First, what is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
It is an application of technology that allows computer software or a “robot” to automate and interpret existing applications (SOA or SOA less) for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems (Integration).
RPA is one of the most exciting developments in Business Process Management (BPM) in recent history. Some industry experts believe it may be even more transformational than cloud computing.
However, is this game-changing technology all that new? In its current form, yes, but its roots can be traced back to macro’s that automate a sequence that imitates keystrokes or mouse actions. A macro is typically used to replace a repetitive series of keyboard and mouse actions and are common in spreadsheet and word processing applications like MS Excel and MS Word.
What is different about the latest wave of RPA is the maturity of both technologies as well as the business processes it is applied to.
The market for RPA is advancing rapidly and widespread adoption of robotic process automation could radically reshape the BPM marketplace. Below are some key drivers this technology will transform over the next decade:
Cost reduction: Software robots are typically at least one-third the price of an offshore FTE.
Efficiency: RPA can operate 24X7 without breaks provided the underlying core applications are available.
Accuracy: Human FTEs make data entry mistakes, whereas robots perform the same task the same way every time provided there is no judgment call required while processing transactions.
Improved audit and regulatory compliance: Robots can provide detailed audit logs enabling advanced business analytics and improved compliance.
Ease of change management: Robots preserve application and data integrity by leveraging the existing application presentation layer and re-using existing application logic, databases and validation without deep understanding and re-engineering.
To sum up: They say there’s nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come. And the time for RPA-powered transformation is now.
What is the connection between Robotic Process Automation to TEM?
The connection is this – TEM utilizes labor on a large scale for general knowledge process work, where people are performing high-volume, highly transactional process functions. Just as industrial robots are remaking the manufacturing industry by creating higher production rates and improved quality, RPA “robots” are revolutionizing the way we think about and administer business processes, IT support processes, workflow processes, remote infrastructure, and integration.
RPA provides dramatic improvements in accuracy and cycle time and increased productivity in transaction processing while it elevates the nature of work by removing people from dull, repetitive tasks.
This is where RPA connects to TEM in a big way.
So, what about TEM and cutting edge technologies (SD-WAN)?
Telecom Expense Management technology and people will require the ability to manage cutting-edge technologies. As cloud services continue to emerge, SD-WAN is one of these technologies that the TEM industry will need to manage and integrate.
The concept of billing and provisioning is the same, but it will take cutting edge expense management technology and knowable network-centric staff to incorporate this technology.
SD-WAN also has the advantage of removing potentially expensive routing hardware by provisioning connectivity and services via the cloud. Emerging SD-WAN technology can also be more flexible. For example, because SD-WAN connectivity can be controlled through cloud software, a customer might be able to scale up or “burst” connectivity during times of peak demand.