What is robotic process automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation is freeing up human labor from mundane repetitive work to provide additional capacity for more strategic work. RPA simply creates more value in less investment.

Robotic process automation is the technology that allows anyone to program a software robot to emulate and integrate the actions of the human with the digital systems. Robotic process automation is the application of computer software famously known as “robot” or “bot” to perform certain tasks in a computer application like processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.

Here are few definitions from the industry:

Institute For Robotic Process Automation and AI (IRPAAI)  definition, “Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.”

Investopedia definition, “Robotic process automation (RPA) refers to software that can be easily programmed to do basic tasks across applications just as human workers do.”

Techopedia definition, “Robotic process automation (RPA) is the practice of automating routine business practices with “software robots” that perform tasks automatically. These tasks include transaction processing, IT management and automated online assistants.” Robotics Process Automation (RPA) allows organizations to automate repetitive and mundane tasks just like a human being was doing them. Robotic automation interacts with the existing IT architecture with no complex system integration required.

Concepts of RPA

The concept of RPA is built on three technologies: screen scraping, workflow automation and artificial intelligence. With these technologies together, RPA can replace humans from repetitive and boring clerical tasks.

Screen Scrapping

Screen scrapping is capturing bitmap data from any application screen and cross-checking it against the stored information to decipher it. Legacy applications do not provide API to integrate with other systems in the organization. In such cases, screen scrapping comes to rescue. Using screen scrapping, application data can be captured by reading the information on the screen and storing/sharing with another application.

Workflow Automation

Workflow is a series of steps that need to be performed to complete the task. For example, transferring data between systems. To transfer data, steps required are copying data from the source system and pasting it into the destination system. This workflow has 2 steps.

Some of the workflows came to be a boring and mundane task for a human. Such tasks can be automated using software bots to automate complete workflow.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the technology of creating machines/software to be able to perform a task requiring human intelligence. The popular example to artificial intelligence is speech recognition, problem solving and planning.

The main goal of RPA is to automate the boring and repetitive process for zero errors and minimum turnaround time (TAT). With bots, manual tasks can be performed at a faster rate increasing productivity and without any manual errors increasing the efficiency of the work.

Benefits of RPA

Robotic Process Automation is helping companies to take a leap in digital transformation journey:

  • Faster business response
  • Business efficiency
  • Almost zero error rate
  • Reduced cost

Conclusion

RPA provides a huge opportunity for businesses to reducing costs and increasing productivity and boost profitability. Automating mundane tasks free up human resources for more critical tasks resulting in decreased ticket resolution time.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in comments.