Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Choosing service provider

There are many different RPA and BPM solutions available in the market today, and in many ways, they are all similar. Robots, or ‘bots’, automate a rules-based process that is both monotonous, repetitive and often mundane, but also essential.

The differentiator is therefore not in the RPA technology being deployed, but the team you are working with. At Hybrid Workforces, we believe that an RPA solution – which we deploy via our zozBots – is only one small ingredient in a much larger solution that revolutionises the way our clients work.

The ability to automate a system is only one component in building the workforce of the future. Human capital should be focused on high-value tasks that cannot be automated by technology. Complex tasks for example, should be handled by people. Customer service, R&D and innovation are also areas where businesses can excel if their people were freed up to spend 90% of their time on them, instead what’s left each week after repetitive administrative tasks are taken care of.

Simply freeing people up is not enough either though. Great, profitable businesses are run on systems and processes. Some of those processes will be automated, or a percentage of them will be automated. But people need to follow processes as well. We are process experts. We don’t only focus on where we can add technology to a business – we focus on the processes and people that an organisation needs to deploy and support to be as productive, efficient and as cost-effective as possible.

If you are only speaking to an RPA provider, you are only covering one small impact area in your business.

We give you a comprehensive insight into your processes. Bot activity can be more closely logged and monitored to enable comprehensive analysis of business processes.

We create a better employee experience. Use the human resource capacity freed up from repetitive work to get more interesting things done

We help you to reduce costs. Cost to automate processes and maintain them are usually lower than those of human resources.

Achieve greater scalability. Solutions to expand or reduce the process capacity to meet variable or seasonal demand are technological rather than HR-based

Improve process compliance. Bots will precisely execute prescribed rules, so mistakes and errors are reduced

Better predict process outcome. Reduce the contribution of human factors in the execution of rules-based processes

Increase speed. Automation can reduce the cycle time and increase the availability of a business process.

Increase process agility. Automation can reduce the cycle time and increase the availability of a business process.

RPA and your Business

No, it is not always necessary to change everything in an organization. Hybrid Workforces has unique architecture that enables us to seamlessly introduce automation into your current systems without making any changes to your existing systems.

This is because our zozBots are designed to work with whatever platforms and software you are already running, through desktops. For example, if you use a Cloud ERP system to capture invoices or shipping logs, our zozBots will have their own unique logins and will use the software in precisely the same way a human would. The process is automated, but without needing to invest in any new platforms or IT infrastructure.

However – which processes are being automated does need to be reviewed. A process epetitive and rules-based.

The implementation time depends on the complexity of process being automated. Low complexity processes can be up and running in as little as two weeks, including Hybrid Workforces deployment.

Higher complexity processes will take more time. We also give the option of phased entations where we can automate larger processes for you in phases so that your organization can start reaping the benefits of automation sooner than later.

The steps that are involved in RPA are:

  • Preparation of project (Identify processes suitable for RPA implementation)
  • Identification of use case and automation potential
  • Development of business cases
  • Preparation of RPA
  • Implementation of RPA

Instead, what is your wider growth strategy? From there, what people and processes are required to achieve your goals? RPA is an excellent way to automate repetitive, rules-based tasks to ensure they are completed faster and in an error-free way. This will make your organization more efficient and productive, but it also frees up people to focus on ther areas of the business.

How these different components work together to achieve overarching revenue and growth goals is the focus of Hybrid Workforces. Implementing RPA is just one component of that.

There are many different metrics used to measure RPA success and return on investment (ROI). For example, keystroke reduction is a metric that can be most impacted by RPA.This could ultimately lead to touchless processing as an outcome as well.

In our experience however, determining RPA success primarily relates to these four major levers in business:

  • Cost reduction
  • Revenue impact
  • Compliance
  • Experience enhancement (for both employees and customers)

First, let’s look at the difference between Business Process Management (BPM) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

Business Process Management (BPM) streamlines underlying processes to maximize value and efficiency of the overall process.

With a BPM solution, software solutions automate workflows to improve process outcomes and efficiency.

With a BPM solution, software solutions automate workflows to improve process outcomes and efficiency.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) reduces cost and effort by contracting out the process to another party.

The bonus of BPO is that offshore vendors offer dramatic cost savings and expanded service availability by taking advantage of lower labor costs and different time zones.

However, BPO poses management challenges and security/privacy risks; Loss of process control causes unforeseen costs to emerge; and human factors that negatively affect process outcomes are not addressed: bored, frustrated people continue to make the same mistakes.

While either solution can deliver positive business outcomes if implemented and managed judiciously, technology that can automate routine, repetitive work in a lightweight,easy-to-maintain way can address the challenges posed by both BPM and BPO.

