As the world is moving ahead to using variants of technologies, so has automation enhanced its ways to make our work easier. Though the word automation was coined in the 1950s, very few people really understood what it meant. So, in this article we will further discuss what exactly is robotic process automation and its various factors.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Imagine doing repetitive and mundane tasks on your desktop every day like copy-pasting from several sources to an Excel sheet to do some data analysis or emailing a bunch of contacts at regular intervals. It will be pretty exhausting and boring to do such tasks on a monthly or yearly basis, right? What if I say that these types of regular boring tasks can be automated instead? It won’t be just regular automation but robotic process automation.
Robotic process automation is the process of automating business operations using robots in order to reduce human intervention. Confused? Don’t worry. I’ll clear all your doubts as we move further.
Let me describe RPA by breaking down the abbreviation:
Robotic: Represents a machine which mimics human actions
Process: A step-by-step sequence which can complete a task
Automation: Without any human intervention
Keeping the above facts in mind, let us now know what is RPA.
Mimicking human activities to perform a sequence of steps without any human intervention is known as Robotic Process Automation.
Why Robotic Process Automation?
In a business organisation, there are a lot of repetitive and time-consuming tasks that are performed on a daily basis. It wasn’t too long before it was realised that it would be beneficial for these organisations if the time spent on these tasks can be used for doing something more productive. To get all these tasks ready with more precision and perfection than ever before, that too in fast speed, the concept of RPA came into action.
With RPA, all these unnecessary tasks that a human does on a daily basis are automated by a robot. It goes along with the exact steps that are defined by a human to complete a duty and does it without any human intervention.
For example, at the data entry level, the data entry worker visits the same source each day, gets the information from there and fills it, assume, in an Excel sheet. This process has some defined steps like visiting the website, extracting data from there, and adding it in a sheet. If a bot can be trained to do this by just giving it some simple commands, then why not, right?
The robot follows those commands & finishes the work faster and more perfectly. This is just 1 of the millions of tasks that can be done using RPA technology. Most of the organisations use RPA for end-to-end automation of everyday business operations.
How does Robotic Process Automation work?
This question has always popped up on whether RPA uses physical robots, or are there actual robots present to automate tasks. Well, let me inform you that RPA does not replace humans with actual robots. But, there is softwares available in the market which lets you configure automation workflows to automate your business operations.
How to get started with RPA?
You need to follow these steps given below, to get started with RPA:
- Step 1: Gain extensive knowledge about the history behind RPA. That is, learn all about Traditional Automation.
- Step 2: Learn about RPA and the numerous Applications of RPA.
- Step 3: Select the process that you wish to automate, and retrospect about the procedure dependencies. This is a way to make sure that your business doesn’t suffer loss while you are busy automating the task.
- Step 4: Gain vast hands-on experience in RPA Tools, like UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere.
Benefits of Robotic Process Automation:
RPA is growing very fast as manual processes are not very efficient. Manual processes are prone to mistakes and lead to employee dis-satisfaction. Whereas, using RPA can benefit organisations in the following ways:
- Cost Savings
- Improved Accuracy and Reduced Operational Risks
- Saves Time
- Insights and Analytics
1. Cost Saving: One of the biggest advantages of implementing robotic process automation over the regular automation is the huge reduction in manual labour which in turn brings a significant reduction in the overall expenditure. When an unnecessary work is automated, not only can it be completed quickly but also be scheduled at any time of the day we want, which again decreases the effort of a human running it at that defined time. So, you get greater output for less input, which in turn sums in a better outcome.
2. Improved Accuracy and Reduced Operational Skills: We as humans tend to make mistakes and that’s human nature. Even after conducting many proofreads and being as careful as possible, we tend to make errors. When one employee makes a mistake, it’s called a small mistake, but when hundreds of employees make the same mistake, it becomes a serious concern. With robotic process automation, the tasks are completed precisely & flawlessly. Once RPA is trained to execute a task, it will do it with utmost accuracy which in turn raises the quality of service of the company, in a company with customer satisfaction.
3. Saves Time: Robotic process automation saves a lot of time from being spent on tasks that do not really need any special technical skills but need to be completed on a regular basis. As we saw in the previous instance of the data entry clerk who has to open a source, collect data, and add it into an Excel sheet or any other spreadsheet which is a tedious task, RPA can be taught to do the same work according to given or fixed time, in contrast. This saves a lot of time for employees.
The ability to deploy robots to perform certain tasks with-out having to take much aid from IT empowers the end-user to get their jobs done swiftly. This, in order, frees up the IT department to focus on more prime projects.
4. Simplicity: To automate tasks and workflow through RPA technology, someone need not have to be a professional coder. With user friendly language, RPA makes it simple and effortless for the user to automate even the most difficult tasks.
5. Flexibility: RPA tools used for robotic automation offers flexibility to the end-user in terms of automating difficult or multiplex processes with a number of user-friendly options.
6. Security: One of the top priorities of RPA technology is to provide security to users or to an organisation that uses RPA for end-to-end business automation. Tasks can be effortlessly managed by RPA tools that offer security layers in order to protect data or any other sort of information.
7. Insights and Analytics: With the reduction of human intercede, data analysis is in robotic hands which are much more perfect and error-free. This, in turn, enhances the data quality & eliminates the risks of leakage of confidential data. Bots also help to collect data from sources that are otherwise not practical for humans. This access to a broad scope of data, in turn, improves the efficiency of analysis and outcomes.
Industrial Applications For RPA:
There are many industry-based applications of RPA. Some of these are mentioned below:
1. Healthcare: Hospital administrative works, such as tracking patient details, medical history, claims system such as complaints, appeals process, and other data gathering works.
2. Insurance: Data handling, documentation, collection, and processing of documents and streamlining of workflows.
3. Finance: Copy-pasting data to central systems from a remote system, automation of billing systems to reduce errors, customer service, credit card, mortgage processing, fraud detection, KYC process, report automation, and account closure process.
4. Tax: Data sorting, automation of data retrieval process, filing tax appeal based on collected information and reducing manual data entry processes.
5. Retail: Product categorization, updating orders, managing fake accounts, and processing shipping notifications.
Robotic Process Automation tools:
RPA can be implemented with the support of various vendors. Some prominent players in the Robotic Process Automation market are:
- Automation Anywhere
- Soft motive
- Blue prism
The RPA technology includes plenty of potential in shifting the way businesses operate. Doubtlessly, every business across the globe will benefit from the competence of an automation system in the coming years. As long as industries are on the search for new solutions, a higher ROI and lower overhead, RPA will continue becoming more prevalent as well as sophisticated.
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