As business aim to implement a seamless omni-channel experience, the scale and complexity of content operations has increased exponentially. More verticals, more customization by category and more customer touch-points leads to content teams facing a bigger challenge than they are used to. Productivity and Profitability takes a hit.
While the sheer scale is overwhelming, eCommerce content creation for brands and marketplace includes quite a few repetitive tasks, often in multiple iterations. This is especially true for product catalogues. To do such tasks requires having massive teams of content creators, often having significant scale ups and scale downs cyclically. This is a challenge for any operations team, as along with the volatility and team management challenges, the monotonous nature of the tasks involved leave employees with low morale, also affecting productivity.
One way business owners can maintain efficiency and ensure Time-to-Market cycles are not affected is Robot Process Automation (or RPA).
What is RPA and Why Should You Consider It?
RPA is an emerging discipline in the field of automation, a major part of the ongoing radical changes dubbed the "Fourth Industrial Revolution". Simply put, RPA is using customized software for tasks that are repetitive, process driven, and devoid of subjective, strategic decision making. To break down the phrase:
- ROBOT – Any program that mimics human actions and tasks
- PROCESS – Sequence of steps to achieve desired results
- AUTOMATION – Tasks executed without human intervention
With the use of RPA, businesses can dramatically reduce costs as virtual workers (or bots) are more efficient and quicker than humans while still being accurate. Just to be clear - The aim of RPA is not to replace human workers. RPA helps to free up your employees to focus on high-skill tasks of the business, which are generally of a strategic nature. It leads to leaner, high-powered teams where the value addition per human worker is much higher.
Benefits of RPA:
- Quick deployment of 2 to 6 months
- Easier governance of internal workflows
- Higher productivity
- Decrease Time-to-Market cycles
- Improved service delivery at reduced Operational expenditure (Op-ex)
- Cost reductions of up to 65%
A success story of RPA - Banking, Finance Services and Insurance (BFSI)
According to various studies, BFSI industries account for the highest adoption rates for RPA. The use of RPA systems in these fields have helped banks improve fraud detection and quickly identify fraudulent charges on a customer’s credit or debit card.
In the fraud division of any bank, you would have hundreds of people going through transactions to see if it is done by the customer. Going through millions of statements required a large workforce. Even with a large workforce, detecting fraudulent transactions was a time-consuming task. RPA for the banking industry has improved accuracy in fraud detection as well as decreased the time taken to identify an anomaly.
RPA applications in eCommerce
For businesses in the e-commerce industry, there are many repetitive tasks when it comes to catalog management. For a website to offer information that a buyer needs, you would need content specialists such as copywriters, image editors, and catalog managers to source information from vendors and other sources to create a product page.
These content specialists source data from multiple locations and aggregate them in a template file defined by the CMS. This process is repeated each day, and each step has a set number of guidelines to follow.
RPA adoption will be seen in e-commerce due to the similar nature of repetitive, high-volume tasks and a shortage of human resources. The sucess of RPA implementations is in choosing the right tasks to automate, and building a tightly-woven workflow of both manual and automated tasks.
We at Iksula have ourselves dabbled in eCommerce RPA. We've created a proprietary catalog quality check tool called Athena to help increase time-to-market cycles for our e-commerce clients. You can read more about it here