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How Will Website Operation Change Through the Introduction of RPA?

March 2, 2018

Tetsuji Yamashita
Executive Officer, Mitsue Links BPO Consul Inc.

Assigning Work Through RPA

In RPA (Robotic Process Automation) robots are assigned PC-based routine tasks that have to-date been performed by employees. This task automation provides efficiency gains. Present day RPA has a wide range of applications such as adding automation to office tools including Excel and e-mail, as well as to browsers, the cloud, and mission-critical business systems.

So, regarding website operation and related tasks what kind of tasks can be assigned to RPA?

Outsource all Standardized, Routine Tasks to the Robot

We highly recommend automating routine, rule-based tasks. Even when tasks are complicated, if they are properly defined then RPA implementation is possible. Specific examples include handling website user-generated inquiries and updating templated pages such as news releases.

If clients have best practices that are not yet stylized, the introduction of RPA provides a good opportunity to introduce standardized procedures. Furthermore, by redesigning the work on the premise of RPA conversion, there is also the possibility of substantial efficiency improvements.

Resource Shortages Impacting Output? Answer = People x Robots

To date the focus of RPA has been the automation of tasks that employees presently work on, however, future thinking will focus on tasks that they cannot presently do. Regarding the management of websites, much more could be done with additional human resources and/or time – has this limited resource dilemma caused you to abandon updates or new projects? Now though, such tasks may be possible by employing the power of robots.

For example, assigning RPA to important tasks that perhaps couldn’t be supported well enough such as enhancing security, maintaining systems, data collection and aggregation related to online advertising, and enhanced reporting etc. Robots are good at data collection data, analysis and report preparation - therefore, in other words, assign the routine preparation tasks to the robot while people concentrate on judgment. Post-judgment processing can also be assigned to the robot. With this smooth human and robot augmentation, web teams will be able to work on tasks that they, at present, don’t have the opportunity to do.

Effectiveness of RPA Introduction

Through prioritizing the tasks to convert into RPA and then automating them one by one, operation of the website and related tasks will be executed with a speed and accuracy that is quite different from now. Furthermore, website governance and quality will be enhanced.

Simultaneously, web team employees, released from miscellaneous office work, can now focus on tasks that can only be done by people, as well as feel more satisfied and rewarded for their work.

Cost-Effectiveness of RPA

With RPA it’s possible to start small, so implementation is more economical than other IT investments. Furthermore, as it’s very straightforward to measure the cost-effectiveness of RPA, it’s possible to answer such questions as "how long would XX task take if it was assigned to RPA?” After implementation, the speed at which results are generated is rapid, so, if results are positive, further investment can be made (also whereas if effects are negligible it’s easy to withdraw before large-scale outlays).

Future of RPA

At present, RPA works as an assistant to expedite and increase the accuracy of work carried out by employees, but it cannot yet be applied to non-routine tasks. However, with research actively being conducted on links with AI and cognitive automation, RPA’s practical applications are gradually increasing. In a few years’ time, it may be possible for the technology to make judgements similar to humans for non-routine tasks or perform tasks while interacting with people. Prior to such innovations, for now I’m excited to be part of the evolution of website operation and related tasks.

If you are considering implementing RPA for your website related tasks or would like to discuss any of the above, please don’t hesitate to be in contact.