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Thursday, October 1, 2020

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)? Everything You Need to Know

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a terminology used for software tools that partially or entirely automate human activities that are manually rule-based and repetitive.

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They work by multiplying the actions of a real person by interacting with software applications to carry out tasks such as entering data, processing standard transactions, or responding to simple customer service requests.

The “chatbot” that has become ubiquitous on websites is almost always a robotic process automation tool, not a human tool. It can handle common standard queries such as “where X is on the site”, “how to reset the password”, etc.

Robotic process automation tools are not a replacement for essential business applications; on the contrary, they automate the already manual tasks of human workers.

They look at the screens that workers are looking at today, fill out and update the same frames and fields in the user interface, and pull the relevant data from the appropriate location.

This serves several purposes:

  • It frees people from monotonous, low-value tasks with added-value like data entry. It makes them available for higher-value-added tasks that require creativity, ingenuity, and human decision-making.
  • It helps to ensure complete, correct, and consistent results across all tasks and with human workers.
  • It frees people from monotonous, low-value tasks with added-value like data entry. It makes them available for higher-value-added tasks that require creativity, ingenuity, and human decision-making.
  • It helps to ensure complete, correct, and consistent results across all tasks and with human workers.

One of the main advantages of automating robotic processes is that the tools do not disrupt existing systems or infrastructure.

Many other process automation tools interact with systems that use application programming interfaces (APIs), which means writing code, raising concerns about quality assurance, maintaining that code, and responding to changes in applications.

That said, in practice, there are severe limits to what a robotic process automation tool can do: it must be programmed/programmed to perform a repetitive task. To do this, you need to hire a Subject Matter Expert (SME) who knows how to do the job manually to replicate these steps.

Additionally, the sources and destinations of data must be highly structured and immutable – robotic process automation tools do not tolerate the hassles, bugs, exceptions, or confusion common in human interactions.

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But even with these considerations, organizations realize tangible and tangible benefits from robotic process automation. As these tools became more sophisticated, they began to adopt the functionality of business process management tools and artificial intelligence tools.

This enables them to be even more efficient and, for example, can lead to a point where the device can analyze the sentiments within a particular customer request or correspondence and give a delivery recommendation.

Categories of Robotic Process Automation

RPA technologies in three broad categories: bots, bots, and chatbots.

  • Probots are robots that follow simple, repeatable rules for processing data.
  • Knowbots are robots that search the Internet to collect and store user-defined data.
  • Chatbots are virtual agents that can reply to customer requests in real-time.

RPA software is not included in an organization’s IT infrastructure. Instead, it sits at the top, allowing the business to quickly and efficiently implement technology, all without changing existing infrastructure and systems.

What sets RPA apart from traditional IT automation is the ability of RPA software to be aware of and remodel to the evolving circumstances, exceptions, and new situations.

Once RPA software can capture and interpret the actions of specific processes in existing software applications, it can manipulate data, trigger responses, initiate further steps, and communicate autonomously with other systems.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation

Robotic process automation technology can aid organizations on their journey to digital transformation by doing the following:

  • provide better customer service;
  • ensure that operations and processes comply with regulations and standards;
  • allow processes to be completed much faster;
  • improve the efficiency of digitization and auditing of process data;
  • create cost savings for manual and repetitive tasks;
  • enabling employees to be more productive.

RPA Applications

Some of the main applications of RPA are as follows:

  • Customer Service: RPA can help businesses provide better customer service by automating contact center tasks, including electronic signature verification, the transmission of scanned documents, and information verification for automatic approvals or denials.
  • Accounting: Organizations can use RPA for general ledger, operational ledger, transaction reporting, and budgeting.
  • Financial Services: Firms in the financial services industry can use RPA for foreign currency payments, automate account opening and closing, manage audit requests, and process insurance claims.
  • Healthcare – Medical organizations, can use RPA to process patient records, inquiries, customer service, account management, billing, reporting, and analytics.
  • Human Resources: RPA can automate human resources tasks, including onboarding and logging out, updating employee data, and scheduling procedures.
  • Supply Chain Management: RPA can be applied for sourcing, order fulfillment and payment automation, inventory level monitoring, and shipment tracking.

