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Robots and humans, better together

For transactions, there’s more to automation than RPA

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Introduction

Transactions. Today’s businesses deal with masses of them. In fact, for some firms — especially those with large customer bases — the volume of transaction records reaches into the millions and even billions. And they can produce a crushing workload.

Consider the case of a fictional reinsurance company — say, one that gets records from hundreds of different primary insurance companies each month in multiple file formats and file structures. Imagine the manual effort involved in transforming and translating all those records. Yet that’s what must happen before staff can upload the records into the firm’s own systems to process.

In the face of such massive volume, it’s hard to prioritize. As a result, truly important tasks — delighting customers by quickly responding to their requests, for example — can fall by the wayside. Other jobs, such as rapidly processing files and moving information between different systems, can stack up quickly, too. And companies won’t allocate work efficiently or make critical decisions as promptly as they should.

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But as self-driving cars or Mars-exploring robots prove, technology is rapidly evolving — and that’s the case in business settings, too. Tools such as robotic process automation (RPA), dynamic workflow, and intelligent business process management suites (iBPMS) are helping companies manage transactions efficiently. Once they get transactions under control, these enterprises can deliver exceptional service, which inspires customer loyalty and has a positive impact on the bottom line. No wonder companies are turning to RPA to automate many of their transactions and processes.

But does this kind of automation produce the massive return on investment and business transformation that RPA vendors promise? Can RPA really streamline and address everything? After all, not all transactions are the same, and the cost and complexity of dealing with each may vary significantly.

To answer these questions, let’s look at the kinds of transactions that occur in every business across every industry. 

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