Robotic Process Automation For Small Businesses

Ready to discover the power of robotic process automation for your small business? Read on to learn how RPA can cut costs, boost efficiency, and give you a competitive advantage.

Robotic process automation is not only for large enterprises. Small businesses can equally profit from its many benefits by taking the right steps.

From completing repetitive tasks to handling laborious or time-consuming processes, there is no limit to what RPA can do for an organization. As a bonus, it also makes way for employees to engage in more productive work.
The robotic process automation market was valued at $2.3 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a 39% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) to $30+ billion by 2030. This post shows you how RPA can be of help to your business.

How Does RPA Work?

RPA or robotic process automation is a software-based approach that enables an individual or organization to complete high-volume and often mundane tasks using a combination of computer vision, machine learning, and other automation technologies.

The human user first needs to install the robot on a computer and then show it how to perform specific tasks. The robot is then able to replay the user’s moves once a specified event is triggered. Such events can be the receipt of an email, the press of a button, and so on. The specific tasks can range from transferring files to data entry, starting an application, browsing the web, and so on.

In other words, RPA systems are virtual robots that can complete various tasks usually completed by humans, and which require multiple steps or applications. They can do these by following rules-based actions and without human intervention.

The Benefits of RPA

RPA brings a competitive advantage to small businesses because it offers benefits that are otherwise only available to large corporations with huge budgets. The major benefits are as follows.

  • Productivity Boost: Robots work tirelessly round the clock without taking breaks or getting tired. They can further perform most tasks faster than any human can and this means that a single robot can do the job of many people in a fraction of the time, leading to more outputs overall from the business.
  • Enhanced Accuracy: Error Reduction is another good reason for implementing robotic process automation because robots do not make mistakes as humans do. The result is a higher quality of output from the business.
  • Cost Savings: A good RPA software will save your company money by bringing down the cost of completing repetitive tasks below human workers’ levels. By automating as many repetitive processes as possible, you can even remove the need for additional staff, by boosting your output. In the end, the company makes more profits by paying less for equal or more work.
  • Enhanced Compliance: Work processes that involve compliance with multiple regulations, protocols, or laws, will achieve better results with robotic process automation.
  • Easier Scalability: Once a process has been automated, scaling it becomes easier and more cost-efficient. The trick is to first identify and map out processes in your organization that can be quickly automated.
  • Better Analytics: Robots keep better records than humans, so it’s easier to see how they’ve been working over any given time frame.
  • Enhanced Customer Service: Robotic process automation can help to solve customer service problems promptly and effectively, thereby improving customer loyalty and reducing churn.

Types of Companies That Can Benefit From RPA

Nearly every type and size of business can benefit from robotic process automation. Small- and medium-sized businesses in finance, accounting, real estate, medical services, retail, telecommunications, manufacturing, and many more can all benefit from automating their operations.

The single requirement here is that the business has repetitive tasks that are easily identifiable and accessible to automation. Furthermore, having more of such repetitive tasks, makes the business better suited to RPA.

There are so many processes in an organization that can be automated using RPA. This fact is evident from the various organizations that have already achieved some level of process automation. They can be broken down into different departments or sectors as follows.

  1. Data Entry: One of the best benefits of RPA with data entry is data validation, which includes several rules that make it impossible to enter wrong information in critical cases.
  2. Calculations: Many tasks require calculations from simple package weights to more complex processes like profit and loss calculations, invoice calculations, benefits processing, and so on. RPA makes such jobs effortless and accurate.
  3. Record Keeping: From recording transactions to saving important data or documents necessary for the business, updating the CRM, and performing automatic backups, RPA can save your team a lot of work and money.
  4. Sales & Marketing: Most sales and marketing organizations have adopted automation for their emails and invoicing, but there are still lots of small businesses out there that continue to go the manual route.
  5. Finance & Banking: From data migration between applications to loan claims processing, backing up of receipts, customer account management, data validations, and fraud detection, the banking industry would be in a big mess without automation.
  6. Customer Service: Including customer information updates to appointment scheduling, follow-up messages, customer support ticketing and assistance.
  7. Retail: You can extract product information from websites and update your systems with them, import sales emails, update your inventory, and so on.
  8. Telecommunications: RPA can help companies to back up client data, extract relevant information, and process client bills.
  9. Healthcare: Processing patient data, processing medical bills, storing patient data, processing insurance, and so on.
  10. HR: From payroll processing to employee onboarding and many other tasks.
  11. Hospitality: Reservations and bookings management, customer feedback and surveys, payment processing, service requests, and more.

