Is the BPO industry moving towards extinction with the advent of RPA?

To answer this and to understand this more deeply we will have to first get the whole picture clear regarding RPA (Robotic Process Automation). The first time anyone person who is not from the IT field, pictures a robot with two hands, two legs and walking on a wheel, almost resembling a living man. But robotics is beyond all those robots which we have long been seeing in the movies or have imagined. RPA is basically the application of automation through software based machines and generally applied where large amount of repetitive tasks is involved. The implementation of RPA can already be seen in some of the mature BPO centres in India with full swing. Therefore, application of robotic processes is now not only confined to bulky manufacturing processes, they are equally relevant in software industries. It has the capability to totally replace human beings wherein repetitive, frequent and rules-based tasks are required.

There is no scope of debate that is whether it would appurtenant in the BPO centres in India when a robot would cost just one-third of what an employee working in the BPO will cost. Now these mass hiring companies will have to rise to the occasion and will have think twice about their whole working and the capacity of opportunities which RPA stores in. Talking about the current scenario many of the top level banks trust on RPA processes wholeheartedly for their complex responsibilities like Loan application opening, reducing bad debt or Fraudulent account closure. As with the help of RPA, the human labor is cut down to a large amount.

So no ifs and or buts in the manifest benefits that Robotic Process Automation holds, so let’s go through some of them-

  1. Cost savings would be the foremost –It is needless to mention the how economical is the application of RPA, it reduces the cost to a big percentage than before. One can expect a reduction of around 40-75 percent in the costs and it starts showing profits at a very nascent stage or you can say in the very initial months.
  2. The more devoted nature of the digital labor-The long stretch of hours which digital labor of RPA promises makes it more reliable and preferred over human labor which will demand for breaks, leaves etc.
  3. High scalability of RPA makes it more asked for- The RPA can be easily scaled up or down as suited to the business requirements. This estate of RPA makes it possible for RPA to stand out and best in business to meet the variations that may arise in any kind of business whether it is a BPO or any other software industry.
  4. No as such training required with RPA –Also the time which was being consumed in the training processes before is now totally been sliced off after the utilization of RPA. Generally, the RPA tool needs to be trained once and after that it works on its own and within the defined rules. With this so much of the time is saved and is put to use in planning for the business development. Not only this the level of versatility it bequeaths is boundless with as minimum training as possible.
  5. Human labor could not match up with the accuracy of RPA –Human labor is prone to errands and it cannot be eliminated even if an employee is 100 percent efficient, then also there would be a slight possibility of human error to take place. But with RPA the results are so accurate and unquestionable.
  6. RPA gives the benefit to be compliant with the company procedures – While working with the outsourcing companies, sometimes companies had to compromise with their set of procedures or approach. As those outsourcing companies sometimes only focused on the results irrespective of whatever may be the procedure. But with RPA, company can work within the limits of their procedures or beliefs.

So after enlisting the benefits of RPA over human labor, will the time come when it will completely replace the human labor. Although, RPA inherits plethora of advantages but it still lacks behind ingenuity of the human mind. RPA is brilliant at deciphering repetitive tasks or functions but when it comes to some crucial tasks or decision making it sets back. Though RPA talks are all around in the air but it is difficult to predict that till what time it will remain relevant.

In a country like India, where a big chunk of the population depends on the BPO centres in India for the employment, RPA will affect the most. And it is for sure that RPA cannot ever totally replace human beings and their intervention will always remain significant. Also one more limitation here is that currently very few vendors are available who excel in the RPA technology, hence, companies very limited options to do business with.

There is one more problem which comes in the way of smooth implementation of RPA is the tiresome and critical transition phase to integrate RPA and which would affect the current working roles as well as the working locations.

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