Robotic Process Automation

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Robotic Process Automation

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software technology that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage software robots that emulate humans actions interacting with digital systems and software

RPA utilizes the interface to capture data and manipulate applications similar to how humans do. They interpret trigger responses and communicate with other systems so as to perform an enormous variety of repetitive tasks. A Robotic process automation software is always much better in comparison since it never rests and does not make any mistakes.

Source: PAT research

How does Robotic Process Automation work?

RPA works by accessing information from your existing IT systems. There are numerous ways that RPA tools can integrate with your applications. One option is through connections to databases and enterprise web services in the backend. Another is through front-end or desktop connections that take multiple forms.

Which way is best? It depends on your enterprise and the needs that the solution will address. With backend connectivity, your automation accesses systems and services under the control of a process automation server. This is most commonly used for unattended automation, where your software robots carry out back-office tasks such as processing insurance claims at scale and with minimal to no employee intervention.

Robotic process automation bots are very efficient to set up and use. They are highly intuitive in nature. RPA bots are often scheduled, cloned, customized, and shared to execute business processes throughout the organization.

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What’s the difference between Robotic & Traditional Automation?

There are quite a few key differentiating factors between Traditional automation and Robotic Process Automation. With traditional automation, you can make a machine do any task or any step of the operational process. Whereas, Robotic process automation software focuses on front-end system tasks. 

In principle, both RPA and traditional automation use software integration to automate business processes. But four key differences between the two give RPA an edge over traditional automation.

1. Technology Difference

Traditional automation makes use of APIs and other ways to integrate various systems while RPA uses software bots to understand user actions at the user interface level. To create a traditional automation system, the developer has to know the target system inside out. In the case of RPA, the bot understands user behavior and follows steps, taking away the spotlight from the underlying technology and its associated application. Therefore, in the RPA vs traditional automation fight, RPA certainly is more convenient in terms of technology base and use.

2. Software Limitations

Traditional automation has various limitations such as restrictions in application customization due to the lack of software source code and limitation of APIs, which makes it challenging to integrate diverse systems. In other words, automation of the legacy system is difficult and requires thorough knowledge of the software. On the other hand, RPA usually works on the UI layer, making the aforementioned restrictions redundant. 

3. Turnaround time

In the RPA vs traditional automation battle, RPA certainly is the frontrunner when it comes to turnaround time since techno-functional developers can instruct bots to perform a specific action within sections. In contrast, traditional automation demands several quality tests and complex programming. Moreover, it also requires constant to-and-fro between various IT teams as well as critical IT support.

4. Customization

RPA offers a high level of customization when compared to traditional automation. RPA enables subject matter experts to create bespoke bots that can meet the needs of each user. It also has multiple integrations with applications like ERP, calendar, e-mail, and CRM for seamless flow of data and creation of auto-replies and response.

What are the benefits of robotic process automation?

benefits of RPA

1. Optimize resource use

To achieve high efficiency in business operations, you need to eliminate the risk of errors. This risk is significantly elevated with tedious tasks as humans tend to succumb to boredom and make silly mistakes when carrying out repetitive acts. These tasks are often undertaken with less interest and therefore, suboptimal vigilance. RPA can be used in these cases to replace humans and assign them tasks that are worthy of their time and effort. By optimizing the use of human resources, companies can get significant tasks done with least resistance from employees who were worn out by repetitive ones.

2. Introduce adaptability and flexibility to processes

Robotic Process Automation tends to introduce flexibility to business operations. The capacity of RPA systems to adapt to conditions and situations deems them useful in businesses where parts of a constant process change in particular RPA systems have the inbuilt intelligence to make these tiny changes in their working, thus freeing human resources for more useful work. Studies have shown that when humans are asked to make small changes in daily tasks they are habitual of, they will often forget making the modifications. RPA programs are installed on servers to combat this challenge, making processes flexible and scalable in case the demand shoots or the scope of a process expands.

3. Aim for cost-effectiveness

RPA tools along with workflow tools can prove to be a game-changer for businesses. Both tools don’t compete with each other- as is the popular notion- instead, complete each other. The program awaits a signal from the workflow tool to perform a specific job, and upon receiving the message, the programs perform the task and feeds the process back to the workflow tool. In essence, RPA and workflow tools round each other off and complete the circuit needed for cost-effectiveness.

4. Improve communication

Replace document creation tools with RPA, as it is better equipped to carry out your critical communication processes through its intelligence. RPA can make changes in single documents with triggers along with processes and effect these changes throughout other documents, thus releasing the pressure on employees to manually update files and make tiny edits. These processes can ensure the end users, representatives, and on-field workers receive the latest information, every time!

5. Discover automated responses and triggers

Typically, every RPA system has scheduling capabilities and even though it operates way beyond the scope of a scheduler, it assists managers with completely automated and semi-automated scheduling. In the former scenario, it only triggers and responds when a particular event takes place- mostly a human activity such as a click. In the case of unattended automation, the trigger does not need to be a human action but can be anything such as an email or a document. Businesses can identify specific areas in their operations that can be wholly or partly automated with the use of triggers and responses.

6. Hassle-free implementation

RPA implementation does not require setting up an API, which saves businesses huge costs and time. Robotic process automation comes with its own set of Graphical User Interfaces – ones that are easier to use and need little technical expertise. RPA systems can perform the same operations humans do such as clicks, keystrokes, pressing buttons, and so on, through the same UI.

7. Empower the workforce

When robots get to do the tedious tasks, employees rejoice. Studies have shown that employee satisfaction increases as they perform meaningful and worthy jobs. As employees undertake significant duties, they look forward to appreciation, and that becomes an active driver in their efforts, leading to build an organization with driven people. Another indirect benefit of employee satisfaction is when employees have high morale and boosted spirits, they don’t feel the need to switch jobs. Appreciation and drive for one’s work has been touted as the #1 reason for satisfaction of employees in multiple reports and studies like this one by the Boston Consulting Group.

8. Insights and Analytics 

With robotic hands working on data and analytics, there are lesser risks of data leakages, obsolete information, and incorrect analytics. RPA helps companies see right through their data and get actionable/verified insights with minimal error rate. Robots also help collect data where it wasn’t feasible for humans. Therefore, a wider scope of data collection and analysis leads to fuller and more comprehensive insights. Meanwhile, employees can focus on more sophisticated analytics, leading to better decision making.

9. Error-free operations 

With RPA, this benefit comes as a no-brainer. Process automation eliminates costly mistakes – those that lead to false analytics and poor decision making. RPA helps businesses introduce precision in their operations and makes monotonous processes error-free. An obvious benefit of this is when there is no missing, or mistaken customer information & service reps face no hassles serving customers in a personalized fashion. However, even a slight disturbance to the customer can ruin their experience with your business – a risk that becomes negligible with RPA. 

10. Secure enterprise data 

RPA can be integrated with multiple applications to enhance the security of enterprise data. These integrations will ensure that client’s apps are not modified or enhanced by a robot. This system reduces the risk of unauthorized access as business functions use and inherit the already available security infrastructure where authorization concepts are already implemented.

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