Robotic Process Automation in Learning Operations

Deloitte in its report on Human Capital Trends, states that the influx of AI, robotics and automation has dramatically increased in the last one year. These technological advancements have allowed businesses to become smarter and more efficient. One such example is of the use of Robotic Process Automation.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the adoption of technology to automate operational business processes. RPA uses a spectrum of artificial intelligence tools like bots, to reduce manual involvement in repetitive and standard administrative tasks. This in turn, helps in minimizing errors and improving output.

More and more organizations are beginning to leverage RPA to manage intense administrative tasks. 67% of companies in Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing survey 2018 cite improving performance as well as speed and time to market as the primary factors for adopting RPA. In fact, Gartner in its report on RPA notes that 30%-40% of existing business processes are likely to be impacted by RPA.

Robotic Process Automation in Learning Administration

Given the multiple advantages of automation, RPA is now being implemented across industries and business functions. In the realm of learning, L&D functions are increasingly looking at RPA to help optimize learning operations. As an example, in some companies RPA is being used in Learning Administration to automate processes like data entry and course scheduling to reduce time and errors. Consequently, training administrators are able to focus on tasks which benefit the overall learning value chain. A win-win situation.

However, automation has minimal impact in certain aspects. For example, in classroom training, administration tasks around facilitation require meet and greet coordination. While automation can be used in administrative tasks, human intervention is necessary to facilitate coordination. 

Another example is virtual training, which requires tasks like virtual hosting support, facilitation of virtual sessions/Q&A / and technical support during the session. These tasks require constant manual support that cannot be automated easily. 

How to Get Started?

To implement RPA in your organization, you must take into account that not all processes can be automated. The first step then is to identify processes in the system which are consistent and predictable, and can benefit from automation. In a situation where the input isn’t consistent, it is important to record all possible permutations and combinations.

Different kinds of automation can be used in different scenarios. For example, in case you have a small process team, you can begin automation by using simple tools like iMacros. These tools are mostly free but would help you improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your existing processes.

In case of large teams, there are many other advanced tools in the market (UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism etc.) which are leaders in the RPA domain. They are all effective and affordable when you have large teams and even a small step in automation can help reduce or reallocate substantial headcount.