We have heard a lot of stories about introducing RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and automating existing operations, mainly in large companies. Although the effects are great, such as "reducing tens of thousands of hours of work per year", the RPA solution itself is often expensive, and some companies are worried about cost performance.
A service that eliminates that anxiety has appeared. "QueenBOT RPA" is a centrally managed RPA product provided by SBI AntWorks Asia, a joint venture between SBI, a major financial institution, and AntWorks, an AI/RPA venture in Singapore.
This is the minimum configuration that many companies adopt early on, and features a low annual cost of 300,000 yen excluding tax. In addition, it can be expanded flexibly while checking the effect. We will talk about QueenBOT RPA with Mr. Yokoyama, who is the representative of SBI AntWorks Asia, Mr. Akimoto, who is in charge of technology, and Mr. Imaizumi, who belongs to the AntWorks headquarters development team. In addition to solving corporate problems with RPA, we will also introduce the introduction campaign of QueenBOT RPA.
Contrary to the expectations of RPA, it is also difficult in reality
――First, please tell us about the effects of RPA. Also, I think there are some difficulties, including the introduction, but please tell us about that.
In December 2020, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Yokoyama published "DX Report 2 (Interim Report)". Among them, there was a statement that more than 90% of the companies were not successfully working on digital transformation (DX), which surprised those involved. Here, automation of routine tasks using RPA is mentioned as an "immediate action, the first step of DX". RPA is not only a hot topic, but is also recognized as a concrete solution that Japanese companies should actually work on.SBI AntWorks Asia Co., Ltd. Director, Technology Manager Shogo Akimoto
A big advantage of Akimoto RPA is that the software automatically does the work that employees feel is "troublesome" or "not fun". It also has the effect of freeing employees from the stress of monotonous but error-free work, such as tallying sales information from branches all over the country every morning. The time saved can be used for work that requires ideas, such as thinking about new products and frameworks for collaboration with other companies, which increases the satisfaction of both employees and management.
However, despite the high promise of RPA, not all projects succeed. Too much pursuit of operational efficiency and cost reduction often leads to failure. The actual situation is that the work of identifying the tasks to be automated and searching for the tasks that match the introduction cost is a high hurdle, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Some companies give up on the introduction because the introduction cost was too high and there were not enough tasks that could be automated as expected.RPA is required as an "ultra-short-term" initiative
-- Please tell us about the specific effects and issues around that, including case studies.
The specific effects of Akimoto RPA include, for example, automating the work of checking abnormal values at the site, automatically importing purchase orders, and automating the summary work associated with sales reports. However, in many cases, when considering the development and operation costs for each business robot and RPA licensing costs, if you focus too much on cost reduction, you will hesitate to automate. Our QueenBOT RPA has the advantage of being very cheap. It is a centrally managed RPA that can be started on a small scale while ensuring security, and can be deployed to other departments once it is effective, making it easier to ensure cost effectiveness compared to conventional personnel costs.Mr. Hiroaki Yokoyama, Representative Director of SBI AntWorks Asia Co., Ltd.
We provided QueenBOT RPA to SBI FX Trade, a company specializing in foreign exchange margin trading (FX trading). It is a project that realized automation by in-house production in just two days. The target is the business related to the service called "crypto asset CFD". For some reason, the cryptocurrency rate information provided to users may not be updated in real time. Since it is not possible to constantly monitor the occurrence of failures, we built a robot that detects errors and notifies them using QueenBOT RPA.
Regarding the selection of QueenBOT RPA, a company that handles RPA tools was born within SBI, so we introduced it on a trial basis while looking at future utilization. I heard that the decisive factor was that the cost was significantly lower than existing tools. Robot development for RPA was done by the customer himself. We had the know-how to create about 30 bodies in-house, including those that had been developed previously. The robot was created in about two days because the robot could be developed with the same general design as the previous RPA tools, and the error notification mechanism was not complicated. It went into operation immediately. RPA has the great advantage of shortening the system development period for new services, which takes several months, and enabling early launch. Please refer to the materials introduced here for details.
from the case study of SBI FX Trade Co., Ltd. -- I hear that there are many companies that cannot make a decision even though there are problems that can be solved by introducing RPA. What barriers are there?
