If your company is routinely running inefficient processes, chances are you already know on some level. What you may not know is how deep that inefficiency goes – or how you can take advantage of robotic process automation (RPA) to operate more aptly, more cost-effectively, and more quickly.
Software robots are here, ready to enhance the abilities of your team by automating repetitive, boring processes and allowing employees to do more meaningful work. Read on to discover the 5 signs it’s time to implement RPA, boost productivity and escape Excel hell.
1. You begin to experience what we call “Excel hell”
“Does anyone know how this macro works?” “Can someone send me the latest version of this file?” “Wait – why is this cell green now?” “Can you close the master file so I can change something in it?” If these are familiar questions to you, then your department is heavily relying on Excel to store and transfer data, generate reports, connect with other tools, and who knows what else. The more you automate with formulas and macros, attempting to make Excel function as a database or as a workflow solution, the more you realize that’s not what it was built to be—functions are limited, data is prone to error, and processes become complicated. Luckily for you, RPA can not only alleviate Excel hell but also help you move data from one system to another, without the need for intermediate spreadsheets, and do calculations or transformations—without human input. It can even send an email to your boss automatically to request approval for the final report! And for all those times when you really must work in Excel manually, the robots can gather all the required information so you can start working right away, saving loads of time you would’ve spent copying and pasting from various systems.
2. People in the office often complain about the software they use
Most of us are accustomed to good user experiences while surfing the web or using our smartphones. However, when it comes to the software at work, it’s often a different story. It’s common that an otherwise easy task can only be achieved by first clicking around hundreds of times in several systems and navigating old user interfaces for minutes just to find the right functions. Sometimes the work even involves manual data entry. This is obviously inefficient, but it’s also incredibly boring and demotivating for your team. Cloudstorm software robots can provide you with an easy-to-use modern user interface and conceal the old and cumbersome interfaces of your legacy systems. The robots use the data you enter in the new, clever UI and then operate the old systems in the background, just like a human user would.
3. You have a core system (e.g. SAP), but your department still uses separate Excel “databases” to accomplish everyday tasks
Picture this: You badly need a new “Comment” field in a regularly used SAP transaction, but the developers give you a 12-month lead time for introducing the change. Yikes. What happens next? You export the data in a spreadsheet to a network drive, insert a new “Comments” column and get on with your life – job done! But is the job done, or not really? This seems like an easy fix, but what usually happens is everyone in the department becomes dependent on that Excel file. Now, someone has to manually synchronize the two separate systems, and we all know that’s probably not going to happen reliably. What you can rely on is a whole lot of data integrity problems down the line. Instead, introduce RPA to solve the problem: The robots will listen for changes in the core system and add new entries to Excel as they appear. Another robot will listen for changes in the Excel file and relay them back to the core system automatically. This way, the two systems will forever be in sync without the need to ever copy-paste a single word!
4. You need to work with external systems
No matter how tight-knit and integrated your own IT systems are, you may still need to work with external systems, which are impossible to integrate with traditional software development. Maybe you have to upload reports on government systems or enter data in audit systems of the authorities. Perhaps you need to tailor a daily report for each client your department works with. Or, you may receive work items from your client’s ticketing system that cannot be integrated into your company’s infrastructure. Whether it is due to regulatory pressure, the requirements of an auditor, or demands of another business unit, it all means frequent and tedious copy-paste work—which could easily be automated using RPA.
5. Important reports are delivered late or provided sporadically because creating them takes a lot of time
Every company has some dreaded reports that take more than a full workday to create. It’s time-consuming because team members have to gather the raw data from different systems in the first place. Then starts the monotonous work of generating countless pivot tables and charts so that each department gets the data they need. The whole process is so tiresome that you only do it once per month or worse, per quarter. Software robots can not only save you from this repetitive hassle but also offer real-time reporting. Think of the positive effects that automated reporting can bring to your organization. Imagine the sales teams getting a progress report not just at the end of the month but every morning! How much more agile can your company become if utilizing RPA to the fullest? If the examples above sound familiar and you would like to learn more about how RPA can help your company or department improve workflows, processes, and productivity, click here and let’s chat.