Every company seeks to expand and scale. However, as businesses grow in size, they face a variety of issues. They frequently depend on a wide range of products. Spreadsheets that will keep the business running daily, databases that contain the actual functional business data required for the business to run smoothly, emails that will include a variety of unstructured requests, the business applications themselves that the business runs on, and so on. These applications have been around for a long time and form the foundation of what the business relies on to be successful.
The issue with all of these applications is that they connect poorly and require a lot of manual work. Employees are trapped in time-consuming tasks in which they must spend significant time performing repetitive tasks that are ultimately irrelevant to them. Repetitive tasks take up a lot of time for employees, which is not a good use of their time. And then there is a lot of dissatisfaction among the employees.
This is where RPA or Robotic Process Automation comes in. By using software robots, RPA automates the tedious, time-consuming business and IT tasks that negatively affect employees. Robotic process automation empowers artificial intelligence by allowing it to integrate and interact with applications in a low-code manner to perform the desired actions. In this article, you’ll learn more about RPA and how you can benefit from it.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
RPA is a technology that makes it possible for a computer program, or "robot," to replicate normally manual processes in an automated, repeatable, and reliable way. Similar to humans, robots can:
- read databases
- open emails and attachments
- log in to applications
- perform calculations.
- collect data
- follow “if/then” decisions
- fill in forms
RPA solutions enable businesses to accomplish more with less while reducing risks thanks to improved visibility and audit trails. Robots typically work about three times as quickly as a human worker. Robots work best when given repetitive, rule-based tasks that involve digital data that has been structured. Numerous labor-intensive daily tasks could be automated with RPA, freeing up high-value workers' time for tasks like problem-solving, handling exceptions, and troubleshooting. Particularly, RPA is well suited for payment processing, invoice management, reporting, etc. Robots could also be used to compile, analyze, and organize enormous amounts of data among other things.
It's reasonable to assume when you hear the word "robotic," that it refers to machines that carry out human tasks. While this is partially accurate, there are some misunderstandings. RPA are not humanoid robots; they lack a physical form, are controlled and observed by humans, and, most importantly, lack human cognitive abilities. As a result, they are unable to take independent decisions and are therefore unable to replace humans.
How Does RPA Work?
Let's take a quick look at how RPA works.
- Planning: The processes that will be automated are defined at this stage, along with test objects to be identified, an implementation strategy to be finalized, and a clear implementation roadmap for RPA.
- Design and development: As the name implies, you begin creating the automation workflows during this phase in accordance with the predetermined plan.
- Testing and deployment: This stage typically involves running the bots; any anticipated outages must be handled during deployment to ensure accurate operation. It is essential to test these bots for bugs and errors.
- Support and maintenance. By continuously offering support, errors can be better identified and fixed.
Types of RPA
Unattended or autonomous RPA: these are best used to reduce work by performing background data processing tasks. These bots can be typically initiated at predetermined intervals or initiated in response to data input.
Attended RPA: Some form of human interaction is necessary because these bots operate on the user's computers and are activated by the user. The majority of the time, they are initiated when they are embedded on the device of the employee, but they can also be ordered and triggered by conditions, or they can be started with the aid of a RPA client tool.
Hybrid RPA: It combines attended and unattended RPA, as the name implies. These bots take care of front- and back-office responsibilities in the business.
Features of a RPA
Let’s take a look at some of the features an RPA solution offers
Rich analytical suite: Most enterprise-level RPA is controlled and monitored from a single console. This console offers fundamental metrics on robots, servers, workflows, etc. and can be accessed from anywhere. Since everything is built into RPA, no integration is necessary.
Bot creation: RPA tools allow you to create bots easily by recording keystrokes and mouse movements. Many RPA products offer the ability to manually create and edit bots using a task editor.
Scriptless automation: RPA tools can automate applications in any department and work without code. Bots can be created by employees who lack programming expertise using graphical user interfaces. This function lowers the amount of hand code writing and increases delivery speed.
