RPA - Robotic Process Automation
Solving the real digital transformation bottleneck.
RPA technology, sometimes called a software robot or bot, mimics a human worker, logging into applications, entering data, calculating and completing tasks, and logging out.
RPA software isn't part of an organization's IT infrastructure. Instead, it sits on top of it, enabling a company to implement the technology quickly and efficiently -- all without changing the existing infrastructure and systems.
The evolution of RPA
Although the term "robotic process automation" can be traced to the early 2000s, it had been developing for a number of years previously.
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 fulfillment 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.
Benefits of RPA
Robotic process automation technology can help organizations on their digital transformation journeys by:
Enabling better customer service
Ensuring business operations and processes comply with regulations and standards
Allowing processes to be completed much more rapidly
Providing improved efficiency by digitizing and auditing process data
Creating cost savings for manual and repetitive tasks
Enabling employees to be more productive
Applications of RPA
Some of the top applications of RPA include:
Customer service: RPA can help companies offer better customer service by automating contact center tasks, including verifying e-signatures, uploading scanned documents and verifying information for automatic approvals or rejections.
Accounting: Organizations can use RPA for general accounting, operational accounting, transactional reporting and budgeting.
Financial services: Companies in the financial services industry can use RPA for foreign exchange payments, automating account openings and closings, managing audit requests and processing insurance claims.
Healthcare: Medical organizations can use RPA for handling patient records, claims, customer support, account management, billing, reporting and analytics.
Human resources: RPA can automate HR tasks, including onboarding and offboarding, updating employee information and timesheet submission processes.
Supply chain management: RPA can be used for procurement, automating order processing and payments, monitoring inventory levels and tracking shipments.
Differences between RPA and regular automation
What distinguishes RPA from traditional IT automation is the ability of the RPA software to be aware and adapt to changing circumstances, exceptions and new situations. Once RPA software has been trained to capture and interpret the actions of specific processes in existing software applications, it can then manipulate data, trigger responses, initiate new actions and communicate with other systems autonomously.
RPA software is particularly useful for organizations that have many different and complicated systems that need to interact together fluidly.
For instance, if an electronic form from a human resource system is missing a zip code, traditional automation software would flag the form as having an exception and an employee would handle the exception by looking up the correct zip code and entering it on the form. Once the form is complete, the employee might send it on to payroll so the information can be entered into the organization's payroll system. With RPA technology, however, software that has the ability to adapt, self-learn and self-correct would handle the exception and interact with the payroll system without human assistance.