Robotic process automation is fast becoming one of the latest buzz words among the other buzz words “Digital Transformation” and often almost always muddled up with AI and ML !! Too much?
Let us take a look at RPA for now. RPA is quite a mature workflow platform but what’s the definition?
RPA is the use of software that automates manual tasks. It eliminates the need for employees to perform repetitive tasks by integrating software that performs the same set of steps as the employee. The software is designed to perform routine tasks across multiple applications and systems within an existing workflow. It performs specific tasks to automate the transfer, editing, reporting and/or saving of data.
RPA’s benefits extend to both the back office and the C-suite, dramatically improving the efficiency of mundane, administrative tasks. Roughly 25 per cent of a CEO’s tasks could be automated through RPA. For example, RPA can automatically collect data from multiple sources, perform a data manipulation—such as applying data formulas in Excel—and then export or save the information to a readily available location.
One of the main differentiators of RPA from other solutions is that it performs tasks that do not require deep cognitive capabilities. RPA is the automation of a process, but the software is not improved or changed based on the inputs or its results. This is different from machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) software, which can learn and improve based on the continuous evaluation of its inputs and results. Instead, RPA software simply performs the same task(s) repeatedly based on business requirements.
BENEFITS OF RPA
- Error-free, consistent results
- Employees can be utilized for higher-value work
- Increased job satisfaction (not spending time doing repetitive, low-value work)
- Faster, more predictable delivery timing
- Documented trail of work performed
- Identification of anomalies or other red flags
I thought this was one of the best definitions of RPA ie. RPA generally means fewer mistakes which are inherent in human error which can be caused by repetitive tasks. Talking about repetitive tasks leads us to the, Why do you need RPA and when? (or software automation in fact)
A good way of approaching this question would be to understand the concept of “knowledge worker” and what it means for a company. A knowledge worker engaging in low-value activities is bad ROI for any company. In the digital Information critical world we live in, the ability to act ie. analyse and utilise “physical/real/raw data into actionable and useful data can mean remaining competitive or falling behind in the market.
RPA facilitates Digital Transformation. It is a tool, a platform which can be utilised in automating business repetitive business processes. Its uses are varied and can be applied to HR for New employee forms in large companies. Finance and accounting can utilise RPA for AR/AP tracking. Sales and Marketing, one of the biggest areas for Robots, can be utilised for CRM automation, Outreach campaigns etc…
Other uses I’ve come across has been assisting systems integration, some old, outdated DOS-based systems are still used in some companies. No API’s (a millennial would die!) where a robot will be trained/programmed to learn keystrokes of a human /operator. The aim of this is to assist in these type of repetitive activities and either end up with a CSV or XML output file to upload into an ERP system that “doesn’t play well” with others i.e. lacks direct AIPs.
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