Employees in all industries and job roles, use time in tasks that does not require a certain skill or knowledge. RPA Automation is typically tedious, repetitive task and it takes more time from more value adding activities. But now, there is an alternative; Robotic Process Automation. It is the application of technology that can automate manual or semi manual processes. This is done by configuring the computer software to learn and execute certain applications. Various works like processing a transaction, manipulating data and communicating with other digital systems are done by RPA.
This not only helps to save the time but also minimizes error to almost zero and is cost effective. The RPA doesn’t have any physical appearance but it is self automated software robotics. By having it do the repetitive and rule based tasks, we can free up our time for more valuable activities.
What Is Robotic Process Automation (RPA Automation)?
Robotic Process Automation consists of 3 major components: Robotic; which is an entity which is capable of being programmed by a computer for doing complex tasks is known as a Robot. In terms of RPA, this task would be to mimic human actions, Process; meaning a sequence of actions or steps/tasks taken in order to achieve a particular end and Automation; stating when a task/an activity happens automatically, i.e. without human intervention. Hence, Robotic Process Automation means mimicking human behaviour to execute a sequence of steps/actions which leads to a meaningful end without human intervention.
Robotic automation interacts with the existing IT architecture with no complex system integration required. RPA can be used to automate workflow, infrastructure, back office process that requires intense labour. These software bots can interact with an in-house application, website, user portal, etc. The RPA is a software program which runs on an end user’s pc, laptop or mobile device. RPA does not require the development of code, nor does it require direct access to the code or database of the applications.
How Does RPA Automation Works?
RPA robots are capable of mimicking many–if not most–human user actions. They log into applications, move files and folders, copy and paste data, fill in forms, extract structured and semi-structured data from documents, scrape browsers. RPA is just a robot which automatically performs certain actions when needed. These tasks are assigned to it using various methods. Such methods include Programming, GUI, etc.
Programming: One way to setup RPA is by programming. All the commands and tasks are entered into the robot programmatically. This method is mostly used by Programmers or technical persons.
GUI: GUI stands for Graphical User Interface. As robotics technology is been increasing day by day so are the techniques and the vendors. Some of the vendors of RPA provides a GUI interface where one can easily set up the task to be performed. It costs more compared to typical programming setup but it is best for the people who want RPA but are not a technical person.
How To Choose Best RPA Tools?
Each tool in the list can be segregated into 4 different types of tools which are built as the extension of the previous generation of bots. The following are the 4 types of robotic process automation tools on the market:
1. Before the RPA generation came into the picture, small enterprises were automating the simple processes with simple hacks, excel automation, and macros. Neither were they scalable or reliable but they increased the productivity of humans.
2. After that, the programmable solution bots came into place. These interacted with other systems and required specific inputs.
3. Then the self- learning tools were developed. These tools saw the humans in action, understood the process and then took over the platform to perform those same actions.
4. Finally, cognitive or intelligent automation bots augment self-learning bots with advanced functionalities to handle unstructured information and make decisions based on complex, unstructured input.
Application of RPA
1.Emulates Human Action: Emulates human execution of the repetitive process using various application and systems.
2.Perform Multiple Tasks: Operates multiple and complex tasks across multiple systems. This helps to process transactions, manipulate data and send reports.
3.Conduct high-volume repeated tasks: Can easily simulate rekeying of data from one system to another. It performs tasks like data entry, copying, and pasting.
4.Virtual system integration: can transfer data between disparate and legacy systems by connecting them at the user interface level.
5.Information validation and auditing: Resolves and cross-verify data between different systems to validate and check information to provide compliance and auditing outputs.
6.Product management: It helps to bridge the gap between IT systems and related product management platforms by automated updating of both systems.
7.Data migration: It helps to bridge the gap between IT systems and related product management platforms by automated updating of both systems.
8.Automated report generation: Automates the extraction of data to comes up with accurate, effective and timely reports.
9.Technical debt management: Helps to reduce technical debt by reducing the gap between systems, preventing the introduction of custom implementations.
10.Quality Assurance: can be beneficial to QA processes which cover regression testing and automating customer use case scenarios.
Challenges of RPA
Implementing the robotic process automation is not a simple task and you may encounter a bunch of challenges while doing it. Among them are:
1.Understanding what processes are fit for the automation: Not all processes could be automated with the help of RPA. To such belong only manual, rule-based, and highly-repetitive processes
2.Choosing the most suitable RPA tool: Currently, there’re more than 60 tools that offer RPA implementation. Therefore, sometimes, it becomes really difficult to choose the right one. The main factors that should be taken into account while looking for the RPA tool should be: your type of business, its specialization, diversity of RPA solutions offered, pricing, etc.
3.Interviewing the employees and documenting all their steps for each procedure: This is usually the main headache of an RPA business analyst who takes care of process documentation
4.Manually creating long reports and providing automation recommendations: It’s about creating process design documents (PDDs) which outline the business process chosen for automation and contains all the main info about the upcoming development of an RPA solution
5.Drawing up the robot requirements and working on the first robot prototype: Designing the first robot prototype, in turn, requires the involvement of the RPA developer and thus, postpones the time of robot implementation
6.Onboarding the employees: It usually happens once the RPA technology is already implemented and the employees need to understand how their ongoing tasks will change.
Robotic Process Automation 2.0
Robotic process automation 2.0, often referred to as “unassisted RPA” or RPA AI, is the next generation of RPA related technologies. Artificial intelligence technologies are making it easier for businesses to take advantage of the benefits of RPA. Due to the technological advancements and improvements, it is obvious that no large budgets are required for development work.
While unassisted RPA has a number of benefits, it is not without drawbacks. Without the input from user, the RPA can run a process and free up their time but this has to be done with certain rules to carry out the work smoothly. Thus RPA has a better future ahead.