AI & Robotic Process Automation: Streamlining The Back-Office
Find out why AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technologies streamline the back-office by improving processing times, access to data and reduce costs.
We have identified three ever-present themes to be prevalent in the oil and gas industry today. They include faster processing times, access to data and cost reductions (specifically around general and administrative, or G&A). It’s well-known that technology can help achieve the two former themes. However, employing the use of cutting-edge technology isn’t always the low-cost option.
Traditionally, big systems that promise lightning-fast processes and the ability to query data at will also come with a big-ticket price. Over the last decade, however, new technology has emerged in the market to help companies achieve all three of the aforementioned objectives—but only if companies invest fully in deploying the functionality. This new, emerging technology is artificial intelligence (AI)—also referred to as robotic process automation (RPA).
What's AI & Robotic Process Automation?
AI or RPA involves the use of software to complete routine, rule-based tasks within systems. Its applications are endless—AI/RPA can be used everywhere and anywhere, from loading journal entries and processing invoices to running reports and queries. In order to maximize the potential of RPA, with the objectives of achieving faster processing and better data access, companies should implement these tools to perform repetitive data entry tasks and reporting/query running.
"Rather than having to implement that high-priced software that promises lightning-fast processing or the latest reporting toolset, a company can implement a more reasonably priced RPA solution to accomplish both."
These processes can run in the background or overnight on virtual machines, rather than by a company’s employee resources. With RPA doing the heavy lifting of tedious tasks, a company’s accounting staff can be freed up to focus on analysis and actually do something with the masses of data now available at the click of an AI button.
While employing the use of AI can add to a company’s G&A budget, it’ll more than pay dividends in the long run. Rather than having to implement that high-priced software that promises lightning-fast processing or the latest reporting toolset, a company can implement a more reasonably priced RPA solution to accomplish both.
AI & Robotic Process Automation: Quantifying The Benefits
One way to view the cost savings associated with RPA is to compare what an employee can accomplish in the same amount of time as a robot–and by this we mean there’s no comparison. AI robots can be utilized 24/7 and move through system screens faster than 99.99% of humans.
One example that drives home the point about the benefits AI can offer in the back office is to share how we have implemented robots in Opportune’s Outsourcing practice. Currently, Opportune Outsourcing runs almost 200 individual tasks daily. The tasks range from running and distributing queries, creating cost centers and importing data from spreadsheet uploads.
"AI robots can be utilized 24/7 and move through system screens faster than 99.99% of humans."
Using RPA functionality, our Outsourcing group saves, on average, 125 hours on revenue uploads, 300 hours on journal entry uploads and up to 300 hours on running property master updates each month. We’re constantly looking for ways to expand the use of RPA to replace manual processes in order to allow our staff and resources the time to focus on data analysis on behalf of our clients.
Consider rounding out your outsourcing needs by looking to experienced oil and gas consultants who understand maximizing back-office efficiencies. We stay ahead of the curve by employing the latest AI and RPA technologies to automate mundane, repetitive finance and accounting tasks so our clients can focus on value-added analysis and decision-making.
About the Author:
Annie Sorrells is a Manager in Opportune’s Process & Technology group. Annie has over nine years of management consulting experience in the oil and gas industry. She has a diverse background from working with a variety of oil and gas-related clients, including upstream, offshore drilling, oilfield services and manufacturing. Annie possesses strong skills for process design and improvement, system implementation, change management and project management initiatives and has been recognized for her leadership capabilities. Additionally, Annie has assisted in managing the RPA program at Opportune Outsourcing.