al Robotic automation can also be referred to as industrial automation which is about controlling physical processes. RPA is utilizing software to carry out human tasks done with computer software (Owen Hill). Business Process Automation vs. Robotic Proce ss Automation In robotic process automation versus business process automation (BPA) the difference is more understated. The implementation of business process automation is much more involved and dramatic than the implementation of RPA. Business process automation involves analyzing all processes within the business and integrating them into automation software BPA is a bit like ripping out [the] entire human operated production line and replacing it with a fully autonomous factory. RPA is like adding a collaborative robot to one worksta tion wi thin the Hill) Figure 3 demonstrat es the difference in business disruption levels between altering business processes and implementing robot ic process automation ; e ffecting changes using RPA is much simpler than enacting changes through business process automation and management Not only is RPA faster, but the results of the execution are also easier to forecast. Until RPA, more traditional s olutions like enterprise Figure 3

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Paulus 8 software, business process management and shared services were of increasing efficiency and growth; however, RPA offers a quicker and more predictable way to achieve those goals. Attended Automation vs. Unattended A utomation Within robotic process automation, there is attended versus unattended. As seen in Figure 4 the difference is clear humans working with automation or automation working by itself with no human interaction Figure 4 Attended automation relies more on a cooperation between human employees and virtual, robotic employees; essentially attended robots are more like facilitators. They are designed to assist the human aspect of the workforce by ensuring tasks are executed w ithout errors while meeting compliance standards. They are specific events, actions, or commands an employee engages within a specific workflow Access and automation

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Paulus 9 features are more limited with attended automation and must ofte n be more agile and user friendly so employees can move from platform to platform. An example of this is a call center. Employees often navigate through several different screens, entering and retrieving data, all while speaking with a customer. Attended a utomation streamlines this process, allowing the employee to focus more on the customer than on recalling data. Alternatively, the basis of unattended auto mation is no human intervention or as little human intervention as possible. Actions are self trigge red, and work is completed continuously, allowing robots to run as much or as little as needed. Unattended robots can also be accessed view, analyze, and deploy scheduling, reporting, auditing, monitoring, and modification fun ctions in real time within a centralized hub This remote interface allows a wide range of employees access unlike the limited accessibility of attended automation. An example of unattended automation is transferring data from one form to anoth er. Instead of having multiple employees sifting through multiple f orms, a robot can be programmed to scrape the repetitive data from the old form and transfer it to the new form automatically and with zero human interaction past implementation. Businesses have a choice of what software works best for them; this customization demonstrates why RPA software would work for almost any company. Applications Any company that uses labor on a large scale for general knowledge process work, where people are performing high volume, rules driven, highly transactional process functions, will boost their capabilities and save money and time with robotic process autom ation software There are many applications for RPA software ranging from business

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Paulus 10 processes, remote infrastructure, workflow processes and IT support processes. Figure 5 lists just a few possibilities for imp lementing robotic process automation. In their white paper on RPA, Th oughtonomy delves into six real world use studies where RPA delivered proven value Customer Service & Support Desk, IT & Infrastructure Support, Data Migration & Management, Connectin g Process Islands, Digital & Online Initiatives and Back Office Administration (Thoughtonomy) To expand on an earlier example about a call center, a case study for a l eading European IT Managed Service provider demonstrated how robotic process automation ensures seamless task flow during business and nonbusiness hours, how it r esolve s its own problems and how it delivers relevant data in real time. Customer experience is an important part of a business and is the main goal of a good service desk or call center. The RPA solution Thoughtonomy delivered was able to complete tasks that once took six minutes in less than 50 seconds. The required number o f support technicians was also reduced, allowing them to be redeployed elsewhere to more value added tasks. Figure 6 displays the quick development and business impact time and cost savings. Figure 5 Figure 6

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Paulus 11 Vendors Different ven dors offer different types of robotic process automation solutions. Some companies are focused on more of a consulting offering, while others offer software. Figur e 7 Figure 7 There are three main types of RPA vendors: established technology providers, RPA focused vendors and business process outsourcing (BPO) providers. A company like Intellicog Technologies provides BPO ready made solutions, whereas a tool like UiPath is for companies to create and implement their own automated processes. Businesses can tailor solutions to their needs just one reason it makes sense for companies to invest in RPA technology.

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Paulus 12 What to Look for in Software A company mu st know what key features a good robotic process automation software should have in order to maximize the capabilities These include the total cost of ownership, ease of use and control, technical criteria and vendors. Total Cost of Ownership First, th ere is the initial s etup cost. This can be insignificant if current employees have the know how to train bots. However, many vendors also offer setup to help speed up implementation There are also ongoing f ees to consider. Different vendors have differen t pricing models, so there are many options for businesses further demonstrating why companies should invest in robotic process automation. With technology changes and updates, businesses must also think about maintenance c ost s. As these issues can usually be dealt with in house, the cost is not nec essarily directly quantifiable but is worth considering when choosing software. Ease of Use and Control Ease of use is vital as well the solution must be simple and efficient, otherwise it defeats the purpose of implementing RPA. Another crucial feature is ease of control, how easy it is to make adjustments while the processes are running. For example, stopping or adding bots during maintenance or for a system volume increase. The avail ability of t raining is also important. Whether through online tutorials, text or in person training. Many vendors offer community forums and online training material supplemented by existing users. This is useful because the support comes from others using the

