This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Record.
The convenience and sophistication of online shopping has led to many customers taking for granted how easy it is to order what they want, whenever they want, and get it delivered within days – and sometimes even hours.
For many retailers though, this ‘always-on’ expectation is still in stark contrast to legacy systems that don’t integrate easily with multiple sales channels that are often required to span international boundaries to deliver products and services. This disconnect has led to less efficient operations, as well as considerable lost revenue – in fact, industry analyst IDC recently identified up to US$94 billion of additional revenue available to retailers willing to invest in technology that effectively manipulates their business data.
Retailers using Blue Prism’s robotic process automation (RPA) and digital workforce solutions can lead their own omnichannel transformation without having to engage in a costly and risky project requiring API integration between legacy retail store systems and omnichannel applications.
For example, Blue Prism’s integration with CyberArk means that each Blue Prism digital worker can be credentialed – just like a store employee – and store operations can track every action, as well as fast-track costly and time-intensive IT security audits.
Operations running on scalable, secure cloud-based platforms such as Microsoft Azure can easily host the omnichannel integration, greatly reducing the implementation and support time. And, by capturing real-time data across all stores, store operations can have a snapshot of the status of omnichannel fulfilment across an entire base of stores.
Blue Prism customer Shop Direct – one of the UK’s largest pure-play digital retailers – is just one example of how RPA has affected their entire operation. The company’s core metric has always been returning hours back to the business, so that Shop Direct employees can use their time in more valuable ways.
To date, Shop Direct has automated 130 processes, and continues to return 328,000 hours annually back to the business, with a very low footprint and total cost of ownership to operate the Blue Prism Digital Workforce Operating System. And, automating a single process alone, generated more than £16 million (US$21.3 million) of incremental revenue.
For Shop Direct, cost savings, productivity increases, error rate reductions, regulatory compliance enhancements and revenue generation are all vital quantifiers of business value.
Steven Armstrong is vice president and global lead for the Microsoft Alliance at Blue Prism
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