May 7, 2018 | Written by: Pierre Col
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Office workers often spend a good deal of their time in and out of various information systems and applications. To perform their jobs, they might be required to input the same data multiple times, copy and paste data from one window to another, or compare and check information from two different applications.
In short, there can be a lot of tedious and dreary work.
Robotic process automation (RPA) can automate this repetitive work that often doesn’t add value with software robots.
McKinsey and Company defines RPA as “a type of software that mimics the activity of a human being in carrying out a task within a process.” It can accomplish repetitive tasks “more quickly, accurately, and tirelessly than humans.”
That means more free time for people to spend on high-value activities, such as improving the quality of customer service.
Optimizing business processes with RPA
RPA is an abbreviation that first appeared about two years ago, but Contextor has offered its customers software solutions to automate business processes for 15 years. Its small software engines sit on a user’s desktop and are similar to Excel macros, but can extend to any application.
When Contextor started out, the idea was to improve efficiency for people working on PCs or laptops who needed to interact with legacy applications and systems.
For example, in the banking industry’s client onboarding process, Contextor can reduce the customer service process by approximately 80 percent, from 25 minutes to five minutes, by automating repetitious verification tasks.
Adding cognitive capabilities
Incorporating cognitive technology is important when there is data to be analyzed. For instance, when a process involves incoming emails, cognitive services can classify and prioritize the messages.
Additionally if there’s a chatbot working alongside a person to handle the first steps of the customer service conversation, cognitive RPA tools can authenticate and decide when to transition the chat to a human agent. It would transfer the conversation and present the relevant client information to the customer service agent who can then seamlessly continue the conversation.
Contextor decided to implement IBM Watson capabilities delivered through the IBM Cloud after performing market research about several solutions. The company chose Watson in part because of IBM expertise and technology and the position IBM has with large clients in France. Additionally, IBM will assume the project manager role for RPA integrations with Contextor’s clients when the time comes. Contextor’s cognitive RPA solution will be able to work either on premises or in the cloud.
Contextor has created a model that incorporates its RPA technology with IBM Watson Machine Learning. Initial results show that by using machine learning to automate our business process mining workflow, RPA deployments are accelerated by at least 20 percent. This means customers could start seeing the benefits of RPA within weeks, and realize a return on investment in just months.
Enhancing customer service
Previously, RPA was seen as shadow IT, but now more and more CIOs are using RPA as a tool to rapidly address business needs without breaching security policies or introducing any overload or stress on the existing applications.
RPA optimizes business processes and procedural compliance without modifying existing applications. It is easy to use and improves both the employee and customer experience.
Contextor does not intend to eliminate jobs with RPA. By introducing robots, companies can enable their customer service agents to be proactive, offer new products and services, and to improve customer experiences and relationships.
Learn more about how Contextor uses Watson services.