Crafting Retail Experiences for the New Normal with RPA

By March 2020, as the world began to experience the impact of the pandemic, the retail industry took a disproportionately big hit. An IDC report projected that COVID-19 has halved the growth estimates for 20201.

Amidst the chaos, one clear trend emerged: The increased role of technology in driving growth in the retail industry.

One of the key technologies that enabled this rapid transition was Robotic Process Automation (RPA). From distributed order management, supply chain automation to HR operations, RPA helped retailers quickly and cost-effectively automate repetitive yet critical tasks in the business.

Today, a year later, with widespread vaccination efforts, brick-and-mortar retail is expected to make a cautious comeback. One of the key focus areas for retailers is to ensure a safe and new in-store experience. Over 85% of retailers believe that in-store experience would be “important to their reopening success.”2

RPA has the potential to play a significant role in that transition too.

Drive omnichannel experience with RPA

Even before the pandemic, market-leading retailers had begun their omnichannel efforts like multi-channel presence, seamless in-store experience, multiple delivery options, etc. Today, even the laggards realize the importance of an omnichannel strategy. In the post-pandemic world, customers demand a seamless and continuous experience across various channels.

For instance, shoppers want to browse and order online and pick it up at the curbside. Or they would like to come to the store to try a product but are willing to wait for it to be delivered home. RPA can enable this and more. You can use bots to:

Intelligent retail storefront

Merchandising has always played an essential role in maximizing sales in a retail store. With restrictions on the number of customers inside a store, social distancing norms, etc., merchandising has grown to play a more significant role. Dynamic display, shuffling products, and optimizing visual merchandising are necessary today.

RPA can help by:

Safe store operations

Trust is an invaluable asset during these stressful times, and customers expect retailers to keep the shoppers and their employees safe. From thermal scanners to no-contact pickup and delivery, retailers already have many physical safety protocols in place. RPA can augment this by:

This is just the beginning of what Robotic Process Automation can do for the retail industry. By combining RPA with analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, retailers can gain significant value from their digital transformation initiatives. This is especially critical to their competitive advantage in the post-COVID era. At EdgeVerve, we have helped retailers worldwide implement purpose-led RPA applications to improve cost and operational efficiency through our automation platform, AssistEdge.

Learn more about the transformation that RPA can bring in retail.



How can Manufacturing Companies Overcome RPA Adoption Challenges?

For decades, the manufacturing sector has used robotics throughout its assembly lines as well as supply chains. However, similar advances have been late to reach backend processes. Even today, manufacturing companies rely on outdated, manual processes to perform functions in accounts management, invoice processing, and compliance, which are tedious, error-prone, inefficient, and unscalable.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can change that, unlocking operational and cost efficiencies at scale. RPA is the process of deploying digital robots (also known as bots) to mimic human behavior. For instance, it is not uncommon for accounts teams to receive invoices in a Microsoft Excel format. Employees then process these invoices manually — typing information from the spreadsheet into the ERP system — before making payments. With RPA, a bot can take care of this speedily, without errors, and at scale.

While the advantages of RPA are plenty, manufacturing organizations also face significant challenges in adoption. In this blog post, we explore such challenges and what manufacturers can do to overcome them.

Lack of widespread digitization

Manufacturing companies still follow paper-based processes for various tasks such as contracts and invoicing, where they might be legally required to maintain a paper trail. There is a misconception that RPA is ineffective in such cases, where organizations don’t have picture-perfect digital processes. As a result, organizations are reluctant to adopt RPA.

This is, in fact, a missed opportunity. RPA can bridge the gap between paper-based processes and digital ones by bringing together computer vision, OCR technology, and bots.

Low technology maturity

Manufacturing organizations that haven’t gone through the phase of digital transformation might feel technologically unprepared for RPA. Without large information technology teams, they might feel ill-equipped to start an automation journey. Should we implement it on-prem or on the cloud? How do we integrate it with our existing systems? These are questions that often stop organizations from embracing RPA wholeheartedly.

In reality, RPA can easily integrate with legacy and modern systems, bridging the gap between the two. That said, RPA is often used to power large-scale digital transformation initiatives and data migration.

Non-standardized processes

Let’s take the example of vendor invoices we saw earlier. Manufacturing companies typically use hundreds, if not thousands, of vendors for raw materials. Each of them might submit their invoices in different formats, styles, frequencies, etc. The accounts teams typically process each manually. Given the amount of time and energy spent in these processes, organizations believe they are too complex to automate.

With RPA, the opposite is true. Firstly, most organizational processes have some standardization, which can be leveraged before automation. Moreover, RPA mimics human behavior — it can perform the same tasks humans perform, despite the input document being in disparate formats. An Intelligent Automation solution can learn with time and become autonomous even while following non-standardized processes.

Evolving compliance standards

The manufacturing industry is subject to several compliance restrictions. In sectors like automobile manufacturing, compliance is also constantly evolving. Each year, rules change, submissions increase. Manufacturers believe that it would be a huge challenge to train bots to adapt to these changes.

However, RPA can play a significant role in making compliance easier. Best RPA tools, such as AssistEdge, are easily updatable, enabling you to retrain bots as and when needed. RPA can help ensure organization-wide consistency of compliance, which is complex with manual processes.

