What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Rebekah Nugent - July 1, 2020

So what is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic process automation is the method of using specialised computer programs called 'software robots' to automate and standardise recurring business procedures. RPA does not possess any physical state but can mimic human activities by operating applications the same way as a person would. It is almost like a person sitting in front of a computer and performing the same tasks, however, RPA is a virtual worker who carries out tedious tasks without any errors at an incredibly high speed. By automating processes, menial tasks are completed at a speed, quality and efficiency unmatched by humans.  Employees have a reduced workload and that saved time that can then be redirected to tasks that cannot be automated such as creative and emotional tasks. 

What are the functions of the robotic process automation?

RPA allows business professionals to configure software robots to carry out routine tasks between various systems. The tasks include logging into any application, copying and pasting data, moving files and folders, reading and writing databases, opening emails, and attachments, making calculations and more.

Benefits of robotic process automation:

The technology of RPA is becoming an essential automation tool for digital advancements and the future of business. RPA provides many advantages which are attracting many industries and organisations. Reducing employee workload as well as improving the quality and efficiency of the work is just part of why RPA is now the fastest growing market in enterprise software.

  1. Minimum Technical Barriers:One of the most exciting facts about robotic process automation is that it does not require expert technical skills to operate it. With its code-free system, a non-technical person can learn the software with little hassle. Most software is based on drag and drop process designer to initiate bots. Moreover, RPA robots are easy to train and capable of smoothly integrating into nearly any system.
  2. More Accuracy:A robot does not have to go through the human error weakness. Unlike humans, if there are no technical issues, a robot never produces fallacies. Therefore, the bots are incredibly accurate and uniform. There is a significantly less chance of making errors and typos, which makes RPA efficient help.
  3. Regular and Compliant Service:When the RPA is instructed, it executes its tasks without any risks. Everything they do is monitored and recorded, in case any process needs to be reviewed. Not only that, but all of the processes of RPA are under your control to comply with the regulations and standards.
  4. No Interruptions:Robots do not require food breaks or naps. They can continuously work for 24/7 without the need of staff to manually trigger the bots to start a business process. It boosts the productivity of the company and saves the employees from extra pressure.
  5. Cost Efficient:According to the estimates, RPA can cut down costs by up to 80%. It brings additional value and does more work than an average employee.
  6. Better Employee Experience:The bots enable the employees to invest their time and efforts in much more interesting tasks. Instead of filling forms, data entries, and browsing information from different websites, employees work on marketing strategies. This way, human minds are put to more profitable and prolific use.

What are the drawbacks to Robotic Process Automation?

RPA is an advancing and versatile technology which can adapt to many different departments. While it does have the potential to bring tremendous benefits to a business, it does have some drawbacks which we can't overlook.

RPA has the possibility to eliminate employment opportunities for many. Since RPA can reduce the number of employees needed by reducing inefficiencies, it can result in some employees losing their jobs. As per the Forrester Researcher, RPA software might reduce jobs for 230 million people, which is approximately 9% of the total global human labor force.

In addition to that, RPA operates seamlessly and helps to reduce expenses overall. However, installing bots can take much longer than and are more complex than come expect. Moreover, a new regulation needing a small change to an application may lose months of work on a bot that is near to its completion.

Furthermore, while it may not require special technical skills to operate RPA, the picture is not so black and white. Many executions fail because of poor design and change management. Some organisations try to perform tasks in a rush and overlook the communications exchanges between bots. This malfunction results in an interruption in the business process.

There seems to be a bright future for robotic process automation; however, it does require much training and evaluation for absolute success.

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