Everything you should know about Robotic Process Automation
Table of Content
- Why do you need robotic automation?
- Reasons, why the businesses implementing RPA?
- What is Robotic Process Automation?
- Industry-wise use cases
- How do you implement RPA?
- Top Robotics process automation tools
- Top RPA Development Companies
- Deployment and testing
- Maintenance and Upgrades
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that allows organizations to automate tasks and standardize repeatable business processes the way human beings do. It works like a robot sitting in the front of the computer looking at the same applications and doing the same functions a person would.
Robotic process automation involves software robots that mimic human activities by interacting with applications the same way a person does. Since RPA Robots work as a virtual business assistant, bots perform tedious tasks, allowing users to concentrate on revenue-generating tasks and core competencies. The benefit of using RPA is that it even allows non-technical users to configure their software robots for solving automation challenges.
According to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA), organizations that depend on labor on a large scale to perform high-volume transactional functions can leverage the potential of RPA.
Let’s discuss the need for robotic process automation in a more detailed way.
Why do you need robotic automation?
Before you implement RPA across business processes, ask yourself if your business needs RPA or not. Following are some of the questions that will help you understand if RPA is beneficial for your business:
Question 1: Do you want to reduce costs?
In today’s competitive and complicated business landscape, companies have to focus not only on growth but also on handling costs. It is quite challenging to manage both costs and growth without integrating new technology.
Using RPA, your business can reduce costs while simultaneously improving business productivity. RPA helps businesses train bots to imitate human behavior to perform repetitive tasks.
Bots follow instructions added in the software code to deliver accurate results faster than humans while allowing business users to focus on tasks that bots can’t perform — for example, things that need creativity, judgment and decisions.
The business climate is ever-changing. With a change in any business process, an organization would have to train existing employees or hire new resources to map business processes and IT systems.
Question 2: Do you want to save time on critical business tasks?
If your business tasks exceed your service level agreements, it can have a dramatic effect on your organization, for example, disappointing clients and frustrated workers. Some of the common tasks that create bottlenecks within a business include repetitive data entry, managing multiple applications at the same time and signature-gathering.
RPA bots can save time for your critical business tasks by accomplishing multiple tasks in a few seconds, collecting e-signatures quickly and delivering results faster than a human can. According to research by Deloitte, RPA bots can execute tasks in a few seconds that are usually completed by human beings in approximate 15 minutes.
Question 3: Are repetitive tasks causing human errors?
Repetitive tasks, like data entry, often lead to human error. Switching from one application to another, entering the data multiple times and finding information manually are tasks that can hamper concentration and make it difficult for your business users to work optimally.
However, they’re core business tasks that can’t be avoided.
By eliminating the strain on workers, RPA streamlines the recurring tasks and improves the quality with accurate results. Therefore, the probability of human errors can be reduced dramatically with RPA implementation across business operations.
Question 4: Is compliance hampering productivity?
Compliance with specific laws and regulations is essential to keep a business protected. A well-designed compliance strategy needs steady effort and attention not only to create the strategy but to support it.
It is especially true in the case of the most regulated sectors like healthcare and finance, where failure to comply with laws and regulations can cause serious consequences.
Using RPA, businesses can control their operational processes internally. Actions of RPA software robots are stored in a log where they can be monitored at any time during the automation process.
It means that companies have greater control over their operations and business users can manage compliance issues easily.
Question 5: Do you want to give your employees the best chance of success?
People nowadays have a lot of concern regarding, “robots are taking our jobs.” Manufacturing to retail, everyone is anxious about protecting workers from automation. However, it is not the entire story of automation.
RPA bots are only changing the way the work is done to benefit humans. They help people become more productive and engaged. With RPA, people can concentrate more on the core competencies of the business.
The significant benefit of RPA is the power and freedom it offers to your workforce. It empowers workers with tools that help them manage their tasks and perform critical tasks, thereby increasing productivity.
