We have the opportunity to talk with a lot of BPOs about Robotic Process Automation (RPA).  The initial conversation is almost always about the technology itself but quickly shifts to the benefits and impact RPA can have on cost structure and ability to provide true client innovation.  By the end of the first meeting we almost always find ourselves helping the BPO team decide what comes next.

Fortunately, while re-reading the HfS Research report, Framing a Constitution for Robotistan, by Charles Sutherland, SVP of BPO Strategies, I came across two important sections that provide helpful guidance to outsourcers ready to introduce RPA into their organization.  (Reading the full report is highly recommended for any outsourcing executive tasked with exploring this compelling technology, but fast-forwarding to these two topics is a great place to start for those pressed for time.)

In this post we explore the first of these categories: Applicability to Horizontal Processes.  (For the other topic see our review in Ten Success Principles of Robotic Process Automation for BPOs).

Even before diving in to the matter of selecting processes to automate, Charles makes the following important point.  “We think there is great value for all market participants in taking a step back and looking at the opportunity with a wider lens aimed at the entire scope of the horizontal business processes where robotic automation could be be applied today.”  He stresses that too many early adopters are self-selecting initial pilots based on very tactical criteria and possibly missing smarter, more valuable introductions of the technology into their organization.

Wondering where to aim that wider lens?  Charles and the HfS team recommend organizations look at these six horizontal processes because of their high potential alignment with qualifying criteria for Robotic Process Automation.  Those horizontal process areas are:

  1. Human Resources
  2. Finance and Accounting
  3. Procurement
  4. Supply Chain
  5. Customer Experience Management
  6. Legal Services

Beyond simply identify these six functional areas as promising opportunities for RPA, HfS goes on to suggest key sub-processes for each area based on their evaluation of robotic automation software and those outsourcers already putting it to work.

Here’s a summary table of the candidate sub-processes they identify.

Process Table

We invite you to continue your research by clicking through to the next article in our series on Getting Started With Robotic Process Automation: Ten Success Principles of Robotic Process Automation for BPOs.