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Paulus 13 software, therefore the advice may be more relevant. Figure 8 shows Ui a forum, a Ui Path Academy, video tutorials and more Figure 8 Kryon Systems offers e books, cas e studies, infographics, brochures and videos (Kryon). Another vendor, Kofax gives customers several choices for services, as seen in Figure 9. Within their training option, they have education services, courses and on site training. Figure 9

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Paulus 14 Technical Criteria Scalability is one of the most important considerations; even if a company plans to start small, the ability to increase with demand is key. Security is critical in all business activities and robotic process automation is no exception. The bots could be working with customer data, supply chain data or any other type of sensitive information. Therefore, it is vital that the selected option has security at differen t levels to protect the data and the company. applications and systems. This ability makes RPA advantageous to a company and helps them further their goals The overall intelligence of the solution is also important. The digital workforce should read and write to any data source, support simple task based activities and leverage more advanced learning to further advance automation A solution that is should employ RPA. Vendors As mentioned previously, knowing the different options vendors offer is important as well. Companies must know what the y are looking for in software before choosing a software and vendor. Another aspect to consider is vendor support how much help a company wants and needs. Some companies may need more help than others, but with the multitude of vendors available they hav e many choices, which makes RPA a viable solution for most businesses. A reason companies may not want to use RPA is the misconception of needing

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Paulus 15 significant technical know how. But between the option of ready made solutions and in house creation software, employees can easily learn to implement RPA. Benefits The biggest reason companies should invest in robotic process automation beyond customizability are the benefits. RPA offers cost reduction, a boost in capabilities, higher efficiency and accuracy, improved compliance and an ease of change management. Cost Reduction Companies are constantly looking to decrease costs which is one major reason they should utilize RPA. Work is not only completed faster but RPA can be used to automate repetitive tasks currently done by employees. This allows workers to be reassigned to more high value and complex tasks which will save the money currently being spent on man hours performing automatable tasks. Not only does RPA de crease costs there is also a significant return on investment. In an analysis of 16 c ase studies by the return on investment that varies between 30 and as much as 200 percen t in the first year (Willcocks). Cost is a big reason many businesses do not implement RPA solutions, but the savings and return on investment show that it will be the right choice in the long run. Boost s C apabilities Through scalability and flexibility competencies RPA scale is much better than approaches for screen scra ping, macros and scripts Companies can also build a library of these

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Paulus 16 components and use it contin ually; this adds to the replicability of process es across business units. Another area that receives a boost is capacity. Because of a higher processing volume, t he increase in speed correl ates to an increase in capacity (Guyonnet). Efficiency and Accurac y Bots can work 24/7 which immediately demonstrates the increase in efficiency they offer. Figure 10 shows some figures from RPA implementation in the finance and risk banking sector. They found that service levels could increase to 100% accuracy as well (Guyonnet). Figure 10 Humans make mistakes. When humans complete routine tasks the number of mistakes Once the RPA setup is complete, manual errors are eliminated rse, there may still be outlier cases of mistakes, but changes in the RPA industry are working to eliminate these, or at the very least provide a way to catch them so they can be easily fixed. Improved Compliance Through RPA, an audit trail is maintained in case issues ever arise. And because there is less human interaction with sensitive data, the probability of fraud and compliance issues is reduced (Dilmegani). Ease of Change M anagement preserve application and data integrity by leveraging th e existing application presentation layer and re using existing application logic, databases and validation without

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Paulus 17 deep u nderstanding and re Jain ) The misconception that all new technologies create massive disruptions may be a reason companies choose not to use RPA. However, RPA is very non implement it which is a big reason companies should invest in RPA. It can simply be ad ded and integrated with current software. Overall, the multitude of benefits offered by robotic process automation, many of which are summarized in Figure 11, outweigh the possible cons and demonstrate why businesses should definitely implement RPA. Fi gure 11 NextEra Energy During my 2017 Summer Internship, I worked with a Robotic Process Automation team at NextEra Energy with principal subsidiaries NextE ra Energy Resources and Florida Power &

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Paulus 18 Light. I was able to assist with a project for Integrated Supply Chain to automate the process of finding late purchase order s and notifying the agent Before automation, this process required three employees. After automation, these employees were able to focus on more complex tasks T he process is estimated to save the company half a million dolla rs annually Robotic process automation will continue to grow and evolve. It is already shaping the current information technology landscape and companies should invest in it now to begin reaping its many benefits. Pairing with Other Technology One area where RPA will develop is in pairing with technologies like cognitive computing, big data and machine learning. This will allow companies greater insight into their accurately analyze and act on important data based on key performance indicators New Uses One big future application is s elf healing: robots monitor processes and correct issues autom atically to lower error rate This will help eliminate errors in automation completely, as In coming years, a higher percentage of technical issues will be resolved through self healing and self help solutions Kumar ).