That technology is Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

BPM and RPA have key differences that make them a complementary pair of tools for automating business processes:

  • BPM is best suited for processes that are IT-owned and operated: e.g. systems of record
  • RPA is best suited for processes that are business owned and operated: e.g. generating invoices

At Hybrid Workforces, we are not interested in simply adding RPA to everything. Our goal is to build a more efficient, productive, cost-effective and higher revenue-generating business,and that means matching the right solutions to each process or system in the business.

What to Automate

No. One of the biggest mistakes that organisations make when it comes to RPA and automation in general is adding automation to complex processes that do not suit RPA.

RPA is designed to automate repetitive, rule-based processes and flag exceptions for human interventions.

Try not to fall into the trap of making an intuitive decision of which processes should be automated. Instead, conduct an objective analysis. A good framework to help you determine if RPA suits a process is the following:
Suitability: Can a degree of automation be achieved for a particular process? Are there system constraints and requirements? What is the volume of transactions that goes through the system? High volume transactions that are repetitive and rules-based are particularly well suited to RPA for example. Low-volume, complex transactions are better suited to humans.

Value: Will there be a financial and strategic value gained through automation of the process? For example, if it’s a labour intensive and repetitive process, there will be a cost benefit – zozBots will perform the process faster with no errors, and humans can be freed up for more high-value work.

Risk: What is the degree of risk involved in automating the process? Regulatory requirements, customer experience and system stability should all be appropriately considered.

The best candidates for RPA are data intensive, repetitive rules-based procedures. Robots can operate 24/7. Hence, processes with continuous volume would benefit the most from automation.

The best processes to automate include:

  • Processes that are manual and repetitive. Processes that involve a high degree of manual input, structured and repetitive input or activities that are susceptible to human error.
  • Rules based. Activities with clear processing instructions (template driven), with • decision making based on standardised and predictive rules.
  • Low exception rate. Activities with a low rate of variable outcomes that would • otherwise require complex human exception handling.
  • Readable inputs. Processes requiring readable input types, including text based data, user interface (UI) activities (keyboard strokes, mouse clicks, etc.), Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and green screen. Processes can operate within any application or environment, such as desktop, Citrix, web, server, etc.
  • High volume/ high frequency. High transaction volume processes (including batch processes), such as those that run end of day and end of month. High frequency processes, such as those that run intr-daily, daily, and weekly.
  • Mature and stable. Processes that are stable, documented and predictable within the business, with operational costs that are consistent and well-defined.
  • Measurable savings. Our recommendation is to commence automation with processes that can be evaluated against a known cost/ time base. The cost savings or benefit gained can typically be expressed in terms of greater accuracy, faster response times, reduced staffing costs and higher productivity from reallocated staff.

Customers new to RPA are excited about the road to automation but may be unclear about ‘blind spots’ and ‘what to expect at the next turn’ when at the beginning of their automation journey. RPA isn’t the only question on their minds. Customers also asked me about AI, ML, and wanted to understand how, specifically, we can solve their business needs.

At Hybrid Workforces, we look for overall transformation opportunities in an organization. We’re interested in determining the individual process components of digital transformation opportunities. In some cases RPA is the answer. In others, it isn’t. It depends on the needs of the businesses and the most critical processes that we need to address.

Often, we find that once we have streamlined the process of a repetitive task that is rules-based, adding RPA – or our zozBots – to the process frees up human capital, which can then be deployed to solving and accelerating other transformation areas in the business. In this way, RPA can accelerate transformation, but it’s important to remember that it’s only one small component of a much larger journey.

To effectively accelerate an enterprise-wide digital transformation, organizations should start by identifying and addressing inefficient processes, waste, and clutter.

Once you do this, you can begin to realize the benefits of RPA and AI on processes that fit automation criteria, while also optimizing inefficient processes across the entire organization.

Don’t just assume that you can add RPA to your business and it will be transformed. The key to any successful and sustainable automation journey is knowing which processes to automate.

Companies that start with clear goals and well-defined metrics, combined with effective governance, are better prepared to scale their practice.

This is a common misconception that is completely incorrect. Digital transformation via RPA will create new job titles, free up capacity, and give employees the opportunity to do more meaningful work.

A human resources strategy is a critical element in any digital transformation initiative, not because you will be losing employees, but because automation is only one small piece of the overall transformation.

New processes will be developed and refined, and people will be able to focus more on customer service, R&D and innovation. This requires a change management programme, training and reskilling, all of which rely on the support and involvement of your HR department.

Remember that even though your RPA initiative shouldn’t replace jobs, employees will still feel anxiety around how robots will affect their own positions. It will be a difficult conversation with an employee when their tasks get automated so that ‘they could do something more meaningful’ if your organization hasn’t really thought through what that meaningful work may look like. What each employee will be doing once they have more time available is a critical component of your overall transformation strategy.

Security Risks

Yes, your data is 100% safe and secure and only your chosen people from within your own organization will have access to it.

