Back-office tasks are ripe for effective automation but many businesses have little idea about how it works and so have not yet taken advantage of what it can offer them
While automation is widely acknowledged as the future for business, what is less well known is precisely how it works and how to take full advantage of the untapped potential it offers, especially for back-office tasks.
World-leading automation specialist Kofax is currently applying more than 25 years’ experience developing smart software automation to help businesses realise the full potential of robotic process automation (RPA).
Working with its in-house IT specialists, together with its large and well-integrated partner network, Kofax is empowering companies to achieve their automation ambitions in 2019 and beyond. In close collaboration with its clients, Kofax aims to help make the world of work more organised, better informed and ultimately more rewarding for all involved.
Many of the largest Kofax clients are early adopters of automation. Several large international businesses have been using Kofax’s information capture and invoice processing solutions for decades.
Some of these have used Kofax solutions to handle just one of many core business processes. Examples include using Kofax Capture to compile data for annual report cycles or using Kofax ReadSoft Online to handle invoicing across distribution networks.
For many companies, these solutions have proved efficient and reliable. But there was an increasing sense from Kofax and its users that the full potential of its technology was yet to be discovered.
Kofax began working more closely with its customers and partners to help realise the full potential of RPA. The intention was to help companies reach automation maturity by identifying further-use cases in corporate architectures and increasing the value of RPA investments.
Achieving automation maturity
One of the ways in which Kofax helps companies grow through RPA is to identify common patterns of work across disparate business processes. If RPA is already a good fit for one aspect of a company’s business, the chances are it can also provide assistance in several more – even if that potential has not yet been realised.
One of Kofax’s biggest successes with this approach involved a highly successful staffing company based in Atlanta. The company had previously used Kofax Capture to scrape information from multiple web pages for data aggregation and reporting purposes. Working with company IT teams, Kofax helped identify several other business processes that could be streamlined using RPA solutions.
The staffing company now uses Kofax Capture and other RPA technologies to manage several aspects of its core business operations. These range from gathering online CV and personal experience data for assessing new hires to managing company task assignments and employee leave.
Since realising the full potential of its Kofax RPA solutions, the company has deployed almost 20,000 smart software robots to streamline core business processes. This RPA estate is managed by a team of just four people, and all of them perform core personnel tasks more efficiently than was previously possible even with a larger team.
The company’s exploration of RPA represents a huge financial benefit, increasing the return on investment in Kofax technology, and reducing long-term human resources costs.
These combined efficiency gains and cost reductions are possible partly because of the inherent power of RPA technology, but also due to the unique approach Kofax takes to software robot management.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of smart software robots (the core technology behind RPA systems). The first are attended robots, which are deployed and directed from an individual desktop. These often require a virtual machine for support, and are guided by humans in a similar way to how building materials are dictated by an architect. The tasks that attended robots undertake are performed automatically, but the robots still rely on a central authority.
The structure of Kofax solutions makes it much easier to run unattended robots reliably and at scale
The second type are unattended robots. These are usually not controlled by any central authority, but can instead be deployed from anywhere and respond to cues from specific applications, with human intervention possible in the event of anomalies.
Business analysts or IT support manage these robots rather like how a gardener manages plants: introducing them for necessary tasks, and “pruning” them if they encroach on important territory.
Until recently, many companies have primarily used attended robots in their RPA solutions. These robots are efficient, but maintaining a central authority on a virtual machine (VM) places a ceiling on scalability.
In its efforts to increase companies’ automation maturity, Kofax RPA architecture eliminates much of the dependency on VMs for attended robots. This is because Kofax deploys the robots at the server level, which has helped many clients deploy a scalable balance of unattended and attended robots.
The structure of Kofax solutions makes it much easier to run unattended robots reliably and at scale. Because Kofax offers many of its RPA services remotely, companies do not need to operate a centralised desktop to manage their smart software robots.
By removing the need to run virtual machines, as well as using the open nature of unattended smart software robots, Kofax can create significant savings while ensuring its RPA systems scale easily with increased demand.
Leveraging partner networks
As well as mobilising the power of RPA solutions, Kofax is also leveraging its extensive partner network to create innovative technological combinations to serve the needs of its clients.
The integration of voice-command and speech-to-text systems with Kofax RPA solutions to create intuitive interfaces across multiple applications is only one example of this drive to create new solutions.
Other innovation projects include integrating Kofax solutions with chatbot technology with other cloud and artificial intelligence solutions. This has the potential to further improve customer services, and help more customers address their concerns without picking up the phone.
Kofax is also hard at work on groundbreaking security and compliance features for its existing suite of RPA solutions. A world in which digital workers are just as insured and accounted for as human ones is just around the corner, and Kofax is prepared to assist with integration and support.
Whatever a company’s specific needs, Kofax stands ready to help achieve them more smoothly, more efficiently, and more cost-effectively. But regardless of whether you are new to RPA technology or a veteran, the chances are that Kofax RPA has something to offer you.