Past failures

Several forward-thinking manufacturing organizations have tried RPA implementations in the past and failed. This could have been because of mismatched expectations, wrong RPA product, inappropriate use cases, sub-optimal infrastructure, and lack of leadership buy-in. Such failed experiments can not only be expensive but can also make companies reluctant to try again.

However, the cost savings and incremental value RPA can deliver for manufacturing companies can recover the loss of a failed implementation many times over.

In the post-COVID era, manufacturing organizations are under mounting pressures to reduce costs and improve efficiency to increase productivity. While the assembly line processes are already tightly optimized, back-office functions present an excellent opportunity to do this. It is here that RPA can play a significant role.

Learn how RPA can transform the manufacturing value chain — from procurement, logistics, supply and demand planning, order processing and service, production planning, to customer service. Read more.

Six Reasons why Insurance Providers need RPA

It is projected that RPA platform revenue from insurance companies is expected to reach $634 million by 2024: a 245% growth in five years.1 This shows the exponential value that robotic process automation (RPA) can deliver for insurance providers.

Insurance, as an industry, like much of financial services, is perfect for implementing RPA because it is already process-driven. Owing to regulatory, compliance, and operational restrictions, insurance providers, have built elaborate and well-defined processes for their every need. However, a significant part of these processes is dependent on legacy systems and performed manually. To compete in the digital age and growing customer needs, insurance providers need technology transformation. The pandemic adds to the pressure to digitize operations, improve efficiencies and optimize costs.

It is here that RPA is adding value — by automating repetitive yet critical processes. Here are the key benefits insurance providers are experiencing with RPA.

Faster processing

Across application review, know your customer (KYC) processing, claims registration, and underwriting, employees spend thousands of person-hours reading documents, updating information across software, verifying and validating data, among others. In the insurance industry, these processes are critical and hence essential to ensure high standards of accuracy. As a result, these processes take inordinate amounts of time.

RPA can accelerate this. Thanks to automation, processes that took days can be completed in minutes. Moreover, software bots can work 24×7, automating a lot more processes on any given day, significantly transforming both employee & customer experience.

Accurate data and document management

The scale of operations of any insurance provider requires them to process vast volumes of data and documents. This presents two specific challenges:

RPA can transform both. Software bots with computer vision capabilities can accurately extract information from customer documents and update applications necessary. You can also automate organizing, processing, copying, and archiving data in a timely and compliant manner with RPA.


Due to the onset of COVID-19, financial services have been under increased regulatory scrutiny and pressure. Being compliant in such a scenario is highly cost and time-intensive. Non-compliance can incur significant penalties too.

RPA can help timely compliance in several ways:

For instance, AssistEdge helped dial down the AHT by 60% and achieved 100% SLA compliance in claim settlements for a Fortune 500 healthcare insurance company.

Modernization of legacy systems

Insurance providers are undertaking large-scale application modernization and digital transformation projects. This transition from one set of systems to the other also requires the transfer of data between them. In many cases, such data might be in incompatible formats, needing conversion.

RPA being a platform-agnostic tool, can connect with both legacy and modern applications, making the transfer of data effortless. Software bots can follow step-by-step processes accurately and efficiently enable large-scale data modernization.

Improved customer experience

Not many insurance providers are known for their customer experience. Despite deploying hundreds of call center executives and thousands of hours replying to requests, the experience of both existing and prospective customers is sub-optimal. Leveraging Robotic Process Automation can help enhance customer service that has a direct impact on customer loyalty & retention, thereby creating better customer experiences.

RPA can significantly accelerate claims processing, including document collection and verification. It can scan applications, identify gaps, if any, and collect missing information. It can also automatically send timely reminders and notifications to clients about the status of their applications.

RPA chatbots can save time for contact center agents by handling repetitive questions, freeing them up to handle complex queries. For example, AssistEdge delivered a 30% reduction in response time on customer emails with the effective automation of email management system for a leading insurance player.

Cost savings and better profitability

RPA can deliver all this and more at much lower costs, despite enterprise scale. The cost of deploying software robots is minimal compared to hiring and training teams to complete the same tasks. For one-time initiatives, like data modernization, for instance, it is much more cost-effective to deploy bots, as they can be scaled up and down based on your needs.

On the other hand, end-to-end RPA implementations reduce the overall time insurers spend through the customer lifecycle — from discovery to onboarding to claims processing and beyond. This helps the insurance companies scale their operations faster, improving both the topline and bottom line.

Whichever application you automate with RPA, we know that the business impact is measurable and tangible. By deploying RPA strategically, insurers can gain cost savings, operational efficiencies and expand market reach. That’s just the beginning. With the strategic application of RPA, insurance providers can leverage digital opportunities, pursue new businesses, and build a competitive advantage in the post-pandemic world.

Learn more about how RPA can transform your insurance organization.


Leveraging RPA for the Telecom Industry

In 2020, internet usage increased by 70%, online communication by 10x, and online streaming by more than 50%1. Yet, “during the pandemic, telcos have created less value for shareholders than every sector but one, financial services.”2

Despite forming the foundation of most communications during the pandemic — when nearly every business and government was forced to work remotely — telecommunications as an industry is not showing corresponding growth.

