Speed and accuracy are even more valuable in a crisis situation
Different organizations need different responses – fast
Is RPA one of the unsung heroes in the fight against Coronavirus?
RPA isn’t exactly in the headlines at the moment. Let’s face it, there are bigger news stories: death tolls in the thousands and the uncertainties of contagion, the limitations of modern medicine, citizen and commercial hardship and global economic instability.
But RPA is very much in action behind the scenes.
Speed and accuracy count more than ever in a fast-changing pandemic situation. And RPA is a technology designed to accelerate responses and cut out human error in data processing. This is a pretty key requirement for many organizations who are battling with the current situation.
RPA is a non-intrusive technology, so we can apply it to existing systems and processes without root and branch change, to speed them up. We can use it to connect previously separate systems and data to meet new requirements and provide new insights, quickly, without fundamental change to underlying system architecture and software design.
RPA can enable quick reactions in a range of pandemic scenarios
Covid-19 is hitting different organizations in different ways.
For some, it’s about meeting exceptional demand, with an explosion in consumer and healthcare needs for certain products, services or information.
For others it’s about running a dramatically reduced operation efficiently with minimal staffing.
For others it’s about accelerating research, information provision or services in direct support of national and international to understand and manage the virus.
Some organizations are suffering from a lack of personnel to meet these needs, because people are off sick, isolating or have been furloughed. This makes the need for process automation more acute, with fewer people available to carry out essential activities.
Here are seven common current scenarios where RPA can support urgent demand and priority changes caused by Covid-19.
- Virus infection and antibody testing
At the top of the news agenda is the quest to test populations and segments accurately and at scale. RPA can match patient records up and check that test readings fall within accepted norms, cutting out manual data entry and system searches. It can log results into databases and share them between systems. As new apps and infection tracking solutions come online, RPA can help generate notifications and connect data sets to provide actionable analysis.
- Refunds, claims and rebookings
Commercial and public sector organizations are struggling with unprecedented numbers of customer enquiries about cancelled or delayed services, from holidays and travel to medical treatment, education and training. Huge volumes of questions about the validity of insurance policies are posed. Anxious members of the public have urgent enquiries about Covid-19 symptoms.
RPA can support chatbots, bringing together information from different sources. It can also collate live information about queries, showing what’s being asked to reveal trends. Organizations can use this to communicate and plan proactively, anticipating emerging issues and concerns. It can help organizations to automate more of their standard processing for refunds and rebooking.
- Order processing
If your business produces or distributes anything from critical PPE and medicines to groceries, jigsaws, hair dye and home gym equipment, chances are you’re experiencing enormous demand for fulfilment and delivery. RPA can help streamline order processing, connecting systems and data to cut out manual intervention. If you need to bring in new supply chain partners, RPA technology can rapidly connect them up to create an efficient, end-to-end process for standard orders at least. This frees staff to focus on expediting consignments for the most complex and critical orders and customers.
- Media monitoring and aggregation
Digital information and news relating to the pandemic are being produced exponentially through traditional and social media channels. Keeping track of it, anticipating trends and stamping out misinformation and rumour is key both for government and corporate businesses and media owners. RPA bots can help pull in content from a huge range of sources and categorize it by keyword and topic. Organizations can spot emerging issues and topics quickly and take responsive or remedial action if needed.
- Core operations
Some organizations need to run a skeleton operation with minimal staffing at this time. For instance, leisure and travel operators need to sustain themselves by reducing costs and overheads until the lockdown enables them to generate revenue again. RPA processing can help cut manual intervention in core finance and operational processes such as staff and production scheduling.
- Feedback and surveys
Keeping track of public and customer opinions and needs at this time is critical. Whether it’s making sure your goods and services are aligned to consumer need, seeking information to develop new propositions, monitoring employee wellbeing or checking understanding of critical health and social messages, RPA can help assimilate responses to surveys and feedback tools across a variety of media.
In some sectors, there’s an urgent need to recruit. Couriers and delivery services, grocers, e-commerce fulfilment and health services have scrambled to get new staff working to meet society’s current needs. RPA can speed up application receipt, logging, initial screening and initiating background checks. This allows managers to focus on the human interaction elements of recruitment and training, moving more people through the process and into their new roles rapidly.