Robotic Process Automation vs Traditional Automation
The difference between robotic process automation and traditional automation is more than what you can imagine. Traditional automation allows you to make a machine perform any task or any step of the operational process.
On the other hand, Robotic Process Automation is a type of automation that interacts with the front-end of your system and performs tasks without moving to the backend for anything.
Let’s understand the difference between both terms based on the following factors:
- Technology Base
Programming is the main stage in the traditional automation and APIs and various other methods are used to integrate multiple systems on a single platform. However, RPA defines the actions of a user at the UI level. A developer should have complete knowledge of the target system to develop traditional automation platforms, but in RPA, the complexity of underlying technology remains at the back because the robot comprehends the user actions and follows the steps correctly.
- Turnaround Time
Traditional automation involves complicated programming and quality tests, whereas RPA provides an easy-to-use “record & play” automation method. RPA works faster than traditional automation. In traditional automation, you require highly skilled developers who have a good command over programming along with IT support. On the other side, RPA focuses more on techno-functional SMEs who can train the bots.
When it comes to customization, traditional automation may face critical challenges. On the other hand, RPA can be customized to meet the needs of a specific user and can integrate applications like CRM, email, calendar and others to create automated responses and sync information.
- Software/Vendor Limitations
Many reasons restrict the use of traditional automation:
1. Limited customization as users don’t have the source code of the software.
2. It is challenging for new and skilled developers to work on legacy systems.
3. The integration of multiple systems is a challenge because of APIs’ limitations.Automation of legacy systems requires complete knowledge of software and it is difficult for customers to make any changes or upgrades. Since RPA works on the User Interface layer, it does not have the above limitations. Many reasons restrict the use of traditional automation:
Industry-wise use cases for Robotic
- Healthcare: In the healthcare industry, RPA can be used in managing appointments, patient data entry systems, claims processing systems, billing, etc.
- Retail: RPA can help in order updates, managing notifications, handling product shipment and tracking shipments.
- Telecommunications: In the telecommunications industry, RPA facilitates fraud data management, monitoring and updating customer data.
- Banking: Banking industry uses RPA to bring efficiency in work with automatic report generation, maintain accuracy in data, and ensure the security of data.
- Insurance: Insurance companies leverage RPA to handle work processes, enter customer’s data, and automate claim applications.
- Manufacturing: RPA tools help in supply chain procedures of the product in the manufacturing stage. It can also be used for managing invoices and administration, providing customer services & support and maintaining reporting and data migration.
How to implement RPA within your business processes?
Robotic process automation (RPA) implementation involves specific steps and has a defined process. We have discussed the critical factors required to achieve process automation in any organization in this article. An agile methodology can be used to execute RPA, with some customization depending on the business requirements.
Here are the critical stages that we recommend for RPA implementation within every organization:
Step 1: Tool Selection, Proof of Concept, and Cost/Benefit Analysis
Tool Selection is the foremost stage of RPA implementation because the benefits of RPA are associated with how perfectly the automation is done.
Based on the business processes that need to be automated and its results, organizations can select the ideal tool for their project.
Some of the commercial tools for RPA available in the market today include Automation Anywhere, BluePrism and many more. You can also find free/community versions like Work Fusion and UiPath for organizations with process automation needs but have a limited budget.
Here are some of the commonly used Robotic Process Automation RPA Tools:
1. Blue prism
Blue Prism is an RPA tool that helps enterprises automate business processes in an agile manner with the capability of a virtual workforce powered by software robots. Based on the java programming language, the tool offers a drag and drop functionality to developers. The tool is best for medium and large organizations.
- Robots based on the BluePrism tool can react dynamically to responses in data on multiple environments.
- It does not have any limitation on the number of processes to be executed. The tool delivers accurate and secure results to any number of processes you want to automate.
- It works intelligently without the involvement of a person physically and monitors every action that occurs on the screen.
- Platform independence.
- High-speed execution.
- Developers need to have in-depth programming skills.
- High price.
