Blog

What is Robotic process automation (RPA)?

  • (4.0)
  • | 6654 Ratings

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) ?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is the utilization of software with the capabilities of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) for handling repeatable, high-volume tasks that were previously done by  humans.

Enthusiastic about exploring the skill set of RPA? Then, have a look at the RPA Training together additional knowledge. 

RPA enables an organisation to implement the technology at a fast pace efficiently and quickly without changing the existing infrastructure. An RPA software robot never makes any errors, and costs less when compared to salary paid to an employee. Some of the common tasks that RPA robots can automate are as follows:

  • HR operations.
  • Payrolls.
  • Invoice processing.
  • Accounts payable.
  • Expenses.
  • Change of address, name, details of customers, and so on.

Why do we Need RPA?

With continuous change in the business environment, an enterprise must continuously change its product, marketing, and sales to progress and stay relevant according to market demands. Enterprise which often uses distributed IT systems to run several operations depends upon manpower, as it is difficult to change the IT systems frequently due to implementation complexity issues, timing, and budget.

So, in order to reduce these manual operations, RPA is used to automate tasks just like a human. Robotic automation interacts with the existing IT architecture without integration of complex systems. It’s not a replacement for the  business applications, but  simply automates the manual tasks of human workers.

[Related Blog: Getting The Work Done Using Robust Process Automation]

RPA Implementation Methodology

Following are the steps involved in implementation of RPA:

  • Planning
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Support and Management

Planning

In this step, we need to identify the process that we want to automate. To continue this phase, following is the checklist to identify the correct process.

  • Can existing system be used as it is?
  • Is the input data in electronic format and is readable?
  • Is the process rule-based?
  • Is the process manual & repetitive?

After checklist is done now, we enter the planning phase. It is as follows.

  • Accept the solution that is being designed to perform RPA processes.
  • Finalize implementation timelines, setup project deployment team, and approach.
  • Discover logging methods that should be used in finding errors while running the bots.
  • Clear outlook should be defined to set up RPA implementation.

Development

In this step, we start developing the automation workflows as per accepted solution. Using wizard driven, the implementation is quick and easy.

Testing

In this step, we run test cases for in-scope automation to identify and correct the errors.

[Related Blog: RPA Use Cases - Case Studies]

Support and Maintenance

In this step, we need to provide continuous support after launching and helps for resolution. The roles

and responsibilities with respect to business and IT support teams follow general maintenance guidelines.

Checkout RPA Tutorials

RPA System Features:

Robotic process automation (RPA) is vast and there are different RPA tools available in the market. These tools differ based on their strengths and weaknesses. The following are different RPA tools currently in use.

Rich-analytical Suite

RPA software is provided with a rich-analytical suite which is capable of identifying the performance of the robot workforce. Most of the organisational level RPA manages and monitors automated functions via central console. 

The console can be handled from anywhere and offers basic measures on servers, robots, workflows, etc. The detailed operation analysis helps not only to determine issues but also enables the users, in tracking the operations and eases the future workloads. Since everything is inbuilt, the solution RPA doesn't require any integration as all are set right out of the box.

[Related Blog: RPA Architecture]

Security

If an enterprise runs on automation, all the RPA users will reasonably demand access to the RPA product. It is difficult to have strong user access management features. Hence, RPA tools are capable of ensuring action specific permissions with role-based security.

In addition, many RPA tools enable the customization of encryption and configuration capabilities for safeguarding particular data types to act at the time of interruption in network communication. The entire automated audits, instructions, and data accessed by the bot are encrypted to avoid the authority of historical record compliance and malicious tampering. The organisational RPA solutions offer detailed users’ login records along with tasks they execute.

[Related Blog: Introducing Robotic Process Automation]

Simple Bot Creation Interface

GUI and RPA tools allow creating bots effortlessly and quickly by capturing keystrokes and mouse clicks which are built-in like screen recorder components. Using the Task Editor, many RPA products have an option to edit and create new bots manually.

Source Control

Secure storage of each version of a process in progress to avoid the risk of being erased or deleted.

This method enables developers to analyse the difference between versions of a particular process to find what has changed. 

Similarly, the control room component in RPA products allows administering users and roles, maintaining a log of user and bot activities, handling bot’s versions, and scheduling bots. This component can offer control and accountable management over the RPA platform, including  schedules, bots, users, and clients. It also acts as the  control for bot implementation and single-point-of-access.