The Downsides Of RPA

Aside from its numerous advantages, robotic process automation also has its downsides/challenges. Here are the major ones to keep in mind.

  • Initial Cost: The initial implementation of an RPA strategy can be expensive, as it includes the cost of the RPA software, training, infrastructure, and integration costs. Its feasibility, therefore, depends on the business’ budget and size of operations.
  • Implementation Complexity: Integrating the system into existing IT systems and workflows can be a complex and time-consuming affair. Moreover, its success depends on the employees and how cooperative or open-minded they are.
  • Cognitive Limits: Robotic process automation basically runs on rigid, laid-out rules, which means they will often have issues with tasks that require human creativity or decision-making. Making them more flexible, on the other hand, opens up possibilities for unpredictable errors. AI integration will help, but it also has its limits.

How To Apply RPA In Your Business

Applying robotic process automation to most small businesses can help streamline their operations by creating a better-structured organization that should eventually see a boost in efficiency. Here is a step-by-step guide to achieving that.

Step 1: Assess Automation Opportunities

Your first step is to look around your organization to try and find the best areas for process automation. You are looking for repetitive tasks that are rules-based and can be automated. Discover as many as you can. Talk to your workers for insight.

Step 2: Determine Business Benefits

Next, you need to consider the business benefits of automating each of the processes that you’ve selected. How complex is each process and how much labor savings can be brought to your business? Rate your automation tasks based on their potential return on investment.

Step 3: Choose The Right RPA Software

Now is the time to choose the right RPA tool or to design one by yourself if you’ve got the skills. Below is a list of the top offers out there, including paid and open-source variants.

Step 4: Start Small

It’s best to begin with a pilot project to test the waters and evaluate the impact of RPA in your organization on a smaller scale. This limits risks and earns you some experience in tackling larger projects.

Step 5: Implement RPA & Train Team

This step depends on the type of employees that you have and how many they are. So, it could be easy or difficult, depending. The goal is that your employees understand how to work alongside bots, how to monitor their progress, and step in if there’s a need.

Step 6: Observe & Analyze

No system is perfect – even the best companies continue to improve. So, while you have implemented some level of robotic automation in your business operations, you still need to monitor your overall workflows and analyze them from time to time to find areas for possible optimization.

There are many RPA software solutions out there and they are available in all forms – from fully commercial to community and open-source versions. It’s up to you to find what’s best for your small business. Here are the top options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some frequently asked questions regarding robotic process automation for small businesses.

How does RPA differ from traditional automation?

RPA is more flexible, as it considers names, numbers, user interface, and so on to decide its next action in a sequence.

Is RPA good for my small businesses?

Yes, RPA can give small businesses a big competitive edge in the market.

Do I need programming skills to implement RPA in my business?

No, most RPA tools are designed for non-techies and are user-friendly.

Is RPA safe?

Yes, it can be. Good RPA software have built-in security features, and if you implement good data protection measures in your company, then you should be okay.

Can a small business save costs through RPA?

Yes, it can. But this depends on your industry and the processes that you want to automate.

Are there free or open-source RAP software?

Yes, many RPA software like UiPath come with free community editions or trial versions. Others like Robocorp and TagUI are open-source projects.


Rounding up this post about robotic process automation and its benefits for small businesses, you can see that automation is no longer an option in today’s world – you either catch up or get left behind.

How you choose to approach this step, however, is up to you. But remember that each business is unique and only those running the show will know the truly mundane tasks that are perfect for automation.

Nnamdi Okeke

Nnamdi Okeke

Nnamdi Okeke is a computer enthusiast who loves to read a wide range of books. He has a preference for Linux over Windows/Mac and has been using
Ubuntu since its early days. You can catch him on twitter via bongotrax

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