UiPath is a Robotic Process Automation Tool, used for Windows Desktop Automation. It facilitates to eliminate human intervention and automate recurring tasks. It is simple to use with a drag and drop functionality of activities.
- It can be launched in virtual terminals or cloud environments.
- UiPath’s scraping solution works with different types of applications, including Java, .Net, Flash, Legacy, PDF and SAP, while offering high accuracy.
- It provides security by providing auto-login features to run the bots.
- It can work with both web and desktop applications.
- No special programming skills required.
- Ease of use with drag and drop functionality.
- It offers various excellent features at free of cost.
- Restricted coding functionality.
3. Automation Anywhere
Automation Anywhere is one of the popular RPA tools that provide user-friendly RPA capabilities to automate complex tasks. Combining conventional RPA with elements like natural language understanding and understanding of unstructured data, Automation Anywhere changes the way enterprises run their business operations.
- Supports SMART Automation Technology.
- Used for creating automation tasks such as recording mouse clicks and keyboard strokes.
- Provides Bank-grade security with auto-logins on scheduled tasks.
- Ability to distribute tasks to multiple computers.
- Can scale from desktop to data center.
- It eliminates the risks of human error.
- IQBot requires improvement.
Step2 – Process Selection
Process selection is another crucial stage of RPA implementation. Following are some of the processes that require an RPA solution and need to be upgraded with automation:
- Repetitive Tasks
- High-Volume Transactional Tasks
- Rule-based Actions
- Tasks, prone to human error
- Tasks that involve sensitive data
- Tasks that involve a lot of manual work, thereby consuming a considerable amount of time
Processes that do not require automation include:
- Unstable processes (UI controls are changing every now and then)
- Unstructured processes with indefinite flow
- Processes that rely on government guidelines and have high change rates
RPA implementation success depends on the selection of processes that need to be developed and deployed. Organizations should understand that 100% automation is impossible in any scenario. Therefore, the selection and rejection of processes is a deciding factor for the success of RPA.
Once the processes are selected, the next step is to define all the activities involved in those processes and development needs to be done for every activity included in the process.
Step3 – Implement the solution
Development is one of the main stages of RPA implementation, where one starts implementing the solution for automating the business tasks. If you are a non-technical person, you need to look out for the top RPA development companies that can help you build an RPA solution for your business.
We have listed some of the top RPA development companies below in the article.
Top RPA Development Companies
3. Day1 Technologies
Step 4 – Deployment and Testing
Initially, a complete process map needs to be developed that identifies parts of the process to be automated. Using the appropriate RPA tools, bots are designed and developed for business processes. Always ensure to test your solution before it goes live and to check its accuracy.
The importance of testing can not be underestimated. The solution should be tested for different types of screen resolutions.
You can also run a pilot before the actual implementation of RPA to ensure more accuracy:
- Set targets for the pilot: You can set accuracy and automation as your target for the pilot program.
- Run a live pilot: Ensure to review a random selection of bot output every day.
- Assess pilot results: Run a detailed assessment while considering difficult inputs and exceptional cases. Make sure to finalize the pilot once previous targets are met.
You can go live once you run a pilot program successfully.
Create the governance of a new, bot-driven process. For example, create a mechanism for bots maintenance to keep them running even when the process changes. Mention the roles and responsibilities of the bot you are launching.
Prepare a fallback plan if your RPA solution needs re-work after roll-out. Though you would not require a plan for most of the time, it is good to be prepared in advance for any fallback.
Go live and let all relevant stakeholders know about the new communication processes. Keep analyzing and recording results to enhance RPA projects in the future.
Step 5 – Maintenance and Upgrades
You may need to change your processes to stay in line with amendments in the regulation and market. You should have a capable team that takes care of the installation for the future success of your RPA installation.
Software robots are here to stay for a long time. The faster you leverage their potential, the quicker you will be creating a competitive edge for your organization. Robotic Process Automation offers profitability while improving productivity and accuracy across industries and businesses.
If you want to know if your business needs RPA or you want to implement it within your organization, consult our RPA experts and get insights on your project idea.
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