Akimoto: Most of the cases are not sure about the cost-effectiveness. In that respect, QueenBOT RPA is a product that allows many users to develop robots like other RPA products, but the product license fee is low. Therefore, even if you have an introduction support partner to help you get the robot on track, you can achieve sufficient cost-effectiveness. You have a wider range of options, such as obtaining the documentation know-how necessary for maintenance from a partner, or having the maintenance itself performed on your behalf.
In the materials introduced this time, SBI Business Solutions' accounting outsourcing business, which offers 12 services, including the back office cloud service "Expense Bank II" and "Approval Time", introduces QueenBOT as an introduction support partner. I have written in detail about the content of "reducing 400 hours of work per year" using RPA. Please also take a look.Mr. Ryohei Imaizumi, Product Engineering Director, AntWorks Headquarters Development Team from SBI Business Solutions
Imaizumi AntWorks is a start-up company established in 2015, headquartered in Singapore. Although it has only been a short time since its establishment, it has been awarded the Singapore Business Review Innovator of the Year 2019 and is rapidly increasing its presence.
In recent years, it seems that people from India who have gained experience in the United States are starting to return to their home country and start a business. AntWorks also has a technical team centered on members who have gained experience at famous US tech companies, and we are promoting development by bundling Indian engineers.
I myself was originally enrolled in the actuarial department of an insurance company, and used my knowledge of statistics to design insurance products, but if it weren't for the corona crisis, I was planning to base myself in India. By having engineers who can handle big data, we can expect to expand the functionality of RPA.
The license form of QueenBOT RPA is also key in terms of eliminating barriers for Akimoto users. Normal RPA is divided into "manned robots" that operate on PCs used by people for business, and "unmanned robots" that are completely left to operate on dedicated PCs and virtual environments. While manned robots only operate for 1-2 hours on business days, unmanned robots are RPA robots that operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The license price tends to be much higher for unmanned robots, as unmanned robots can have 10 times or more uptime, and therefore the introduction effect. QueenBOT RPA, on the other hand, allows you to run both robots for the standard price.
In addition, financial institutions can fully utilize security and compliance support such as functions to centrally manage users, roles, schedules, etc., audit logs, authentication information storage on the management side, ISO-27001 certification, and GDPR compliance. It's as safe as it gets.
In terms of the system, in addition to being a multi-tenant type that can run multiple robots simultaneously on one PC, robots that have stopped midway due to OS or network problems can be transferred to other PCs in the middle. It has various functions such as failover that can continue to run from
The product license is 120,000 yen per year for the robot creation software "BOT Builder" and 180,000 yen per year for the robot "ANTBot" that runs on the robot execution software "FireANT", totaling from 300,000 yen. and are priced very cheaply (all prices do not include tax). Another advantage is that it includes the management software "QueenBOT Orchestrator".QueenBOT RPA product license concept and standard price
Evaluation from research companies was also selected as a leader for the third consecutive year in "Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) Products PEAK Matrix Assessment 2021" by Everest Group, Top 10 of HFS Research. Named one of the leaders in RPA Software Products 2020, and named the top leader in "End-to-end Intelligent Automation Capability" in NelsonHall NEAT Intelligent Automation Platforms Leader Report 2019 by NelsonHall.
New version launch and migration campaign that reflects Japanese requests
―― I was able to understand the appeal of the product, including its cost and functionality. What are your plans for the future?
Yokoyama A new version of QueenBOT RPA has just been released in mid-August 2021. Approximately 70% of the added functions and modifications were requests from Japan, and you can see that we are considering expanding to the Japanese market. In addition, we plan to conduct a migration campaign for companies using RPA products of other companies. I would like companies that have troubles with RPA operation to take advantage of it.