What is Robotic Process Automation?

Many organisations are looking at robotic process automation (RPA) to eliminate tedious tasks, freeing corporate workers to focus on higher value work.

ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION

  • Robotic process automation is an emerging form of business process automation technology based on the notion of software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers.
  • RPA is aimed at automating business processes by the application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs,
  • RPA uses pre-configured software based on business rules and predefined activity to complete the autonomous execution of a combination of processes, activities, transactions.
  • This application of business process technology is governed by software robots (bots) or artificial intelligence (AI) which is the combination of cognitive automation, machine learning (ML), reasoning, hypothesis generation, and analysis and natural language processing.
  • It uses this machine learning capabilities to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks that previously required humans to perform.
  • The main benefit that organisations tend to go after is the bots that can save costs and time by handling repetitive tasks.
  • RPA can be used in a number of ways, typically to gather and interpret applications and systems data such as queries, calculations, and maintenance of records and transactions.
  • RPA is typically deployed in customer interaction,  data management and supply chain management departments such as customer service, HR and accounting.

WORKFLOW VS. RPA

  • In traditional workflow automation tools, a software developer produces a list of actions to automate a task and interface to the back-end system using internal application programming interfaces (APIs) or dedicated scripting language.
  • In contrast, RPA systems develop the action list by watching the user perform that task in the application’s graphical user interface (GUI), and then perform the automation by repeating those tasks directly in the GUI.

SOFTWARE ROBOTS

  • The hosting of RPA services also aligns with the metaphor of a software robot, with each robotic instance having its own virtual workstation, much like a human worker.
  • The robot uses keyboard and mouse controls to take actions and execute automation.
  • Normally all of these actions take place in a virtual environment and not on screen; the robot does not need a physical screen to operate, rather it interprets the screen display electronically.

COMPANIES PROVIDING RPA SOLUTIONS

1) UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform

  • UiPath designs and develops robotic process automation software.
  • The platform offers foolproof development tool, automation of intricate processes, enhanced control, cloud and on-premise deployment, robust governance, and multiple robots on a single virtual machine.
  • It is an open and extensible platform features hundreds of built-in, customizable, shareable activities, and deep integrations with ERP, BPM and AI technologies.

2) AssistEdge Robotic Process Automation (Edgeverve)

  • AssistEdge Robotic Process Automation is an end-to-end service for building and implementing RPA.
  • It provides integrated software robots to automate any high-touch, repetitive processes.
  • It also provides assisted automation for processes which need manual intervention.

3) Blue Prism

  • As pioneers of Robotic Process Automation software, their Digital Workforce of Software Robots, run by the business but built with IT governance and security, enables employees to focus on higher-value work while autonomous multi-skilled software robots tirelessly perform error-free rules based admin transactions.

THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF RPA

  • A key benefit of adopting RPA within an organisation is improved internal processes owing to the need to define clear governance procedures which in itself improves processes.
  • By eliminating human errors, organisations reduce operational risk by reducing the error rate of humans.
  • Of course, companies are looking to reduce costs by automating tasks and the potential cost savings of a reduced workforce.
  • Another key benefit of RPA is the consistent quality it can achieve over human errors.
  • Adopting RPA can remove the mundane repeatable tasks done by staff and they can focus other key elements of value add customer service.
  • One of the big benefits of RPA is that leverages your existing investment in IT systems the same way if you used humans for the tasks now replaced by bots.

SUMMARY (*)

  • RPA is distinct from BPM (Business Process Modelling).
  • BPM provides a computer system to define a process.
  • RPA replaces the human interaction with computer systems.
  • This can include replacing human interaction with BPM, ERP, CRM, HCM, Email, etc.

(*) Summary provided by David Martin

RPA – HOW IT WORKS

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