We do understand that IT teams are concerned about both security and governance, and so this is a natural concern.

RPA is designed to operate software as a human would, so all of the same security measures would apply. That said, our advice is always to follow these three guidelines:

  • your workforce around security awareness, password protections and how to recognise malware attacks.
  • Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Set strict permissions for the Cloud and who can access data

Only approved partners subject to the same security protocols would have access to your data. The zozBots reading your data would not be able to share it locally, because all of your security measures would be in place.

Your data is in an encrypted format when it is stored in databases, as well as during transit between the server and your machine. We undertake multiple security audits and reviews to ensure this.

1. The most prominent security factor is segregating access to data, based on assigning different roles in an RPA team. Each member’s activities are constrained by the assigned role, which keeps fraudulent activity under control. For example, no change can pass into the live environment before attaining the necessary approvals, as required by established protocols. All users, processes or persons must utilise login credentials in order to access the environment (known as a credential vault). This means that only specific authorized users may reach sensitive data in the system.

2. Active directory integration is used to assign roles by centralizing team credentials for management. It provides a control center for login credentials. Tracking the activities performed by robotic processes allows better and more direct control over potentially troublesome actions on third-party platforms. An important consequence is the configuration and enforcement of the division of labour within the team. An RPA environment is strictly customized via active directory integration, thereby increasing business efficiency. This clarifies why enhanced security levels of RPA map onto the enhanced efficiency of automation, another of its key benefits.

3. Encryption complements active directory integration as a means towards security of data use. If role-based access reduces internal security risks, encryption deals with protection of the company from external malicious attacks. High-level encryption protocols protect the management details of the credential vault.

4. Other factors that contribute to enhancing RPA security are: working on scheduled tasks, having a clear desk policy, and ensuring protection against malware and Trojans.

Yes. Once you minimize RPA security risks by implementing role-based access or encryption, robotic process automation will render business operations less hazardous overall.

Overall, RPA actually lowers security-related efforts associated with training employees and teaching them security practices (such as password management, applications of privacy settings etc) because it ensures a zero-touch environment. By eliminating manual work, automation minimizes security risks at a macro level.

Besides security risks, the zero-touch environment of RPA also helps mitigate other human-related risks in business operations. An automated environment is free from biases, prejudices or variability, all of which can impact human work with the risk of error. Because of this, RPA ensures less risky and consistent work with trustworthy data.

The lack of randomness and variability in automation further guarantees increased uniform compliance with the company’s requirements, which are built into the RPA platform.

On the other hand, flexibility and intrinsic adaptation to change of RPA platforms ensure scalability of the automated processes, or their capacity to adapt to change and increasing complexity. RPA is thus better able to deal with the risks inherent in the dynamic world of business.

In the context of robotic process automation (RPA), ‘hardening’ refers to ensuring that an automated process is secure. There are multiple methods available for process hardening in order to prevent security risks, such as strengthening passwords, installing firewalls, ensuring protection against malware and Trojans, using encryption, etc. Encryption, for instance, deals with protection of the company from external malicious attacks. High level encryption protocols protect the management details of the credential vault.

It is worth to remember that robotic process automation will render business operations less hazardous overall. RPA actually lowers security-related efforts associated with training employees and teaching them security practices (e.g. password management, applications of privacy settings) because it ensures a zero-touch environment. By eliminating manual work, automation minimizes security risks at a macro level.

For the sake of security, RPA should be wisely implemented. ‘Wise implementation’ basically amounts to a choice of a stable RPA product or provider, backed by proper, constant monitoring of security measures. Providing role-based access to confidential data and data encryption are the most salient means to deal with security risks.

Quality Control

At Hybrid Workforces, our RPA solution creates a multi-thread, digital process queue for documents and processing. For example, invoices received are digitized with the help of algorithms and validated with business rules for accuracy, consistency, timeliness, and accessibility.

The beauty of RPA is that while rules-based processes can be followed by zozBots, exceptions to the rule are flagged for human intervention because of data ingestion that is automated for exception handling reports and dashboards.

This keeps humans in the loop while also ensuring that people deal with complex tasks that require human interventions.

zozBots are designed to learn as they go along, improving the algorithm for each and every supplier that an organization works with. As the zozBots are provided with more business rules and engineers get a better understanding of how the automated system works, the process gets faster and more efficient, thanks to a continuous learning loop between the customer, the engineering team and Hybrid Workforces’ zozBots.

This ultimately means that manual checks and balances become unnecessary. As long as the rules are in place and the process is followed, the zozBots will flag any exceptions to the rule.

If anything, errors – which tend to be the result of human errors due to repetitive, monotonous tasks – will be eradicated if the correct processes have been automated.

Finally, a trend analysis is possible based on historical data, which ensures that the system is operating to scope.