The business landscape is shifting thanks to RPA and other process automation technologies and their proven benefits. While the shift originated with enterprise companies, it’s now gathering significant attention from the mid-market and small business segments as well. Organizations of all sizes can benefit from these powerful workflow and productivity enhancement tools.
SMBs are constantly facing limited resources, so they require flexibility in all areas of operations. RPA presents a compelling way to “do more with less” and allows mid-market companies to take advantage of automation technology. Organizations that implement intelligent automation see unprecedented gains in efficiency. The time saved from working on previously manual tasks frees employees to focus on more strategic and/or revenue-generating activities.
Why Should SMBs Consider RPA?
In today’s fast-paced economy, organizations that fail to adapt to market trends and embrace digital transformation risk falling behind the competition, even being forced out of the market. Robotic Process Automation (or RPA) is a powerful way to transform daily operations into more efficient systems that increase productivity.
RPA is perfect for SMBs who have limited funds, personnel, or IT infrastructure. Automation technology is relatively inexpensive, easy to setup and use, and pays for itself quickly.
While some mid-market organizations have been hesitant to adopt automation, many are experiencing the benefits of RPA. Companies are enjoying efficiencies – and cost savings – in data entry, order, payroll, and email processing, website scraping, call/support center operations, and more. RPA makes a positive impact on nearly every part of the organization.
5 Reasons SMBs Should Embrace RPA Now
1. Easy to Scale
RPA allows businesses to accommodate fluctuating needs without needing to hire additional staff. As a business grows, it can quickly increase its RPA capacity to satisfy operational demands rather than adding new employees to keep up.
In addition, RPA can be leveraged in countless new ways over time. A GUI interface with drag-and-drop functionality makes connecting additional applications easy – no infrastructure upgrades or specific programming experience required.
RPA can be dialed up or down (for seasonal operations, for example) and expanded in scope as organizations’ needs change.
2. Improves Productivity
One of the most significant advantages of RPA is that it allows small businesses to do more with less. By leveraging digital workers, employees are no longer bogged down with necessary but repetitive tasks and can instead focus on higher-level organizational needs, such as providing better customer service.
Automating rules-based, repetitive work means smaller staff levels are needed to complete the same tasks. Administrative work such as account maintenance, payroll or invoice inquiries, and data entry can be automated and processed rapidly with extreme accuracy.
For tasks that require extra attention, RPA can be setup to complete the lion’s share of the work and then alert appropriate personnel to step in and take over. This approach reduces workplace inefficiency and frees employees to perform more satisfying and challenging work.
3. Improves Quality and Compliance
One of the key benefits of automation is that it eliminates “human error,” which is often a significant source of validation or compliance issues.
RPA’s digital workers – often called “bots” – follow rules-based workflows which leave no room for error. These bots stick to their pre-programmed guidelines without deviation, thus ensuring stronger compliance with regulatory or other requirements and significantly improved accuracy.
If bots encounter unresolvable errors, human counterparts can be notified to step in and take any necessary corrective action.
4. Relatively Fast Payback Period
An investment in process automation pays for itself quickly. A Forrester study found the payback period for RPA investments was generally under 12 months and yielded a 262% return within 36 months. This potential makes RPA a low-risk, high-value investment.
Interestingly, the companies in the study noted that the bulk of their returns came from redeploying staff from repetitive tasks to more strategic, revenue-generating activities. The business case for RPA extends beyond simple cost savings.
5. Supports Growth and Expansion
RPA facilitates growth and expansion for small and mid-sized companies by quickly connecting disparate systems. Instead of expensive upgrades, older technologies remain viable (with the data they manage used in new ways). Legacy platforms continue humming along while RPA handles the operational processes necessary for the introduction of new service offerings.
Automation is like having an expanded, on-demand staff available but with much lower operating costs. Because bots do the heavy lifting, organizations can focus more on strategy and innovation rather than bogging down employees with repetitive, low-value tasks.
Process Automation Is Critical for Future Success
Small and mid-market companies have a distinct advantage over large companies: their business operations are not as complex. The disadvantage, of course, is that there are fewer resources available. As such, it’s critical that SMBs get the best work from their existing employees. Process automation technologies, including RPA, help organizations do exactly that.
RPA has real potential to make life easier for SMBs and their employees by freeing them from the most pressing obstacles to growth: limited time and money. Adopting RPA is one progressive step that small and mid-sized businesses can take towards digital transformation. Any organization that fails to understand and adopt such emerging technologies will fall behind in 2022.