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January 3, 2021

Banishing Busywork: Recruit the Robots

Summary:

Bots help combat productivity drains that deplete resources and allow employees to focus their time on higher-priority tasks.

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Robots, biometrics and smart devices. If you had told me 10 years ago I’d not only have access to these innovative technologies but would use them daily, I’m not sure I would have believed you. Yet here I am, using facial recognition to unlock my phone, log into apps and access my bank accounts. And at Hyland, I am working with insurance organizations to understand, strategize and implement disruptive technologies, including robotic process automation (RPA), which works hand in glove with a content services platform. Much like a smart phone provides a variety of tools and capabilities to streamline our day-to-day lives, a content services platform and RPA can help insurance organizations improve their operations, drive efficiencies and meet their digital transformation goals — all of which helps them thrive in an evolving business climate. 

The insurance industry has often been perceived as being slow adopters of technology, often relying on old processes and systems because they worked, even if inefficiently. What can we say…we’re risk-averse. Then, the insurtech era came along and presented us with different and more efficient ways of doing things. Keeping pace with all the new technologies can be stressful, but these technologies are impossible to ignore. As such, RPA has become a technology of interest because of the massive productivity and customer service benefits it offers.

In key business processes, getting all the necessary information and consolidating it often takes more time than deciding whether to issue the policy or pay the claim. RPA can do the gathering and consolidating without human intervention. 

A human might grow tired of doing the same task of collecting and consolidating data again and again…that’s when things can be missed, and mistakes can be made. A bot doesn’t get tired. And, while the RPA bots handle more tedious, manual tasks, your staff is freed to focus on more creative work that drives customer satisfaction. 

See also: Keys to ‘Intelligent Automation’

Setting an effective RPA strategy starts with structure

A successful RPA automation project relies on a vetted and structured format. To achieve this, organizations need to have control over the information feeding the RPA solution. Many insurers have implemented content services platforms as their information hubs, connecting all content within line-of-business systems and ensuring accurate, up-to-date content that RPA solutions rely on. Once fully connected, RPA and the content services platform provide a comprehensive suite to achieve intelligent automation.

To identify which internal processes, tasks and actions are the best candidates for automation via RPA, I recommend looking for those with the following qualities: 

  • Standardization: Look for tasks that have a defined sequence and don’t have too much variance. Ideally, the work won’t change any time soon. 
  • Structured data: The information and data that feeds the task should be relatively structured – or organized in a fairly predictable way so that it is easily classified. 
  • Rule-based: The task or action should be built on a series of well-defined, objective rules. That means it would not require human interpretation to make a decision. 
  • High-volume: The chosen tasks and actions should represent a substantial amount of staff time. Manually transferring data from one source to another is typically a good target. 
  • Digital data: A task or action that already involves and relies on digital data is best suited for automation. If the task still relies on physical and handwritten documents, optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning can be implemented to convert them to digital formats. 

Implementation: Finding the right solution…and provider

How can insurers select a solution, and provider, that best fits their unique requirements? Look for an RPA solution that is scalable and configurable to ensure it meets your needs today and into the future. Selecting a solution that complements an existing content services platform or a vendor that can provide both creates an end-to-end, RPA-enhanced automation strategy — one that is designed to empower your organization to automate, optimize and transform tasks, actions and processes. Look for an RPA solution that helps your organization: 

  • Analyze: Look for platforms that quickly, accurately and intuitively analyze tasks and processes down to the click level and automatically document process steps. 
  • Build: The RPA solution should leverage a low-code toolset to allow you to quickly and easily create automation opportunities. 
  • Run: Efficiency is key here – the solution should efficiently run unattended or attended automations, ensuring maximum bot utilization and scalability.
  • Manage: The best RPA applications manage and orchestrate bots with ease, using real-time dashboards for live monitoring and intuitive management. 

When investing in any new technology, it’s also important to have a clear understanding of the total cost of ownership (TCO), which includes both the direct and indirect costs associated with the purchase. Be sure to calculate any additional fees for integrations, consulting, maintenance, training and other costs. 

See also: The Future of Work: Collaborative Robots

Farewell wasted time

The current global health situation has led many insurers to accelerate their digital transformation strategies and new technology. RPA provides a great opportunity to enhance intelligent automation capabilities and further business process automation strategies. Insurers that leverage a digital workforce to complement their human employees provide employees with additional ways to excel at the work they do best, while delivering increased value for the organization.

In today’s data-driven world, bots help combat productivity drains that deplete resources and allow employees to focus their time on higher-priority tasks that build more meaningful connections with the customers they serve.

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About the Author

Jeff Hiegert is industry product manager at Hyland. He brings more than 25 years of experience in the insurance and content management software industry to Hyland.

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