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Bots-as-a-Service Creating New Waves

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Bots don’t take away human jobs, but it helps make them easier. Today, bots are used in various industries and for different use cases. Bots-as-a-Service is being used internally for data verification, helping in instant verification and thus helps in zero errors and straight account opening. In the first KYC process, eight- 40 checks were done in nine phases. Today India’s third-largest private bank (Axis bank) has 700 bots running 300 processes every day. Apart from KYC verification and account opening, they also handle instant loans, business services, underwriting, card operations, check clearing, fraud detection, purchases, audits, and invoicing. One of the biggest successes of the bank is the corporate banking business, where loan approval is now 25 percent faster. BaaS is being used internally for data verification, helping in instant verification and thus helps in zero errors and straight account opening. In the first KYC process, eight- 40 checks were done in nine phases.

Intelligent automation is the next big thing in enterprise software automation, and BaaS is a big part of this technological shift. It integrates new-gen technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and business process management (BPM) to automate processes in a manner that’s intelligent, smart, and cost-effective.

Organizations adopt BaaS, deploying software bots to automate business processes and increase efficiency. BaaS providers enable businesses to leverage chatbots in a pay-as-you-go manner without needing to license the bot or train a technical team to manage or maintain it. The BaaS model also lends itself well to smaller ‘bot-driven-microservices’ that can accomplish isolated tasks and be invoked from anywhere.

Raise in Adoption
According to market intelligence firm IDC, 30 percent of large organizations will double the use of intelligent automation in various use-cases by 2027. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to be resilient and Indian enterprises are focusing on becoming intelligent organizations by leveraging the power of data. Enterprises are shifting from a ‘process-driven’ mindset to a ‘data-driven culture.

Management experts believe that intelligent automation is now permeating into industries that are not inherently digital. With a 40-50x decrease in the cost of data sharing and processing and significant leaps in machine learning and deep learning methods, automation is transforming organizations by helping them become more predictive and prescriptive.

RPA Adoption
Robotic process automation has played a big part in the shift towards intelligent automation. Across industries, chief information officers have been using it to do more with less, automating routine and repetitive tasks to generate cost savings. According to a Forrester report, the RPA market alone is expected to reach $ 22 billion by 2025. Of this, the software is expected to touch $ 6 billion. The top RPA providers globally are UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and Work Fusion. Two-thirds (66 percent) of the respondents in a Forrester Consulting survey commissioned by UiPath admits that RPA restructures existing work, enabling employees to have more human interactions, while 60 percent.

Approximation
A bot can either be attended to or unattended. Attended bots require some level of human intervention. They are often used in the front office and unison with human workers. Attended automation is common in call centers, allowing employees to interact with data and better deliver customer services. On the other hand, unattended automation bots do not need human intervention to complete their tasks. These bots can automate the process of taking information from one application and entering it into a second application. Omega Healthcare, a company that provides revenue cycle management and clinical communication services for healthcare clients, has been on a digital transformation journey for the past few years. With the help of new intelligent automation tools, the company has reduced the claim-to-cash duration by 25-30 percent for end-users.

Vijayashree Natarajan, SVP–head of Technology, Omega Healthcare, says that “thanks to the company’s automated platform, robots check claims every seven days. This has helped reduce claim follow-up, thereby improving our days’ sales outstanding (DSO). In addition, the claim resolution time has increased to 70 percent post automation and quicker actions on denials have resulted in reducing late payments and penalties.”

Uber started automating its financial processes in North America a few years ago. After three years, it has more than 100 automation processes in place, saving an estimated $10 million per year, according to a case study by RPA solutions provider UiPath. Automation has ensured that the company’s geographic operations are in sync and senior management can see a snapshot of overall operations. It also helps Uber manage regulatory compliance.

Automated business processes have had a significant impact on Uber’s operations and revenue. In London, for example, Uber Freight was at risk of losing its license to operate as it was scaling quickly and having trouble tracking safety procedures. It took six weeks to build a bot to maintain start-to-finish tracking of all safety measures to satisfy regulators. If Uber had lost its freight license in London, it would have taken a three to four percent hit in its top line.

Ratan Kesh, executive vice president and head of retail operations & service, Axis Bank, says, “Intelligent automation has delivered in a big way for Axis Bank. It has helped us deliver a superior customer experience by facilitating the digitization of existing customer journeys without necessarily changing legacy platforms. It has also helped us build automated controls for seamless regulatory adherence and operational risk management.”

As automation becomes ubiquitous across enterprises, it has, predictably, sparked fears that robots will take jobs away from humans

The Market Opportunity
The Indian markets are largely driven by the increasing demand to automate processes across industries such as banking, financial services & insurance (BFSI), healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. Some of UiPath’s customers in these industries include Jana Small Finance Bank, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Xerox, Shree Cement, Raymond, Godrej, and Max Healthcare. Companies such as UiPath have been riding the digital transformation wave behind compelling enterprises to think of ways to increase productivity and decrease costs. Automation is the fourth irreversible trend in this world after globalization, digitalization, and mobility. One of the biggest boosters for adopting automation is the covid pandemic, with companies making a quick shift to advanced automation technologies.

While the business process management sector has been among the frontrunners in adopting intelligent automation, the need of the hour is scaling up and expanding the use of robots. The segment is experiencing maximum growth, with a sub-focus on BFSI. Solutions like Process Mining and Task Mining tools are being used to derive more and more processes that can be automated. Low-code applications and Citizen Developer Programs are also being applied actively in this segment.

Impact on Jobs
As automation becomes ubiquitous across enterprises, it has, predictably, sparked fears that robots will take jobs away from humans. Experts believe bots do not take away human jobs but make them easier to perform by handling mundane, repetitive tasks, thereby freeing humans to focus on strategic or creative tasks. Like other industries, low-level engineering jobs involve repetitive, time-consuming tasks. When automation is applied, it offers a quick return on companies’ investment and is the most effective enterprise software regarding speed-to-value, freeing up employees for higher-value tasks.

Future Trends
Apart from the shift to BaaS, several trends will shape how automation evolves in the coming years. The first is cloud automation, which refers to business process automation using cloud-native, web-based, RPA+AI software. RPA bots are often provided as a cloud service instead of being maintained by the customers’ in-house teams. They automate repetitive tasks and facilitate communications with end customers without human intervention. These bots rely on natural language processing to understand a user’s intent in a conversation and generate responses based on training data or AI capabilities. Cloud-based automation is also designed for self-service, with intuitive drag-and-drop actions and visual flow charts helping non-technical teams automate on their own. Cloud RPA enables users to automate any process via a web-based interface accessed through their browser.

The second trend is expanding the human-bot collaboration, wherein human workers and digital workers (or bots) work together to achieve shared goals. Many new applications for bots require them to work alongside employees as capable members of human-robot teams.

The third trend is process intelligence, which is the automatic and continuous acquisition of process data at scale across any system in an enterprise to identify bottlenecks and improve operational efficiency. Using AI and computer vision automatically creates a detailed blueprint of digital processes across all applications and departments and across the entire enterprise. It also provides clear and accurate visibility into the current state of organizational processes to improve business process automation, digital transformation, and enterprise optimization.

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