What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Technology?

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Robotic process automation (RPA) is the use of software with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks that previously required humans to perform. These tasks can include queries, calculations and maintenance of records and transactions. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an innovative technology which automates structured business processes. RPA works just like one of your employees, interacting with the user interfaces of your existing applications and carrying out structured processes automatically. Any company that uses labor on a large scale for general knowledge process work, where people are performing high-volume, highly transactional process functions, will boost their capabilities and save money and time with robotic process automation software. Just as industrial robots are remaking the manufacturing industry by creating higher production rates and improved quality, RPA “robots” are revolutionizing the way we think about and administer business processes, IT support processes, workflow processes, remote infrastructure and back-office work.

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

RPA is the use of specialized computer programs, known as software robots, to automate and standardize repeatable business processes. Imagine a robot sitting in front of a computer looking at the same applications and performing the same keystrokes as a person would do. While Robotic Process Automation does not involve any form of physical robots, software robots mimic human activities by interacting with applications in the same way that a person does.

Working as a virtual assistant, bots complete tedious tasks, freeing up time for employees to concentrate on more interesting, revenue-generating tasks for an organization. Part of the beauty of robot process automation technology is that even non-technical employees will have the tools available to configure their own software robots to solve their automation challenges.

In traditional workflow automation tools, a software developer produces a list of actions to automate a task and interface to the back-end system using internal application programming interfaces or dedicated scripting language. In contrast, RPA systems develop the action list by watching the user perform that task in the application’s graphical user interface, and then perform the automation by repeating those tasks directly in the GUI. This can lower the barrier to use of automation in products that might not otherwise feature APIs for this purpose.

RPA tools have strong technical similarities to graphical user interface testing tools. These tools also automate interactions with the GUI, and often do so by repeating a set of demonstration actions performed by a user. RPA tools differ from such systems including features that allow data to be handled in and between multiple applications, for instance, receiving email containing an invoice, extracting the data, and then typing that into a bookkeeping system. The data manipulation aspect is not something one would normally find in a testing tool

RPA provides dramatic improvements in accuracy and cycle time and increased productivity in transaction processing while it elevates the nature of work by removing people from dull, repetitive tasks.RPA evolved from three key technologies: screen scraping, workflow automation and artificial intelligence. Screen scraping is the process of collecting screen display data from a legacy application so that the data can be displayed by a more modern user interface. The advantages of workflow automation software, which eliminates the need for manual data entry and increases order fulfilment rates, include increased speed, efficiency and accuracy. Lastly, artificial intelligence involves the ability of computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intervention and intelligence. Below is an example of how Robotic Process Automation works in an Order Management Process.

History of RPA:

As a form of automation, the same concept has been around for a long time in the form of screen scraping but RPA is considered to be a significant technological evolution of this technique in the sense that new software platforms are emerging which are sufficiently mature, resilient, scalable and reliable to make this approach viable for use in large enterprises.

Robotic Process Automation Tools:

Blue Prism

The term Robotic Process Automation was invented by Blue Prism, that itself proves they are the pioneers in Robotic Process Automation software development. Blue Prism has been recognized by the American IT research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. They already have more than 100 customers around the world and partnered with biggest giants like NHS, Accenture, Hexaware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Capgemini, IBM etc.

UiPath

UiPath offers rule based automation in business and IT processes for the enterprise. UiPath products work across enterprise applications and also assist in automating Citrix based environments, SAP implementations and BPO activities. UiPath hosts multiple products tailored to enterprise needs including UiPath Studio, UiPath Robots, UiPath Orchestrator. As a leading Robotic Process Automation vendor, we are the Teaming Partner and Reseller of UiPath helping our customers adopt automation across enterprise applications.

Automation Anywhere

Automation Anywhere is another top RPA vendors providing powerful and user-friendly robotic process automation tools to automate tasks of any complexity. They are partnered with companies like EMC2, KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture, Genpact, Infosys etc.

iBridge

iBridge is a custom software platform that offers data porting across multiple platforms and applications. The iBridge platform is architected to easily adapt to customer specific operating environments. The platform has been used by leading BFSI customers for its intelligent processing capabilities and two way integration.

Softomotive

Softomotive is one of the leading Robotic Process Automation providers offers sharp business solutions, premium support and professional services that organisations need to get the most out of their enterprise automation. They been trusted by more than 6,000 companies worldwide, (Intel, IBM, SIEMENS, Accenture, Vodafone, pwc, Adobe, Xerox, Cognizant etc).

Other RPA Tools:

  • Laserfiche
  • AntWorks
  • BlackLine
  • Datamatics
  • EdgeVerve
  • HelpSystems
  • Jacada
  • Kofax
  • Mozenda
  • NICE
  • Pegasystems
  • Verint

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation

Cost Savings

One of the biggest advantages of robotic process automation is the immediate and significant reduction in expenditure it can deliver. When work is automated, not only is it completed faster, but it also can be performed round-the-clock at a much lower rate. So, you get greater output for less, which results in a better bottom line.

Improved business results

Focusing employees on higher value added activities will result in improved business metrics. Depending on the focus on the business, these could impact top or bottom line.

Quality, Accurate Work

Even the most careful human can and will make a mistake. Multiply those errors by the number of people you have performing routine tasks for your company, and you could be looking at a pretty costly problem. With RPA, the work is performed error-free. Better quality means higher satisfaction rates, which – again – is good for your company’s profitability.

Better Control

Many companies choose to outsource so-called busy work to external parties. This, of course, comes with inherent risk. Robotic process automation can provide a better solution and since the work remains in-house, the business maintains maximum possession, control and visibility.

Scalability & Flexibility

Reusable components; scale much better than approaches for screen scrapping, macros and scripts.Can build a library of components over time and use of other processes.Replication of processes/ tasks across business units and geographies.

What is the future for RPA

It is considered to replace the data entry and the data rekeying jobs with its automated tools and techniques.  Also, repetitive jobs of data assembling, formatting tasks that use a set of rules to follow the process can be easily performed using RPA Almost every type of computer-aided process that uses a set of protocols for its operations can be performed using RPA. The global market for RPA Software and Services reached $271 million in 2016 and is expected to grow to $1.2 billion by 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 36%. The direct services market includes implementation and consulting services focused on building RPA capabilities within an organization RPA offers enough advantage to companies which operate with very few people or shortage of labor.

Image Credit: Datamatics.com

MeenaG Staff

Internet of Things Enthusiast

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