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A Q&A on Using RPA to Speed Up Pandemic Responses

We are living turbulent times, organizations in the US and around the world have been hit hard in an unprecedented way by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business continuity planning has been put to the test in this time of crisis and organizations are looking for technology, strategies, and initiatives that can help them respond fast and accurately to their needs that are constantly changing throughout this pandemic.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the technologies which adoption is being accelerated by both private and public organizations to help maintain business continuity and strengthen their financial resiliency amid the economic downturns. RPA is helping organizations sort through an influx of orders, screening through applicants so the hiring process is faster, or helping the CDC speed up response time for COVID-19 test results and data processing. Be sure to sign up for our upcoming webinar "Using RPA to Solve COVID19 Disruptions in the Healthcare Industry" to learn how hospitals and healthcare organizations are leaning on RPA to ensure patient care continuity and keep pace with critical administrative work.

To highlight some of the key ways public sector organizations are leveraging RPA to respond and adapt to this crisis, we hosted a 'How to Leverage RPA to Speed Up Pandemic Responses' webinar last week, where we had Brett Fraser, JOLT's SVP of Operations, and Michael "Chet" Chambers, Chief Evangelist for UiPath as the expert speakers. The webinar also included a live training session on how to build a COVID19 Info BOT in UiPath in order to provide a robust educational experience.

In the webinar, Brett and Chet took an in-depth look into automation and the use cases for how organizations can use RPA to navigate these turbulent times. During the live Q&A session of the webinar, our attendees asked important questions regarding RPA, its implementation, stability, use cases, compatibility, and more. We went ahead and compiled some of them for our readers.

Q: How stable can RPA bots be when it comes to system changes? 

The person essentially asked whether the automation will be disrupted every time the target applications' user interface (UI) changes through due to a new system upgrade. Chet clarified that since UiPath bots use AI computer vision, the bots will follow the background selectors instead of the onscreen elements and that way companies don't need to worry about remapping their bots to a new interface during their enterprise applications' release sprints. Brett also added that our JOLT Managed Services Program can help detect human related changes to a process workflow such as a password change that can trigger an interruption to the scheduled Bots.

Q: What is the typical implementation time for RPA?

This is one of the most common questions business and IT leaders ask, and as Brett and Chet put it, it varies, there are multiple factors that determine the length of time necessary to deploy a bot, standard, typical expectations are to scope, design, deploy, test, QA, and then manage, however, the level of process complexity is a huge factor, if its a simple basic level of complexity it can take a day or two.

But if it is a mid-level to extremely complex automation, it can range from weeks to months since many variables come into play, it's not only the length of time, it is also important to understand the impact of the automation that your organization is looking to implement.

Q: What base unit do you use to measure the ROI of automation?

The general perception is that the ROI of RPA can only be measured by labor hours saved, which Chet was eager to clarify that is is one of the biggest misconceptions about RPA and one of his favorite questions to answer. He explains how business and IT leaders must think above 1 criterion and instead use 5 criteria to truly measure the ROI of an RPA program.

Efficiency. The number of man-hours saved times the geographic hourly-rate. This is just 20% of the value of your RPA initiative.

Cost avoidance. Where are there costs surrounding a certain process that will go away once that process is automated.

Risk-avoidance. Where did you not pay a fine, automation helps organizations avoid fines and mitigate risks that can be caused by human error.

Compliance and audit. Consistent data gathering and documentation created by automation allows auditors to continuously audit and check every record.

Accuracy. Increase in process accuracy thanks to the bots doing the math and processing data at an accelerated rate.

These 5 criteria are key to truly measuring how an RPA strategy is transforming your business and adding value to it.

Q: What Machine Learning and AI frameworks can RPA work with?

Brett explained that organizations can see RPA as the foundation of their digital transformation and then grow by adding Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) components like Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP), OCR, Advanced Analytics, and so on. so Bots can not only perform what they're programmed to do but also be able to see, think, learn, and act as it evolves towards intelligent automation. 

In addition, we can use deep learning techniques to project and use data science to achieve hyperautomation at an enterprise-wide level.


We encourage you to watch the full webinar and see the multiple RPA use cases for organizations to respond fast and accurately to this pandemic. Check out our RPA and COVID-19: Navigating Turbulent Times with The Help of Automation blog to learn more, and head to our upcoming events page to sign up for more webinars of your interest.


JOLT is a specialized Robotic Process Automation (RPA) services provider, we can help you and your company navigate the nuances of adapting to a new business reality and setting up an digital-first enterprise.

Contact us to talk to a specialist today about your automation questions and goals, book a free consultation here.

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