The word Process Automation is used more than actual Robots in the definition. RPA, on the other hand, is revolutionising the software world in the same way that physical robots have transformed the world we live in every day. Take a vending machine for example; there isn't somebody standing there sifting your money and bending the items; it's automated because it's a time-consuming operation. In the software realm, RPA is now doing the same thing for tiresome repetitive work. However, if you don't have specific abilities in areas like IT or Business Process Management, RPA won't help.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of software with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (MI) capabilities to handle high-volume, repetitive operations that used to be done by humans. Some of these responsibilities could include answering questions, performing difficult calculations, maintaining records, or even maintaining transactions.
Let's have a look at an example to help you understand. Consider the process of onboarding a new employee at an IT firm. The gathering of data is an important aspect of the process. To generate a new user account, email address, access rights, document retrieval, and so on, data from multiple systems must be synchronised. The user account can automatically activate the template for the onboarding workflow using Robotic Process Automation. RPA can now review, prepare, and develop new joinee data, as well as initiate the meaning of offer letters and streamline data across systems.
With the help of RPA, tasks that formerly took hours to complete can now be completed in a matter of seconds. Before RPA, completing the onboarding formalities would take a few hours. The entire process might be completed in a matter of minutes after RPA. Automation can be increased to 100% using this method. Processing speeds up by a factor of ten. Accuracy improves by a factor of a hundred. Top IT organisations are now deploying RPA products like UiPath and Blue Prism, among others.
When you hear the term "Robotic" in the context of RPA, it's natural to assume that it refers to robots that perform human tasks. While this is partially correct, there are some common misunderstandings. What does RPA not entail?
(1) RPA bots do not have a physical form and are not humanoid robots.
(2) These bots can't completely replace humans because they're self-contained and under our supervision.
(3) They lack human cognitive abilities. They are incapable of replacing people since they lack rational thinking and the ability to make independent decisions.
Consider a tech support team that deals with hundreds of tech questions per day. The majority of their labour is straightforward, routine, and time-consuming. Their primary responsibility is to direct customers to the proper tech team for assistance in resolving issues. Now, the majority of their labour is physically demanding, repetitious, and tedious, not to mention time-consuming. By automating simple and definite procedures, RPA can reduce the workload of the human helpdesk. Complex administrative operations, such as problem remediation and routine diagnostics, can be automated as well. RPA, in general, minimises human workload and ensures that activities are completed successfully and efficiently.
(1) PLANNING: Planning is the first step in every strategy. The processes to be automated are defined at this stage, which involves identifying test items, deciding on an implementation strategy, and laying out a clear roadmap for RPA deployment.
(2) DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT: As the name implies, this phase begins the development of automated processes in accordance with the agreed-upon plan.
(3) DEPLOYMENT AND TESTING: This stage usually includes the bots' execution. Any projected outages must now be addressed throughout the rollout to ensure proper operation. It is critical to test these bots for problems and errors.
(4) SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE: Constant support aids in the better identification and correction of mistakes.
Let's take an example. Let's say we have a disgruntled employee named Pete. Pete now has to turn various digitally stored documents into forms, which he must later file. As a result, this is a time-consuming task. He must collect all of this paperwork, hand fill them out, and then file them. So, let's imagine he has to repeat this process 10,000 times. That means Pete is going to be irritated because this is a time-consuming, repeated task. It's something he could automate with RPA. So, let's look at what Pete might do if he wanted to automate this process. So the first thing he needs to do is figure out what data is being collected and where it is coming from. So, in this case, the data is already on a computer somewhere, and let's assume it's coming in by e-mail, or perhaps his co-worker Kelly is manually entering it from client phone calls. As a result, they take the consumer forms and input them into a computer. Pete must now extract data. So that will be the first area where RPA can assist.
EXTRACTING DATA WITH OPTICAL CHARACTER RECOGNITION: So, using OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, and the data on the computer, Pete can pull out data, which he will then extract for further processing. So that data could be things like the client's identity and the information, for example, in the customer form, which is made up of complaints. So, after obtaining that data, Pete will validate it to ensure that none of the data is corrupt and that everything appears to be in order. Finally, he must convert it to digital format. So he converts it to digital format and then sends it to a printer. Now, all Pete has to do is take the final forms that have been printed and file them, which will be a lot easier than doing this manually for all 10,000 customer complaint forms that have been received. That's where RPA may help with boring repetitive operations like browsing through user interfaces, copying and pasting data, or other processes like Optical Character Recognition, where data must be extracted.
(1) YOU WANT TO ENSURE THAT YOUR RPA TOOL IS INTELLIGENT:
• Now, Pete used a variety of skills in this flow, including Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and several data processing techniques. As a result, Pete can extract, input, and validate data, and he even can print anything out and make an actual piece of paper using software-based automation. That is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Robot RPA can do now.
• RPA may also use AI or Machine Learning to create a model to detect not just simple text but possibly even images. So that's something Pete might want to consider adding to the automation in the future. So, one thing to keep in mind is that your RPA tool should be clever.
(2) ADVANTAGES OF A LOW-CODE ENVIRONMENT: RPA will only be effective if the users producing the automation find the procedure to be simple; otherwise, if creating this form of automation is too time-consuming, management may choose to have their personnel do it manually. So, Pete will be able to perform things like drag and drop components and have a minimal touch to get this automation generated end to end in a low code RPA environment.
(3) ADVANTAGES OF CONCURRENCY SUPPORT: This will be the capacity to run numerous robots at once, also known as Multiple Automation Tasks. So, if this operation takes 15 seconds for 10,000 customer complaint forms, that's a lot of time. Consider what would happen if you could send out multiple robots to split up the work. In this manner, you'll be able to complete the task considerably more rapidly. As a result, an RPA solution should allow concurrency.
(4) ADVANTAGES OF AN RPA-AS-A-SERVICE SOLUTION INCLUDE: Now, an "as a Service" approach will provide various benefits:
• For starters, you'll have a faster time to value because Pete won't have to worry about setting up his infrastructure, installing software, or managing the environment; instead, he'll be able to log in and start automating right immediately.
• The preceding point leads to the next point, currency, which is keeping up with the most recent versions accessible, not concurrency. RPA and the world of RPA, as well as some of the intelligence capabilities offered by RPA, are evolving at a rapid pace. With an RPA as-a-Service capability, you can acquire updates faster and stay up to date with the newest software versions. As a result, you'll be able to employ the most recent components, and OCR 2.0 may be able to help with some of the bugs with data extraction from customer complaint forms.
• Finally, and most importantly, it enables collaboration. Assume Pete creates this automation, publishes it, and then wants to share it with a branch of his company so that they may automate this flow and file customer complaint forms using the same method. As a result, "as-a-Service" environments are typically multi-tenant, allowing you to engage with your colleagues.
RPA tools are pieces of software that allow you to set up jobs to be automated. These programmes are used to create and run bots. UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, Rock Fusion, and other RPA solutions are examples.