We are entering a new era of intelligent automation. Web RPA has arrived on the scene just in time to give businesses a leading edge in efficiency and productivity.
Read on as we explore what makes web RPA such a game-changing technology and how implementing it now can help your organization gain competitive advantage in the 2020s.
What is Web RPA and Why Does it Matter?
First, let‘s examine what web RPA actually is.
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) at its core refers to software bots that automate repetitive, digital tasks normally performed manually by humans. RPA aims to improve efficiency, accuracy, compliance and overall workflow.
Web RPA specializes specifically in automating processes involving web applications, browsers and anything requiring an internet connection. It is uniquely suited for automating common business functions like:
- Data entry/extraction
- Report generation
- Email management
- Web scraping
- Form filling
- Invoice processing
- ERP integration
In contrast, traditional RPA focuses on automating desktop processes involving software installed locally on a computer.
This key difference matters because of massive shifts in how businesses operate due to widespread SaaS adoption:
80% of all IT budgets are now spent on cloud solutions up from 23% in 2016. 
Over 90% of enterprises now use multiple SaaS products with the average adopting over 10 cloud apps. 
By 2025, over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms. 
As more workloads move to the cloud, the majority of business processes now rely on web applications rather than local desktop software. Web RPA is purpose-built to automate modern web-driven workflows.
In fact, leading research predicts web RPA will overtake conventional RPA in the next 2 years. Adoption of web RPA grew over 200% in 2021 alone. 
With the right strategy, forward-thinking companies have an opportunity to gain advantage by implementing web RPA ahead of competitors. Let‘s look at 5 impactful ways it can transform your operations.
1. Automate Repetitive Invoice Processing
Processing high volumes of supplier invoices is typically slow, expensive and prone to human error. Yet it‘s a mundane accounting task that consumes countless hours.
For example, a study found:
AP staffers spend over 60% of their time on repetitive invoice processing tasks 
75% of invoices contain errors averaging 3 mistakes per document 
Fixing errors costs businesses $11 to process each invoice 
Implementing web RPA can automate the most tedious aspects of invoice processing:
- Download invoices directly from email or accounting systems
- Extract key details like dates, amounts, PO #s
- Cross-check invoice data against purchase orders
- Route invoices to correct department for approval
- Update accounting system and record payment
This eliminates large amounts of repetitive manual work. One company achieved:
- 90% faster invoice processing
- 75% reduction in data entry
- Over $130,000 in annual savings 
With web RPA, your AP team can focus their time on value-added work and exceptions that require human judgement.
2. Automate and Customize Report Generation
Many roles rely on manually creating repetitive reports in Excel or other programs. Examples include weekly sales and inventory reports, monthly executive updates, quarterly forecasts and more.
Not only is the process slow and tedious, formatting data consistently is prone to errors. Yet senior leaders depend on reports to drive critical business decisions.
Web RPA solutions can automatically generate and distribute customized reports on any schedule needed. Some key benefits:
Compile data from multiple systems into formatted, easy to digest reports
Configure dashboards to deliver key insights customized for each user
Notify stakeholders via email or Slack when new reports are ready
Ensure reports follow company formatting guidelines every time
Free up employees across departments for more strategic analysis
According to Mckinsey, RPA can reduce reporting costs by up to 90% while cutting creation and distribution time in half. 
As an example, global brewer AB InBev automated its reporting process using web RPA. Results included: 
5,000 hours saved annually by eliminating manual report creation
Near instant generation of 80 KPI reports vs 2 weeks previously
Improved data consistency and accuracy
Well-known tools like Google Sheets  provide easy automation for report generation and data transfers between systems.
3. Simplify ERP Integration with Web RPA
ERP systems like SAP, Oracle, NetSuite hold valuable enterprise data needed across departments. A perennial challenge is keeping other systems in sync with constantly changing ERP data.
Without automation, employees waste huge amounts of time manually transferring data between systems. This also creates data discrepancies when copies become out of date.
Web RPA seamlessly integrates ERPs with other applications by automatically transferring up-to-date data bi-directionally. Key advantages include:
Ensure sales, support, finance, HR etc. all use the same "single source of truth" ERP data
Eliminate tedious duplicate data entry between systems
Enable real-time data synchronization as ERP records change
Orchestrate complex multi-step processes across departments
Better comply with financial reporting standards
According to The Hackett Group, companies using RPA for financial process automation gain: 
- 80% faster processing with 98% accuracy
- 60-70% cost reduction
- 90% improvement in compliance
Leading enterprise brands like FedEx, Microsoft, Lenovo, and Sprint have adopted RPA specifically to enhance their Oracle or SAP integrations. 
4. Manage Inboxes Smarter with Email Automation
Email continues to be the communication lifeblood for most businesses. Yet sorting through high volumes of messages manually is hugely unproductive.
Typical inefficiencies include:
No way to automatically categorize inquiry emails, newsletters, notifications etc.
Important messages like orders and alerts get buried or missed
Too much time spent forwarding emails that don‘t require action
Difficulty finding past messages quickly when needed
Web RPA can apply rules to automatically organize a company‘s email into readable workflows:
Route messages to correct team member or department
Flag and respond instantly to priority emails like orders
Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters or spam
Transfer key details into CRM, support or ERP systems
Prioritize emails based on sender, content, attachments etc.
According to a McKinsey study, 60% of organizations say at least one day a week is lost due to email inefficiencies. For larger companies, over 100 hours are wasted weekly. 
Leading companies like Airbnb have used RPA to achieve:
Response time to customer inquiries reduced by 60% 
Resolution rate for issues improved 70-80%
50% faster processing of high priority messages
Today‘s web RPA platforms integrate seamlessly with webmail applications like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and more.
5. Maintain Websites and Manage Subscriptions
Keeping webpages updated with new products, content and promos is a never-ending chore. Web RPA excels at making mass changes to sites based on preset rules.
Other common problems RPA can solve:
Monitoring 1000s of pages to identify errors like broken links or missing images
Aggregating content from various sources into webpages
Updating catalogue info as inventory changes
Checking for unused subscriptions and automating cancellations
Scraping competitor websites to compare pricing and offerings
As an example, online reseller Truebill used web RPA with Apify to: 
Track users‘ 12,000 subscription services across the web
Identify ways to optimize spending and eliminate unused subs
Initiate over 50,000 subscription cancellations saving users $2.5M annually
Web RPA ensures your site and services stay current without endless manual oversight.
Start Automating with Web RPA Today
This overview clearly highlights the major benefits your business can realize by adopting web RPA:
- 90% faster processes
- 70% cost reductions
- Growing competitive advantage
- Happier, more productive employees
Now is the time to start automating repetitive back-end tasks with web RPA before competitors beat you to it.
Most companies benefit by partnering with an established RPA vendor versus building bots in-house. Experienced providers like Apify offer:
- Fast time-to-value with prebuilt automations
- Industry expertise for both simple and complex scenarios
- Secure hosted platform requiring no infrastructure
- Regular updates to handle evolving technologies
To learn more about how Apify can help you implement web automation, request a demo today. Their team will gladly assess your specific use cases and answer any questions.
Ready to unlock transformative benefits for your business? Contact Apify to start your web automation journey today.