Today’s IT leaders are now focusing on implementing robotic process automation (RPA) across core infrastructure domains. RPA offers several benefits to businesses, such as eliminating mundane rule-based tasks, streamlining business workflows, reducing costs, ensuring business continuity, and improving operational efficiency.
To get the most out of RPA, businesses need to understand RPA in detail. And here’s the primer for you that includes – What is robotic process automation? Why integrate robotic process automation, what kind of tasks can it handle, how to implement RPA, various RPA tools, benefits, market trends, and a lot more. So let’s explore the concept.
What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
RPA is one of the forms of business process automation that strives to imitate human actions associated with digital systems. It automates high-volume routine tasks using the combined power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), computer vision, and automation.
The transformative technology builds and deploys software robots designed keeping in mind business logic. Also known as software robotics, these bots complete the tasks by observing, understanding, and implementing the process accurately.
That means they –
- First observe human digital actions,
- Understand what’s presented in the application’s graphical user interface (GUI) or any digital system, and
- Then help you execute a specified digital task by simply combining either user interface interactions or client servers, or connectors to mainframes, or APIs,
The metaphorical software robots have their own virtual workstation for each robotic instance as all business processes take place in a virtual environment only. They utilize mouse as well as keyboard controls for autonomous execution of high-volume digital tasks.
RPA bots can operate with any digital system or application continuously, in a much faster way, and complete the task precisely as compared to your human resources. They can be your in-house digital workforce. You just need to show them how to complete a task, then let them do the same.
Popular use cases of RPA include the following:
It is that kind of practice that follows defined strategies and procedures to automate computer-based repetitive tasks at your workplace. It can be used in thousands of areas and sorted according to various industries like banking and finance, telecommunication, healthcare, retail, legal, customer service, compliance, insurance, operations, and Information Technology.
RPA can handle all computer-based front-office as well as back-office operations, including data entry, data extraction, data reconciliation, data reporting, system integration, analytics, and communication with other digital systems.
Leveraging computer-vision technology, RPA bots can understand any documents, generate machine-readable text from images or pdf files and move data to another system. It also extracts invoice data from the system and validates it against various vendor sources.
What Are the Types of Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic process automation tools offer mainly two types of deployment options to automate business processes: assisted automation and unassisted automation. And their combined automation is called hybrid automation. Let’s understand these types in detail.
1 Assisted Automation:
Known as attended automation, the software robots perform tasks along with the human workforce. The bots run on the user’s desktops and help them complete a process in less time.
For example, in the eCommerce sector, a customer care manager can perform multiple tasks by deploying assisted automation. With the help of RPA bots, he can face multiple customers at a time. Here RPA bots work like his representative; they solve customers’ queries and ask for guidance as well to a customer care manager if needed.
2 Unassisted Automation:
Known as unattended automation, software robots perform tasks without human intervention. They are being programmed to work with other digital systems to complete high-volume tasks from start to finish.
For example, with clearly defined rules, processes, and structured data, any business can deploy unattended automation to complete the data processing tasks in the virtual environment. A bot can take data from one system and pass it onto another where it’s needed.
3 Hybrid Automation:
Known as AI-assisted bots, hybrid automation allows to complete back office as well front office operations with the help of human workers and RPA bots.
For example, in the case of customer-facing scenarios, businesses can take the help of humans and the digital workforce together to handle customer needs during real-time interactions.
Graphical representation of this comparison:
What are the Benefits of Using Robotic Process Automation for Your Business?
You can take advantage of RPA to achieve your strategic and tactical objectives at a low cost. Specific RPA benefits include the following:
1 Higher Accuracy
You can create as well as deploy your own customized bots as per the specified rules and procedures. By ramping up or down the intensity of your digital tasks to match the volatile demands of the market or customers, you can perform tasks with higher accuracy. This helps reduce manual errors and delivers accurate results.
2 Consistent and Faster Performance
You can complete a specific task at a much faster rate with the help of RPA bots as they are scalable, responsive, and perform tasks consistently based on a defined set of rules and procedures.
3 Increased Satisfaction
RPA bots help the human workforce focus on valuable, creative, and innovative business tasks such as solving customer queries rather than navigating through the system. In fact, they offer workers the needed assistance to handle front-office tasks. This decreases manual errors/rework, speeds up customer handling, and increases productivity as well as satisfaction.
4 Reduced Costs
Robotic process automation bots are easy to implement. Also, it lowers the cost associated with human resources, i.e., compensation, administrative costs, etc.
You can take advantage of RPA to perform processes compliant with government and regulatory requirements. Bots reduce human interaction with sensitive data, thereby securing your business data.
6 Accelerate Digital Transformation
With RPA in place, you can transform your legacy systems and automate the core business processes, allowing your business to move towards digital transformation.
How Does Robotic Process Automation Differ From Intelligent Automation?