Security: RPA tools make it possible to configure and customize encryption algorithms. This provides protection against any disruption in the deployment and hosting of the network. RPA systems have the ability to automatically deploy groups of hundreds of bots, allowing for the installation and deployment of RPA bots on servers and desktops for performing repetitive tasks.
Debugging: Some RPA tools support dynamic interaction while debugging, and others require the process to be stopped in order to correct errors. This dynamic approach enables on-the-fly development and allows for issue resolution in a runtime environment without changing the process.
Why You Should Care About RPA?
Below you’ll see a few reasons that make RPA valuable to businesses and developers.
Fast implementation: It takes the least amount of time to set up and operate data entry bots. A new RPA software system can be implemented much more quickly than a new employee can be trained. These data entry bots can be set up and operational in a matter of days. Contrarily, if you wanted to hire a new human employee, it would take a lot of time to sort through resumes, conduct interviews, and go through the tedious hiring process. Finally, once you found the right candidate, it would also take time and effort to train them. However, all of this is negated by RPA.
Reduces operational risk: Outsourcing busy work to third parties carries a risk of human error and inefficiency. RPA provides a better solution, and because the work is done in-house, there is less operational risk.
Scalability: Companies that use RPA can make seasonal adjustments and easily expand or decrease operational processes as needed.
Less training time: If your workflow changes and the bots need to pick up new skills, you can either consider replacing them with new bots or change their programming. Compared to training staff members for new tasks, that proceeds much more quickly. The cost of training an employee for a new job will end up being much higher and more time intensive.
Quality and accuracy: RPA substitutes processes that have a high likelihood of human error, increasing accuracy. Robots are dependable and consistent, and they do not complain when asked to work nonstop.
Bots don't stop. You won't have to deal with turnover or worry about employees leaving when you use RPA. No matter how tedious their work is or how often they perform the same tasks, bots don't care. Software bots can operate continuously at 100 percent capacity, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Minimal IT resources. Bot maintenance requires minimal IT resources, and in some cases, no involvement at all. Your RPA systems will be managed by the software provider, who is responsible for maintenance and updates. This completely relieves you of the burden and saves your company a lot of money.
Clear ROI. Every organization needs to quantify its gains. Many of these organizations are unsure how to calculate their ROI, but when it comes to implementing robotic process automation, ROI is visible, defining a clear route to exemplify its results.
Solving complex problems. As your sources of data and analytical capabilities have increased, so has the time required to create various reports. RPA is an excellent solution for these types of issues. The system saves the information and can easily remember and transform it.
Software migration. Software migrations are time-consuming and expensive. Migrating to new software can take months and cost a lot of money. What's more, certain features and functionalities that may have worked in a specific way in a previous version may not even be present in the updated version. Therefore, RPA helps data migration with accuracy, speed, and continuous software updating.
RPA reduces cost. One of the most significant benefits of RPA is the rapid cost reduction. Significant cost savings can be realized by automating tasks. Software robots are also far less expensive than a full-time worker.
Popularity: RPA developers are in high demand at top-tier companies such as Dell, IBM, Accenture, and Capgemini. There is a common misconception that RPA will take over our jobs. However, monitoring and controlling these bots are entirely the responsibility of the developer. As a result, RPA does not replace your current infrastructure, but rather enhances them.
This was a brief introduction to RPA. RPA is rapidly gaining popularity, and the scope of what RPA can automate is rapidly expanding. RPA service adoption has been constantly rising and is expected to continue beyond 2022. According to McKinsey research, knowledge and work automation will have a 5-7 trillion dollar economic impact by 2025. It will affect over 230 million workers, or 9% of the global workforce. Any labor-intensive company with people performing high-volume, high-transaction functions stands to benefit the most from RPA adoption, boosting their capabilities while saving money and time.
At Solwey, we understand technology and can leverage the most suitable tools to help your business grow. Reach out if you have any questions about machine learning, and find out how Solwey and our custom-tailored software solutions can cover your needs.