Nonetheless, no matter how these robots look, it is a fact that they are becoming an indispensable tool for businesses seeking to boost productivity in this fast-paced digital world. RPA utilises software with arti cial intelligence and machine learning capabilities that can handle high volumes of repeatable tasks. According to estimates1 by Market Research Future, the global market for RPA will reach $2.7 billion by 2023 from under $1 billion in 2016.
RPA AS A PRODUCTIVITY BOOSTER
Singtel’s Group Enterprise business unit implemented RPA in late 2016 to process emails at our Technical Centre, which receives an average of 750 emails from telecommunications companies around the world to inform Singtel of their network maintenance requirements. Today, RPA automatically processes 80% of these emails every month, allowing Singtel to reduce the number of staff required to monitor such emails from ve to two. Meanwhile, the three staff who used to perform these repetitive and mundane tasks have been redeployed to take on more value-added jobs. Besides boosting staff productivity, RPA has also enabled Singtel to respond more quickly to the needs of our enterprise customers.
And that is not all, there are many other advantages for deploying RPA. For one, automation speeds up document processing across the organisation to allow different departments, such as billing and accounting, to track and collect receivables in a timely manner. In addition, with the ability to operate round the clock, robots can seamlessly support staff working in different time zones around the world. While more robots can be deployed to augment heightened manpower needs during peak periods, the number can also be easily scaled back in times of low demand, giving Singtel the exibility to implement RPA when and where they are needed most.
RPA AS A STANDARD-BEARER FOR QUALITY
Beyond productivity, the adoption of automation has also greatly increased data authenticity and accuracy. Before the days of automation, workers across the value chain have to call and email one another to verify data accuracy. Now, with automation, the accuracy of the data is veri ed at the time when it was rst recorded into the system.
With more and more information being digitised and robots gathering additional data at every stage of the process, it is foreseeable that data analytics will enable business processes to be more effectively interpreted and analysed. Important insights on how a task can be performed more ef ciently can also be gleaned.
Further, thanks to automation, managers can not only monitor project milestones in a timely manner, but also carry out proactive intervention at every stage of the project. The result is, control and compliance policies can be enforced with ease.
RPA AS AN AGENT TO DRIVE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Ultimately, automation has the potential to generate cost savings across businesses, improve customer satisfaction and boost operating ef ciencies. But the urgency for organisations to digitalise their operations are more far-reaching than these bene ts – they run the risk of being disrupted by newer technologies.
Automating an enterprise’s legacy systems, however, can be quite complex as such systems typically do not have an Application Programming Interface (API), which is needed to facilitate integration into more modern and sophisticated platforms. Fortunately, the RPA software can be programed to imitate a user’s actions in front of a desktop – opening enterprise applications and going through motions as a human would.
It has only been a year since Singtel embarked on our RPA journey and we are now ready to scale up RPA throughout the organisation. This will be the springboard for us to explore upcoming technologies such as smart computing and advanced data analytics to further transform our operations and boost productivity.