Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in Nigerian Businesses

by Precious Nwakuba
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In 2018, Thisday newspaper ran a piece on robotic process automation about PwC forecast. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the top professional service providers in the world, predicted that Nigerian businesses would soon incorporate robotic automation—powered by the use of AI (artificial intelligence) and the Internet of Things (IoTs into their everyday operations.

Nigerian businesses are evolving due to technological advancements in the online world. This change is shaking things up in the business world, perhaps more quickly than some businesses can adapt. 

Robotic process automation is one of the cutting-edge technologies making headway across numerous sectors worldwide. In this piece, we’ll explore the impact of robotic process automation on Nigerian businesses. 

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic process automation, or RPA, is an advanced technology that uses software-based algorithms or robots to automate repetitive or tedious tasks to increase productivity, decrease delays, and save time. RPA software can handle complex workflows with precision and efficiency by mimicking human actions.

In some cases, RPA eliminates:

  • Low return — tedious administrative tasks that do not require human input or creativity; repetitive manual data entry and processing workload
  • High-risk activities — financial transactions, regulatory reporting, sensitive data handling, compliance monitoring, etc. 
Robotic process automation

Manual labour is time and energy consuming.

By transferring the majority of these tedious, manual tasks from humans to automated software robots, many businesses have been able to significantly reduce costs, enhance efficiency, increase productivity, and stamp out errors. RPA has notably delivered faster process performance at a more than 50% cost reduction.

For instance, you visited the hospital for a routine checkup. Reaching the reception desk, you see a nurse digging through a big pile of hospital records to locate the patient’s files. Patients are waiting anxiously as the nurse struggles to get the correct records. You can’t help but wonder how long you’ll have to wait, knowing that your medical file could be buried somewhere in that pile.

However, robotic process automation (RPA) can be used in medical record management to automate the time-consuming process of finding your hospital files. When all hospital files are stored as digital documents, the software robots can quickly find the patient files. This improves the standard and effectiveness of patient treatment by eliminating the inconvenience you must endure at the reception.

Read also: 10 Tech and Marketing Jobs Arising From The AI Technology Boom.

How Robotic Process Automation Started in Nigeria

The embrace of RPA in Nigeria increased with the rise of forward-thinking organizations that understood the advancement opportunities of automation. 

Union Bank was the first bank in Nigeria to implement the RPA strategy, while other banks, like Access Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, followed suit. To improve customer service, cut expenses, and streamline operations—these banks implemented RPA to automate tasks, including loan processing, customer support, and account reconciliation.

By implementing RPA technology, the bank was expected to improve employee productivity, shorten process turnaround times, and boost accuracy and compliance. Employee concentration on other customer-related and value-adding tasks increased significantly as a result of the new technology, thus raising the standard of the entire customer experience.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transaction reconciliation was fully automated as part of Union Bank’s first phase of RPA implementation. This reduced processing time by over 60% and guaranteed that refunds for ATM fund discharge errors were handled quickly and effectively. POS is also an example of a robotic process automation (RPA) system.

Robotic process automation

A POS machine

Another massive early adopter is the Nigerian telecommunications Company MTN. MTN Nigeria adopted RPA to enhance service delivery, automate billing procedures, and optimize network management.

MTN Nigeria lowered operating costs, increased customer happiness, and gained considerable efficiency savings by automating processes like network monitoring and complaint handling. With improved productivity and reliability, MTN Nigeria can provide millions of users nationwide with uninterrupted access.

Remember when you waited in a call queue over the phone for up to 30 minutes or an hour to complain to MTN or ask for support, you had no choice but to listen to a particular song on repeat the whole time?

That’s not the case anymore. Now, you don’t have to sit through such things anymore. Whatever support you need, you get instantly, and it’s all because of robotic process automation (RPA).

Read also: 10 Amazing ChatGPT Alternatives You Need to Know.

Other Common Sectors That are Actively Using RPA in Nigeria

Other popular businesses that actively use RPA in Nigeria are; 

  • Healthcare for medical reports, invoice issuing, managing patient data, and appointment scheduling. 
  • The beauty & spa businesses and their likes use similar RPAs as hospitals.
  • Retail and e-commerce companies like Jumia and Konga use robotic process automation (RPA) to automate tasks like processing orders, inventory management, and customer service. 

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Factors That Propel the Growth of RPA in Nigeria

In Nigeria, RPA has grown rapidly due to several factors. They include;

  1. To increase productivity and save on operating expenses, Nigerian companies’ growing volume and complexity of business procedures have made adopting automation technology necessary.
  2. Organizations now find it simpler to execute automation projects because of technological improvements and the availability of RPA solutions designed specifically for Nigerian enterprises.
  3. Early adopters’ testimonies, successful use cases, and a growing understanding of RPA’s advantages have encouraged confidence and accelerated adoption among Nigerian organizations.
  4. RPA is now easier to use, thanks to technological advancements. Cloud-based platforms and user-friendly interfaces facilitate this automation, and businesses of all sizes can use robotic process automation.
  5.  By automating manual operations, lowering errors, and minimizing operating costs, RPA helps firms maximize expenses and enhance efficiency.
  6. Compliance with regulations and risk handling: By automating procedures, enforcing standard workflows, and keeping audit trails, RPA reduces the risk of non-compliance with rules.
  7. Raising awareness and education: Raising awareness of the advantages of RPA and launching educational programs to empower Nigerians, especially in tech.

Challenges Businesses That do not use RPA Face in Nigeria 

Businesses must adapt their digital transformation programs to include new approaches to provide their customers with the most excellent possible customer experience if they want to stand out and stay competitive in an increasingly competitive market.

Businesses now face significant challenges in their internal operations as they strive to maintain maximum security standards, maximize productivity, and minimize expenses. As a result, every profit-driven Company constantly looks for ways to improve efficiency and cut costs. 

Read also: Top 7 New Technologies You Should Start Learning.

What the Future Holds for RPA in Nigeria

To wrap things up, robotic process automation in Nigerian businesses has emerged as a powerful tool with a brighter future ahead of it, with continued innovation and expansion predicted. Technological developments will result in more complex, scalable, and readily available RPA solutions for companies. 

Also, incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence into RPA will further enhance its capabilities by enabling data-driven decision-making and the automation of complex tasks. Additionally, the RPA uprising will support the growth of Nigerian businesses, aiding more productivity, strategic investments in talent acquisition, and streamlining operations.

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Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide. 

About Author

Avatar of Precious Nwakuba
Precious Nwakuba
I'm a Copywriter and Content Strategist with about 3 years of experience. Blending creativity with research, my skills are a tool to make your content engaging and relatable to your target audience, inspiring them to love you even more.
So, let's make your brand stand out together!

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