How RPA Can Help Your Business Escape the Excel Trap

rpa excel

Microsoft Excel has been around since the ’80s, and since it’s introduction, businesses everywhere were discovering the many ways it could be used to interact with data.

It also meant large corporations could wave goodbye to the sprawling mass of paper records and slow data analysis. Instead, a new age of centralizing data storage and faster data analysis was emerging, all thanks to Excel.

But, three decades later, with Excel fully embedded in companies, both large and small, business needs and workflows have changed drastically since the ’80s. Data is the new king, and even though demands have changed, many companies are stuck using Excel the same way since it was first introduced.

Employees will spend hours sorting through spreadsheets and transferring data from one platform to another, all in the name of ‘reporting’ and ensuring its formatting is precise in order to be usable with platforms other than Excel. Often, the period spent on these tasks actually reduces the time dedicated to working on the KPI’s themselves.

There’s a good chance that your business even has data your data scientists haven’t yet looked at, but could be the key to unlocking and driving growth and positively impacting business decisions.

So, if the question is, how to free employees who are trapped manually working on data sets and unable to focus on high-value tasks.

The answer is to implement bots that can automate tasks and perform automatic data migrations.

Defining a Bot

Robot process automation (RPA) creates a virtual workforce of software bots that can mimic employee actions. The result is that RPA’s have been implemented industry-wide in order to learn, interact and automate business processes, such as using Microsoft Excel.

RPA’s really come into their own when performing repetitive, high volume tasks, such as collecting and compiling data from multiple sources, as they make fewer mistakes, and can work 24/7 with minimal supervision. This saves valuable time for other tasks and duties.

The potential for RPA is near limitless and has been used in Financing, Customer Service, Retention, Human Resources, Cybersecurity and many more critical and diverse roles.

Examples of top RPA companies include Kryon and UiPath.

How To Leverage RPA In Your Workplace

Implementing RPA into a business is no small feat, especially when you’ll face challenges from multiple departments. And not just technical difficulties. You’ll need to overcome the human fear of being replaced by bots. It’s important to remember that RPA’s are not meant to replace employees but to assist them with tedious, mundane tasks. With the end goal being to create more time for productive, KPI centric assignments to grow the company.

Here are 4 quick-win RPA implementations you should seriously consider.

  1. Automatic Information Migration When organizations merge or implement new systems, your data is required to move between the old and modern infrastructure. An example would be if two IT companies merged, and all their information needs to be consolidated into one place. By using an RPA, the data can be exported seamlessly between one system to the other, all while keeping specific formatting and storage criteria in place.
  2. Automatic Critical System Monitoring Internal systems and company website downtimes can costs your company thousands, if not millions of dollars. High-converting landing pages and critical tracking software must be operating 24/7, for example. Any failures can cause a loss of revenue which will be impossible to claw back. Implementing a bot to monitor all your systems, means instant notification when an error occurs. Bots can perform constant checks on your critical assets and communicate via endless channels. Should an error occur, notifications can be delivered via e-mail, Slack, WhatsApp, even by phone.
  3. Automatically Updating Information Keeping information up to date can be a tedious task, especially when dealing with constant changes and large amounts of data. Whether your updating employee details or product pages, with an RPA you can automate the entire process, and set the RPA to update whenever new information is received. This means you won’t have to bulk upload new information at set times.
  4. Leverage an Automatic Workforce Should a company suffer a cyber attack, or be required to make changes to thousands of accounts at once, it will take time for humans to make the changes. Save time and reduce error rates with the help of bots to automate the process. New compliance laws, for example, may require a manual check of all your customers’ data. You’ll want to utilize a bot to ensure a fast and error-free process.

It’s easy to remain stuck in old-fashioned ways of working, because “that’s how we’ve always done it”.

It’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate your business processes. To outpace your competitors and use software such as Excel to its full potential.