Robotic Process Automation: The newest take on automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is undeniably one of the most disruptive forces in digital transformation and is the next big step in related markets. As RPA robots are not industrial machines nor are they those you would see on the big screen like in Star Wars, then many find it difficult to understand the reasons behind its popularity. RPA is so desirable to various businesses because it’s software robots working to automate the front-end systems that free up humans from most trivial tasks, making RPA the quickest benefit in technology. In addition, there are variations in the definition of RPA. The current global trend is that every process must be enabled by artificial intelligence (AI). RPA is not an exception to this.
In this blog series, we will explore RPA in five parts.
Part 1 - Automating processes is nothing new, right? Wrong!
RPA is a technology that allows anyone today to configure software (robots) that emulates and integrates the actions and processes normally engaged by a human interacting with digital systems to execute a business process. You may think of these as “swivel chair” processes. In other words, activities performed by a user sitting in a “swivel chair.” This can be applied to a vast variety of repetitive tasks. In simple words, you can use RPA to automate various repetitive tasks, repetitive being the key word here. If you repeat specific tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, then these are potential use cases for RPA. The most viable candidates for RPA are those that have stable processes comprised of repetitive easily-definable steps. These processes will likely be rule-based and consume structured data. RPA robots are capable of imitating many human user actions.
RPA robots interact with the user interface to capture data and manipulate applications just like humans do. They trigger actions, interpret responses and communicate with other systems while performing a wide variety of repetitive tasks. Also, since they are non-intrusive in nature, you don’t need to make any changes to an existing application landscape to make RPA work. The key benefits include better accuracy, improved compliance, increased speed and productivity, scalability and fast cost savings. We will explore these benefits in later parts of the blog series.
An RPA tool is required to build RPA automations. Some of the top RPA vendors are UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism.
Is RPA a new concept?
You might wonder if this is a new buzzword, with little innovation under it, or is there something special about it? Technical people say they have been automating various repetitive tasks using various open source technologies for decades. It is true that this is not a new concept. However, RPA vendors are now taking the automation to the next level with a modern approach. You can quickly build a robot by using ready-made components, using drag and drop features. The greatest appeal comes from claims by RPA vendors that you don’t need to have a programming background to build a robot. They are enabling their tools with AI, using machine learning algorithms to build intelligent robots. Using RPA for business processes is a relatively newer concept than the traditional automation methods.
In the next part, we will review the benefits of bots for every business.