Figure 1: Types of business processes inwhich RPA can be usedSource : A 2016 study conducted by CapgeminiConsulting and Capgemini Business Services Workareas in shared services are generally loaded with repetitive andtime-consuming processes. With RPA, the staffs performing high volume, highlytransactional processes can immediately enjoy the benefits of RPA as it cansignificantly improve accuracy and quality for a business’ processes byeliminating human error associated with these voluminous, repetitive tasks. Theexperts from ACCA view on finance’s transformation, shared services and outsourcing advisorygroup that despite billions of dollars spent on ERP systems (one of the existingautomation tools), finance delivery still needs manual intervention to complete aprocess or a transaction. This shows thistechnology was imperfect and its processing wasn’t robust. Since organizationsdidn’t embed automation into their ways of working, they usually relied on asubject matter expert (SME) to operate, which exposed the risk. As concluded byProf.Willcocks and Prof. Lacity, what setsRPA apart from other automation tools are these 3 key features: 1.
RPA is easy to configure, so developers don’t needprogramming skills. Even without programmingexperience, business operations staffs and SMEs can be trained to independentlyautomate processes within a few weeks. This differentiates RPA from BPMsolutions because BPM requires programming skills. 2. RPA software is non-invasive. RPA sitsalongside existing IT infrastructure. It does not require a heavy IT investmentor additional infrastructure, in fact, it can even be desktop based.
3. RPA isenterprise-safe. RPA is ableto be distinguished from earlier generations of scripting and screen scrapingwhich users locally deploy from their desktops as RPA is a robust platform thatis designed to meet enterprise IT requirements for security, scalability,auditability, and change management. 1. Overview ofShared Services According to Module A:Certificate in Global Business Services of ACCA, Shared Services Organization(SSO) is a captive organization (i.e. internal to the company), usuallystructured on a functional basis e.
g. Finance and Accounting (F), HumanResources (HR), Information Technology (IT). It may consist of multiplelocations, with work traditionally located based on time zone and languagerequirements and availability. Typically, this is thefirst step that companies take as it can provide significant benefits, whileensuring the process remains under the full control of the organization. Whileusually beginning with non-core activities, internal shared services will oftentransform into providers of higher-value, more business critical processes.
Shared services aresupposed to deliver services that are low cost, but cost efficiency must bebalanced with other performance requirements such as service excellence,business enablement, scalability, flexibility, security, and compliance. Paul Jeruchimowitz and David Axson of Accenture stated thesame shared services industry that has been steadily evolving for the past 25years, where its big win has always been cost reduction has now becomeirrelevant. Thus, shared services are now heading towards extinction. Today’s shared services customers; both internal suchas business users, employees and suppliers as well as external customers expect”consumerization” on the services that are oriented around them. They wantsimplified, seamless experiences, much like the experiences they routinelyreceive through digital channels at home; friction-free interactions, intuitiveapplications and consolidated information. This “customerization” happens in 3key ways: 1.
focusing on customer outcomes 2. Measuring success in terms ofthose outcomes 3. And delivering innovative new service capabilities thatcustomers value. Prof. Mary Lacity andProf. Leslie Willcocks further summarized the trends in Shared Services duringthe last five years and they are (1) global business services (2) public sectoradoption, (3) focus on business outcomes and (4) digital transformation,including Robotic Process Automation. All this while, they found out inpractice, shared services organizations have been slow to move into adoptingRPA but with the latest current trend, this is changing.
In short, to avoid therisk of irrelevance and ensuring “customerization” is achieved, shared servicesorganizations need to develop or adopt an advanced, innovative models such asRPA. Belowfigures illustrate the increasingly important role that robotics plays incompanies’ process improvement and to stay relevant: Source: Survey findings conducted by the Capgemini Consultingand Capgemini Business Services