Both technologies can work together, utilize each other’s strengths, and help businesses automate their repetitive tasks. Intelligent automation (IA) is the best for optimizing the processes, while robotic process automation (RPA) is most suitable for a structured data-based ecosystem. Both are related to each other but are different in reality. Let us discuss the difference between the two.
IA is the next evolution of RPA and uses a broader automation approach – business process automation, artificial intelligence, digital process automation, etc. It offers a holistic solution to accelerate digital transformation. It makes use of artificial intelligence and analytics to automate tasks and help businesses implement automation at scale. RPA is one of the important pillars of IA.
RPA is used to automate rule-based and simple tasks. RPA bots strictly follow the predefined processes, so it can be problematic in the case of incorrect information. And here IA comes into the picture. Intelligent automation is the most suitable to accomplish complex business tasks. IA proves to be superior due to its capability of integrating with other digital systems, tools, and other emerging technologies. It is adaptable to any business workflow and operations as compared to RPA.
How to Implement Robotic Process Automation at Your Workplace?
To get started with your transformation journey with RPA, you need to have visibility into your existing operations and process flows in the first place. Identifying unnecessary steps or any bottlenecks can help you determine and establish a proper process that needs automation.
You have to build a solid foundation and prepare your human worker to get the tasks done through RPA bots. You should take into consideration the following steps to implement RPA:
1 Understand Your Needs
Implementing automation takes time, i.e., RPA deployment using UiPath takes 1 or 2 months. So you need to check the complexity of your workflows, processes, team size involved for a particular task and then determine what functional area needs to be automated. You have to make a list of your requirements before proceeding with automation.
2 Plan and Strategize
This step includes setting up your goals, making a list of your existing workflow or processes, building core teams and defining their roles, usage of RPA tools or any required technologies, timeframes, etc., for your RPA project. A detailed plan will let you establish a simplified workflow plan and help you address any bottlenecks before the actual RPA implementation.
3 Set up a Center of Excellence
Now, you need to set up a designated area for developing, building, and managing your RPA project. At this stage, you need to set the expected timings, instructions, or rules to complete a particular function. Consequently, you can also improve existing processes and make them more understandable for your team as well as customers. Set up governance and control criteria so as to measure the results.
4 Choose Your Technology Partner
Select the suitable RPA tools like UiPath and other technology platforms needed to automate your processes. You can partner with robotic process automation companies who can help you with automation from design, development, testing, and deployment.
5 Prepare Your Team for Automation
Prepare a core team to get accustomed to automation to complete their daily tasks. Define processes, clarify the roles and responsibilities of your team members, and explain the criteria to complete the task. You can educate and provide training to them about the transformed business processes and work in collaboration with software robots. You can also hire RPA developers or RPA consultants from reliable robotic process automation companies. You can communicate all your new business workflows with your team or associated stakeholders to work in a cohesive manner.
6 RPA Implementation
Make your RPA project live across all your designed departments and oversee bots’ performance and measure the level of automation. It should be as per your set governance and control criteria. You can analyze results to improve the process in the future and achieve your business goals.
A Look at Evolving Robotic Process Automation Market Landscape
Robotic process automation is here to complement routine tasks, thereby freeing up employees to work upon other vital business functions and helping them increase productivity. The software robotics platform came into the limelight due to its versatility, scalability, security, plus adoption by global brands like AT&T, Walmart, Deutsche Bank, American Express, etc.
The global robotic process automation market size was valued at USD 2.65 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach around USD 23.9 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 27.7% during the predicted period.
Essential market drivers of RPA market are,
- Optimization of digital transformation strategies with the adoption of RPA in the workplace by most businesses
- Capability to automate diverse routine tasks even in a complicated unstructured ecosystem
- Address gaps of system integration and tackle remote desktop automation
- Adoption and integration with other emerging technologies like AI, Cloud, etc.
- Higher demand for RPA services from the BFSI sector
- Increased focus on reducing the burden of human resources in sectors like healthcare.
- Increased use of robot-based solutions in large enterprises
There is a huge market potential for robotic process automation across various industries and functional areas. Robotic process automation can be a digital spine that connects all enterprise applications.
The Bottom Line
Robotic process automation is no doubt an evolving market, but with the integration of smart technology like AI, it will be used to solve complex issues and complete the process much faster without any error. To build RPA solutions for your organization, you need people with the right mindset, expertise, experience, and smart technology stacks in place. Depending upon your experience, you can prioritize the functional areas for improvement and enable a seamless experience for all. You can always take the help of our experienced RPA developers/RPA experts and reap the benefits of our robotic process automation services to add automation capabilities at your workplace. Connect with our automation experts to implement robotic process automation at scale in your organization.
Pritam Barhate, with an experience of 14+ years in technology, heads Technology Innovation at Mobisoft Infotech. He has a rich experience in design and has been a consultant for a variety of industries and startups. At Mobisoft Infotech, he primarily focuses on technology resources and develops the most advanced solutions.