Many executives have heard the term Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Although sometimes misinterpreted due to the absence of robots, RPA software is a powerful tool to perform manual, time-consuming, rules-based office tasks more efficiently by reducing cycle time and at lower costs than other automation solutions.

Until now, most cost optimization and efficiency improvement initiatives have reduced costs through centralization and standardization of processes. However, forcing all or most parts of an operation into a standardized business process reduces the organization’s ability to react nimbly to changes and business opportunities. This tradeoff between cost, efficiency and business agility presents a difficult choice for businesses.

RPA allows separate business units within a company to customize solutions to rapidly digitize processes, delivering significant and sustainable value in short timeframes while reducing overall risks. By deploying these intelligent RPA operations at the business unit level, managers can support repetitive processes without conforming to centralized standards, thus achieving efficiencies and cost savings while preserving flexibility.

http://www.pwc.com/us/en/outsourcing-shared-services-centers/publications/robotics-process-automation.html