In-depth guide for: What is Robotic Process Automation?

In-depth guide for: What is Robotic Process Automation?

The image above is a good metaphor for RPA. Though most people are looking forward to seeing robotic companions, they are still years away. However, software is already capable of using our keyboards and mouses just like we do. And that opens a wide range of possibilities

Robotic process automation defined

According to Wikipedia:

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an emerging form of clerical process automation technology based on the notion of software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers.

While Wikipedia’s description is accurate, it could be more specific. We explain RPA as a generic tool to create specialized agents which can automate clerical tasks.

Why do I need to know about RPA?

If you are part of a business that relies on any repetitive tasks, you need to know how RPA works. Your team and your customers would be grateful. Because the specialized agents that we explained above, can take on boring repetitive tasks even better than humans can.

Most non-tech companies have hundreds of repetitive processes that are too simple to be engaging for humans. That’s why the non-tech business world and their consultants are extremely excited about RPA. Just take a look at these quotes from the most reputable names&brands in business:

In our bank we have people doing work like robots. Tomorrow we will have robots behaving like people. It doesn’t matter if we as a bank will participate in these changes or not, it is going to happen.

John Cryan, CEO of Deutsche Bank

RPA is a promising new development in business automation that offers a potential ROI of 30–200 percent—in the first year

McKinsey

The relationship between technology and people has to change in the future for the better, and I think RPA is one of the great tools to enable that change

Leslie Willcocks, London School of Economics professor

Why is RPA a thing when any system can provide automation?

RPA’s power lies in its 4 super powers:

  1. Flexibility: You can program an RPA bot to complete almost any repetitive task. Consider most daily jobs. Workers receive some input whether it is an email or a system notification. In response, they conduct a rule-based analysis and take an action like making changes on files or programs. An RPA bot is also capable of doing all of these things.
  2. Ease of integration: RPA bots do not need to be integrated with most software. Thanks to screen scraping and existing integrations, they can input and evaluate the output of almost all Windows applications.
  3. Ease of implementation: RPA can set up as simple as setting up a macro by recording your actions. There are also drag&drop interfaces for setting up automation. The next generation RPA bots, also called cognitive or intelligent automation, take this one step further, learning activities to be automated based on employee’s actions.
  4. Cost: Robots are cheaper than humans! Business process outsourcing solutions are no longer economical when those processes can be automated yielding better results and requiring less cost than outsourcing. However, BPO firms also smartly embraced RPA reducing their costs even further. So some BPO solutions can be considered as outsourced RPA solutions and they can be very efficient as they leverage a BPO’s economies of scale.

None of possible alternatives to RPA can unfortunately provide all of these.

If you feel like you know enough about RPA, we can help you explore the right RPA vendors for your business or find any AI vendor to solve your business problems.

 

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