It's time to put your entrepreneur hat on and imagine that you're embarking on a new adventure and starting your own dream company. It's a dream come true, but what would it look like? Luckily all good companies begin in a garage (nod to our CEO Alex Gambotto), so you don't have to worry about office space. Unfortunately, there's not much room in there for people… hmmm… what are the options? What are the roles that you need from day one, and what roles could be filled by software bots? This is where Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can help.

(First, you would need to create the product, but that's ok, we'll assume you've already got that covered!)

So you've got an awesome product, now prospects are on your website interested in learning more but couldn't find a way to get in touch and request a quote. What if we could train a bot to understand an online request and provide an initial price by integrating it with a pricing spreadsheet to create a quote and send it to the prospect within minutes!

Another early focus would be to keep costs down until you make a profit, so you must have someone reviewing the business's costs and profits to make sure you're on track. As in, looking at bank statements to see what is a business expense… or looking at what has been sold to make sure you've been paid. That sounds like data comparison to me and the perfect kind of task to automate.

Looking further into the finance team, what do the accounts payable team do all day? Open an email, open an attachment, extract details from that attachment and then hit CTRL-C, CTRL-V into some finance application. Hey, I realise there's more to this in terms of analysis and planning, etc. What if that could be handled by a consultant who performs the business analysis and creates strategies to help us grow instead of hating how much copy-paste they were doing?

What about when things go wrong… we've all been on a call with our insurance company or bank where we have to repeat our details to every division that tries to fix our problem. But what if I told you that there is a bot that could ensure your customers never have to experience this frustration? Imagine a bot that could retrieve all your customer details and correlate them to the purchase history, so as soon as you got on the phone, you had all the information you need.

Congratulations, your business is growing, and your customers are happy! Now it's time to think about how you will manage all this stock. You need a bot that can operate like a slightly more intelligent version of those smart fridges, but instead of just looking after house stock, it can also look at stock levels you have, consider future orders, review previous orders, identify that growth and make a decision based on seasonality, future order fulfilment and replacement of average faulty goods.

So I guess I wonder, could there be a business without workers? I gotta tell you; I have no desire to work in a place like that…I am a people-person, or what some people call a 'distraction'. I couldn't imagine not having a bit of chat around a coffee machine or Friday afternoon drinks with the office. Still, there are elements of having bots around the office that are really compelling for a business.

They say when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and that can be problematic obviously, not every process is fit for automation. But automating mundane, high volume repeatable business processes means that I can now make better business decisions. RPA has helped me to increase efficiencies, decrease errors, focus on brand growth and product improvements, create reports faster, manage stock levels, and most importantly, handle all that copy and pasting that saps the life out of my very existence. I can now focus on more meaningful tasks and things I actually enjoy. 


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Jeremy Keast