Evolution of Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation

Although the term process automation dates back to the early 2000s, it has been in development for several years. RPA produced from three key technologies: screen scraping, work automation, and artificial intelligence.

Screen shaking is the process of collecting screen data from a legacy application so that a more modern user interface can unveil it.

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The benefits of workflow automation software that eliminate manual data entry and increase order fulfillment rate include increased speed, efficiency, and accuracy. Finally, artificial intelligence involves computer systems’ ability to perform tasks that generally require human intervention and intelligence.

What is the contrast between RPA and IPA?

Today, RPA software is mostly useful for organizations with many different and intricate systems that need to communicate transparently.

For example, if there is no postcode in electronic form in the HR system, traditional automation software would mark the way with an exception.

The employee would exempt it by finding the correct postcode and letting it go. ‘entering the form. Once the form is completed, the employee can submit it to payroll so that the data can be entered into the companies payroll system.

However, using RPA technology, software that can customize, self-learn, and self-correct would handle the exception and communicate with the payroll system without human assistance.

The best RPA providers

Here are some of the best RPA providers:

  • Automation Anywhere Inc. provides a digital workforce platform for businesses to purchase through payments, cash quotes, human resources, receivables handling, and other back-office processes.
  • Blue Prism aims to provide organizations in regulated industries with a more agile virtual workforce, delivering work-oriented robots centrally defined and managed.
  • EdgeVerve Limited, Infosys, helps businesses modernize customer service, improve business processes, and improve operational productivity.
  • HelpSystems enables businesses to simplify IT and business operations by automating tasks and workflows without the need to write code.
  • UiPath offers an open platform that helps organizations efficiently automate business processes.
  • Workfusion combines robotics, cognitive AI automation, and workforce orchestration to automate business processes.

What to look for in RPA software

When business leaders consider RPA technologies, there are several things to consider:

  • Scalability: Organizations shouldn’t choose RPA software that forces them to use software robots in virtualized environments or desktops. They should search for RPA platforms that can be centrally managed and massively scaled up.
  • Speed: Businesses need to be able to design and test new robotic processes in hours or less and optimize robots to run fast.
  • Reliability: As businesses launch bots to automate hundreds, if not thousands of tasks, they need to look for tools with built-in analytics and monitoring that will allow them to track the health of their systems.
  • Simplicity: Organizations should check for products that are simple enough that anyone in the business can create and use to manage various tasks, including collecting data and converting content into data that enables leaders to make the best decisions commercial.
  • Intelligence: The best RPA tools can enhance simple task-based activities, read and write to any data source, and take precedence of more advanced learning to improve automation further.
  • Enterprise-Class: Businesses should look for tools designed from the ground up to ensure business scalability, reliability, and manageability.

C-level decision making around RPA

While automation software is expected to replace up to 140 million full-time employees worldwide by 2025, a host of high-quality jobs will be created for those who maintain and improve RPA software.

When software bots replace people in an organization, C-level executives need to be accountable for achieving business results and adhering to new management policies.

Robotic process automation technology also requires the CTO/CIO to take on more leadership roles and take responsibility for business results and risks associated with applying RPA tools.

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The COO, CIO, and Recruitment manager, also with the appropriate C-level manager who owns the automated process, should work to ensure the availability of a secure business management platform to control and manage the robotic systems for everyone.

Where is the process automation market heading?

Report Global Market Insights Inc. expects the RPA market to hit $5 billion by 2024. The escalated adoption of RPA technologies by organizations to improve their capabilities and performance and increase cost savings will drive the growth of robotic process automation market during this period.

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Fadehan Emmanuel
Moore is an Associate—Editor of TheXplorion. Got a NEWS TIP related to this story — or to anything else in the world of big tech? Please e-mail him: mooreplug[at]gmail.com. You can also connect with him via the connections below the box.
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