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Paulus 19 Another possible future use is an i ntegration between chat bots and RPA for help desk automation as seen in Figure 12 The combination of these technologies would hopefully create help desk bots that are essen tially indistinguishable from humans but able to perform all the tasks required of one. AI technology future evolutions of IT Service Desk automation will involve end to end deep learning Based on all the benefi ts and continued growth of robotic process automation it is clear why companies should invest in RPA. Even beyond simple cost savings, the value and competitive advan tage generated through RPA make it an obvious asset for most businesses. Furthermore, there are many different options for RPA software. Most parts of the process are customizable, particularly when businesses create their own bots. But eve n when choosing a ready made solution, businesses can choose from lists of vendors. RPA i s continually growing, along with other useful technologies that could easily supplement and improve existing RPA technology. While it may seem like this is a path to replacing human jobs, it is more about taking over mundane duties and then reallocating existing human resources to higher value adding tasks. The tasks RPA takes over are rep etitive and do not require judg ment or complex thinking. Overall, robotic process automation has more positives than it has drawbacks. More businesses should invest an d implement this technology to reap the benefits, as well as to maintain or regain a competitive advantage. Figure 12

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Paulus 20 Works Cited Top 10 APAC Robotic Process Automation Companies 2017 robotic process automation.cioadvisorapac.com/vendors/top 10 apac robotic process automation companies 2017 rid 13.html. Linkedin 22 Feb. 2017, www.linkedin.com/pulse/robotic process a utomation rpa when use jaydeep dhar. AppliedAI AppliedAI, 30 Mar. 2018, blog.appliedai.com/robotic process automation rpa vendors comparison/#rpa checklist. AppliedAI AppliedAI, 27 Mar. 2018, blog.appliedai.com/top robotic process automation rpa benefits/. DISYS IT Staffing and Services 13 Apr 2016, www.disys.com/the history of rpa its data analytics/. EY Tech Trends: Legacy System Transformation EY Global www.ey.com/gl/en/industries/financial services/insurance/ey tech trends legacy system transformation. Kofax Advisor Blog 17 July 2017, advisor.kofax.com/index.php/top 9 considerations for choosing an rpa solution/.

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Paulus 21 utomation Extend beyond Just Cost Savings Accenture Banking Blog 21 Mar. 2017, bankingblog.accenture.com/benefits of robotic process automation extend beyond just cost savings for banks?lang=en_US. IRPAAI irpaai.com/what is robotic process automation/. i i SCOOP www.i scoop.eu/digital transformation/#The_evolution_of_digital_transformation_towards_a_DX_economy. Jain, Sanjay. Blog : The Past and Future of Robotic Process Automation www.wns.com/insights/blogs/blogdetail/259/the past and future of robotic process automation. Services services.kofax.com/serv ices/?_ga=2.124563459.867393402.1523283968 2143142747.1521640981. Kryon www.kryonsystems.com/resources/. Kumar, Dilip. Autonomics: Mastering Self Learning and Self Healing Cognizant, Autonomics: Mastering Self Learning and Self Healin g www.cognizant.com/whitepapers/Autonomics Mastering Self Learning and Self Healing.pdf. Mindmajix Mindmajix Technologies INC, 19 Feb. 1970, mindmajix.com/30 rpa examples.

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Paulus 22 Nintex www.nintex.com/workflow automation/what is workflow automation. UiPath Robotic Process Automation 26 July 2016, www.uipath.com/blog/th e evolution of rpa past present and future. UiPath Robotic Process Automation UiPath, www.uipath.com/blog/looking forward looking back five key moments in the history of rpa. UiPath Robotic Process Automation 20 July 2017, www.uipath.com/blog/unattended attended automation. Owen What's the Difference Between Automation a nd Robotics? 28 June 2017, blog.robotiq.com/whats the difference between automation and robotics. Chatbots Magazine Chatbots Magazine, 5 Apr. 2018, chatbotsmagazine.com/the 3 evolutions of bots for it service desk automation 5b72babeea64. LinkedIn SlideShare 17 Aug. 2017, www.slideshare.net/vishalraina3d/robotic process automation rpa guide for financial inst itutions 78920342. Roboyo > Your Partner for

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Paulus 23 Robotic Process Automation and Intelligent Business Process Automati on www.roboyo.de/en/robotic process automation/. LinkedIn 17 Jan. 2016, www.linkedin.com/pulse/over 20 benefits robotic process automation rpa alex steinberg. Thoughtonomy. Rob otic Process Automation 6 Real World Use Cases Thoughtonomy, 2016, Robotic Process Automation 6 Real World Use Cases thoughtonomy.com/wp content/uploads/2017/05/Thoughtonomy_RPA_whitepaper_FINAL.pdf. UiPath Robotic Process Automation www.uipath.com/resources. McKinsey & Company Mar. 2017, www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial services/our insights/the value of robotic process automation.