[Related Blog: Reasons To Learn Robotics Process Automation]

Hosting and Deployment Option

RPA offers a customer-level implementation across terminal services,  cloud, and virtual machines. Other implementation options include: The cloud implementation attracts the customers for its flexibility and scalability. In addition to this, the RPA system is capable of automatically deploying bots in sets of hundreds.

This feature includes an agentless configuration and actively eliminates the central server updates and synchronization errors and runtime by securing bot deployment overlap and client configuration. Hence, organisations can install RPA tools and deploy it on servers and desktops to access data to complete tasks. Similarly, for processing of high volume data, RPA tools allow multiple bots to run on different platforms and also works within a single process.

Rules-based Exception Handling

RPA system follows rules-based exception handling to deploy bots. This feature of RPA tool handles the exception in a dedicated manner. For example, if a robot reports an exception, the following actions are encountered: 

Server re-assigns the same process to another bot to retry and remove the first bot.

In case the retry is successful, the server retains the reassignment and alerts to report solution for exception.

If the retry is unsuccessful, it alerts to report exception for failed resolution and it stops the second bot

[Related Blog: RPA Implementation Challenges]

Debugging

RPA is capable of going through a process and adjust dynamically, and this is the biggest benefit from a development perspective. Some RPA tools need to stop running to change process or replicate the process while the other RPA tools allow instant interaction while debugging. 

Dynamic changing of variable values is tested with different test cases when bots are running constantly. This dynamic approach of debugging helps to resolve issues and deployment in a production environment without any changes to the process.

Less Script or Script Less Automation

The recent RPA tools are code-free and can automate any application that admin or cleric performs across an organisation. Thus, employees with low programming skills can create bots, just via intuitive wizards and Graphical User Interface (GUI). 

This code-free development platform reduces the difficult, hand-written code and accelerates the delivery of business applications, and also reduces training, initial cost of installation, and deployment.

Seamless Integration

In the digital infrastructure of businesses, the core organisational RPA integrates with various third-party applications. With ease in integration, RPA tools provide unique flexibility in figuring out the performance digital workforce. 

[Related Blog: 30 Robotic Process Automation Examples]

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

OCR is a new trend in the RPA platform today. So, RPA vendors started to expand the capability of the RPA portfolio right from including simpler data extraction from texts, images, and documents to advanced OCR.

The standard feature of RPA tool is screen scraping, i.e., capturing bitmap data from the system and cross-checking it with stored details to decipher the cipher data for quality control. This can be obtained by integrating with OCR engines such as Microsoft or Google. OCR with RPA initiatives that  customer requires are rating generators, tax forms, invoices, and claim processing.

Actionable Intelligence

The ability to apply knowledge and gain skills is actionable intelligence. Bots receive both unstructured and structured data. That data is converted into information and further transformed into actionable intelligence for customers. 

RPA involves cognitive automation, computer visions, and machine learning to support bots to improve decision making. Therefore, most of RPA functionalities can be automated without extra extensions.

Frequently Asked RPA Interview Questions & Answers

Factors to look for in RPA software:

Robotic Process Automation is useful for both large and small industries. Figuring out the  right product for a particular company not easy. Following 11 features will help us in selecting the right product of RPA for a particular company:

Ease of Use

First of all, we need an RPA product that should be easy and efficient for our employees to use. Otherwise,it is useless to choose. Check out for a software provider who has an experience in RPA real-time implementation who can offer either a demo or a free trial period.

Core Developer Capabilitie

RPA product should essentially run complex codes behind the scenes. The product should have strong back-end developers with the following core capabilities:

  • Should be able to integrate easily with other software platforms.
  • Must have out-of-the-box functionalities.
  • Ability to support extensive range of inputs and outputs like xls files, email, text, etc.
  • Software should be constantly supported by the software provider.

Scalability

The most important feature a RPA must have is scalability. RPA must be scalable for an enterprise to effectively adapt to the constant changing needs of their workforce. The capability to scale up when there is demand for increase in output and back down when there is no demand is what we require.

Analytics

A good RPA product has the ability to analyze, collect, and organize the workflow method to identify the areas where changes can or should be implemented. This allows an enterprise to really optimize operational efficiency.

Multi-Faceted

Lastly, a quality RPA product should be functional on both the technical side and the end-user side. As an enterprise,  we decide to choose the  more important areas to adapt our evaluation. But, both sides should always be considered as part of the selection process.

Finally, our decision of selecting right RPA product will depend on various circumstances, in particular, which are unique to our business standards. 

The above five criteria are a must to at least provide us an idea or a start point (on what to build).