To overcome this, telcos need to address their critical challenges:

Unreliable network: With the entire world going digital, pressures on the network have also grown. And network resilience has come to be a significant differentiator among telecom operators.

Cybersecurity concerns: The sudden shift towards digital-everything has worsened cyberthreats, forcing telecom providers to invest in security measures to build long-term trust and loyalty across customer segments.

Process inefficiencies: Delays in onboarding a customer, resolving issues, clarifying billing queries, etc., are having a pronounced impact on customer experience and loyalty.

Weak customer engagement systems: Without personalized communications based on customer needs and concerns, cross-sell/up-sell opportunities are lost.

However, the rapid digital transformation due to the pandemic has opened significant opportunities for the telecom sector, both with enterprise customers and end-consumers. With improvements in operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness, customer experience, and cybersecurity, telcos can turn their businesses around quickly.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can play a significant role by accelerating the business transformation required to leverage these opportunities.

What exactly is RPA?

Robotic process automation refers to deploying bots (software robots) to emulate user behavior, thereby automating repetitive and rule-based tasks. Telecom as an industry offers multiple opportunities across internal and external processes for automation, resulting in measurable business outcomes. Some of these opportunities are as follows.

RPA in Telecom: Key Areas of Impact

Making the network resilient

Telecom providers have an SLA of hours, if not days, to resolve outage issues. This is because much of the root-cause analysis, diagnosis, and solutioning are performed manually by network experts, which is time-consuming and significantly increases the FTE needed on rolls for maintenance.

RPA can improve network resilience by:

Strengthening cybersecurity

Enterprises do this by regularly sending emails to users, conducting seminars, running internal tests, etc. However, threats still enter the system as an unsuspecting user clicks on a harmless-looking link.

RPA can prevent this and strengthen cybersecurity posture by:

Optimizing process efficiency

Telecom operators handle millions of operations and many million megabytes of data every day. This scale often causes delays, expenses, and customer dissatisfaction. RPA can help optimize these processes by:

Improving customer experience

A large customer base and growing usage of digital products automatically mean that the number of calls coming to the contact center is also likely to go up. Without automation, this might result in long wait times and disgruntled customers. RPA can help telecom providers overcome this with:

Leveraging the power of automation can undoubtedly help improve a vast number of inefficient and unproductive processes, across various functions within the telecom industry.

Read more on how RPA can transform the telecom industry.

RPA in Banking: Top Four Areas to Begin Your Automation Journey

RPA or Robotic Process Automation refers to leveraging bots to mimic user behavior to automate repetitive and rule-based processes. Banks, which use multiple large legacy systems, leverage RPA to automate everyday functions, improving speed, reducing errors, and freeing employees to perform value-added tasks. One of the key reasons for inefficiencies in banking is that processes are performed manually and are time-consuming. From customer onboarding to performing complex document verifications, banks are limited by their staff’s time availability and accuracy.

According to Gartner, around 80% of finance leaders have implemented or are planning to implement RPA.1

Even as banks are tightening their spending, RPA is growing and with good reason. The efficiency, productivity, cost savings, and revenue growth that RPA brings to banks is immense. Let’s look at the four top potential automation use cases and examples in banking.

Top Four Use Cases for RPA in Banking

Transaction management and ledger processing

Ledgers are at the heart of banking systems — recording revenue, assets, liabilities, expenses, and other transactions daily. This can add up to thousands of entries, if not tens of thousands. Yet, today, these processes remain semi-automatic with several mandatory manual interventions, resulting in organizational efficiencies, or worse, persistent inaccuracies. RPA can change that.

Some of the use cases within ledger processes that can deliver significant outcomes for banks are:

Loan processing and disbursement

Traditional loan management function involves a wide range of tasks from processing applications, collecting and verifying documents, and performing creditworthiness checks. These tasks can be automated, including:

With AssistEdge, a large Chinese bank saw a 97% reduction in loan processing time across 5 applications and 27 screens. Hence, automation in loan processing has the power to have a direct impact on a bank’s top-line growth.

KYC verification and compliance

Know Your Customer (KYC) is one of the strictest compliance demands in the financial services industry. A rule-based process, using RPA bots can help improve customer experience, significantly lowering the time to complete manual tasks and reduce costs.

RPA can help expedite KYC and improve accuracy by:

Customer engagement

RPA can automate a vast majority of customer interaction, saving costs and enabling super-fast resolution for customers. Some ways in which banks can achieve this are:

For instance, AssistEdge helped a large Sri Lankan bank automate manual processes, creating a 40% reduction in average call hold time.

In this blog, we have handpicked the top use cases in banking that deliver significant ROI within a short period. However, these are just the beginning. Banks and financial institutions run on legacy systems, involve significant paperwork, process millions of transactions, serve billions of customers, all while being susceptible to severe risks of fraud/malicious activities. RPA can help handle this complexity, at scale, at much lower costs.

Read more on how RPA can improve efficiencies, save costs and optimize resources in the banking industry.