Business Info - issue 138 18 magazine plenty of scope for them to implement rules-based RPA, as many organisations have yet to do even basic process automation. In a 2018 AIIM survey, 75% of respondents described process automation as ‘important’ or ‘very important’. Yet 67% admitted that fewer than half their processes were automated. Just 3% have automated more than 90% of their processes. (AIIM IndustryWatch report Digitializing Core Business Processes , 2018). Risk of failure For all its benefits, RPA is not always successful. In fact, Avasant suggests that as many as 40% of RPA engagements fail to deliver the expected benefits. Gartner suggests the figure could be as high as 72%. There are a number of reasons why an RPA implementation might fail. The wrong process might have been chosen for automation; it might have been chosen for the wrong reasons (i.e. automation for the sake of automation); there may have been an inadequate cost-benefit analysis; too many people might claim ownership of a project – and fail to act when something goes wrong; vested interests might resist change; the wrong metrics might be used to measure a project’s value. When intelligent automation specialist Cortex analysed why implementations went wrong, 53% of those surveyed complained of a shortage of people with the necessary skills; 46% said they had not budgeted for the documentation of existing processes; 44% cited cultural resistance from employees fearful that robots were going to take their jobs; and 41% said they lacked process creation expertise. A good supplier can help businesses avoid these pitfalls. Data Capture Solutions (DCS), a Neopost company, has helped hundreds of organisations cut costs and increase efficiency by automating business and document processes.With its experience in process automation and change management, it is well placed to help businesses of all sizes identify processes suitable for RPA and make sure the project is a success (see box on page 16). For too long, businesses, their employees and their customers have had to put up with time-consuming, inefficient, manual processes. It is time to put robots to work for the benefit of all. 1. Where machines could replace humans – and where they can’t (yet) , Michael Chui, James Manyika, Mehdi Miremadi, McKinsey Quarterley, July 2016 RPA ...continued Almost three quarters (73%) of consumers have interacted with robots and, of those, 69% were satisfied with the experience (Capgemini, The Secret to Winning Customers’ Hearts with Artificial Intelligence: Add Human Intelligence, 2018) More time for patients Medical secretaries at the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) have more time to devote to patients after the Trust became the first in the UK to use Robotic Process Automation to support staff in their day-to-day activities. Five virtual workers at Ipswich Hospital are now being used to automate administrative tasks in Cardiology, Urology, Neurology, Nephrology and Haematology. In Neurology, for example, RPA is being used to process GP referrals. A robot monitors the electronic referral system 24/7 and when a new one comes in, it gathers key clinical data and downloads several documents, which it then records in the Evolve system for clinical review. Previously, medical secretaries had to print out the documents and then scan them into Evolve, which could take 10 to 20 minutes per referral. Clinical Neurology medical secretary Chris Harvey says RPA has freed time up to spend on other things. “We can be on the phones, writing letters or talking to patients – we’re more available. It gives you more time to be doing all the other things you have got to do,” she said. There have also been significant benefits for medical staff, as staff grade neurologist Dr Petr Pokorny explains: “It’s more efficient and practical and there’s a more fluent flow of work. it’s easier to have five referrals to deal with every morning than a huge pile of 35 once a week. You save time, you save money and there’s less risk of something being lost from a pile of paper.” ESNEFT now plans to use RPA to automate repetitive, time- consuming tasks in other areas of its operations, such as Clinical Coding, HR Processes and Service Desks.