[Related Blog: Robotic Process Automation Examples]

Parameters to select Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools

RPA tools are selected based on 4 parameters:

  • Interoperability: Tools that can work across multiple platforms.
  • Data: Reading and writing data related to business into multiple systems must be easy.
  • Type of Task to be performed:  Configuring rules or knowledge processes should be easy.
  • AI: AI support to mimic human users must be built-in.

Top RPA Tools: To automate the the manual tasks of human workers ranging from simple form fills to complex testing works, we need an RPA tool. Using the below-mentioned tools will ease the process of automation. The following are some of the top RPA tools currently used in the market.

  • Blue prism 
  • UiPath
  • Automation AnyWhere

Blue prism : “Blue Prism” is built on Microsoft Dot Net Framework. This tool is capable of automating any platform like Java, Windows, etc. It supports multiple deployment models such as testing, development, and production. It’s one of the leading tools as it requires no coding knowledge, and it is designed with Visual Designer.

UiPath : “UIPath” is another leading tool currently used in the market. It is a user-friendly automation tool that is license free, with drag and drop workflow. This tool helps organizations to efficiently automate business processes with some knowledge on Microsoft Dot Net. 

Automation AnyWhere : “Automation Anywhere” is user friendly and one of the most popular RPA automation tools.  It is a developer tool that is used mainly in script based applications. So, you need to have a little knowledge on JavaScript Framework. It supports API level of Automation.

[Related Blog: RPA Tools Comparison]

Benefits of RPA: 

The Benefits of using RPA tool are as follows.

  • Enables better customer service by ensuring business operations and processes with  proper standard  and regulations allowing processes to complete more rapidly.

  • Provides efficiency by digitizing the processed data through auditing and creates cost savings for manual and repetitive tasks by enabling employees to be more productive
  • Frees humans from common, less efficient tasks such as filling forms, and then makes sure that they are available for highly efficient tasks that humans need for decision making, creativity, ingenuity, and ensure the outputs are complete, accurate, and consistent between tasks.
  • Completes the tasks more quickly and effectively and can find, retrieve any required data in the background.
  • On an average, humans can work upto 10 hours a day whereas robots can work 24 hours without getting tired.
  • The average productivity of human is about 50% along with few errors when compared to a robot's productivity, which is nearly 100% without errors.

Disadvantages of RPA:

Some cons of RPA process are as follows:

  • Software is limited according to speed of the application
  • Even with a very small change in the automation application, robots have to be reconfigured.

[Related Blog: Types of Automation]

Applications of RPA: 

The following are some of the major industries where RPA is applied:

  • Healthcare    : All the hospitals make use of RPA for patient registration and billing purposes.
  • HR: Many industries use RPA for HR activities like new employee joining formalities, payroll process, and hiring shortlisted candidates.
  • Insurance    : To claim processing and clearance of premium information.
  • Manufacturing & Retail: Bills of material and calculation of sales.
  • Telecom: Service order management and quality reporting.
  • Travel & Logistic: Ticket bookings, passenger details, and  accounting.
  • Banking and Financial Services: Cards activation, frauds claims and discovery.
  • Government: Change of address and license renewal activities are made easy.
  • Infrastructure: Issues in processing account setup and communication.

[Related Blog: Career Scope in RPA]

Future Scope of RPA: 

In the next few years, automation will redefine itself to step into the next level of digital transformation. It will deliver a new level of customer satisfaction through higher quality experience, in-depth personalization, and faster product delivery offerings with great convenience.

Some of the the major RPA predictions that are set to redefine digital transformation in the years to come are as follows.

  • Advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will slowly merge with RPA to deliver an integrated business value. 
  • Consumers using conversational interface (CI) continues to grow.
  • Chatbots are going to be next target for RPA.

In the near future, we can witness voice enabled products become a criteria in the industry.

[Related Blog: RPA Statistics]

Conclusion: 

RPA utilization is gradually increasing in the market around the globe. Most of the enterprises have already started implementing the RPA technology, as it is cost-effective, optimizes the usage other resources,  and  is less prone to errors.

Todays, most of the enterprises are using RPA tools for testing a specific application because the old testing tools have certain limitations. For example, Selenium testing tool: It is an automation tool to test web browsers but it is limited to a single browser. In case, to test other part of the application Selenium has to be integrated with other tools. But, using RPA any part of the system can be tested with a single tool.

In the near future, the RPA tools may get sophisticated and take over the characteristics of business process management tools along with AI tools. They may become more efficient in such a way that they could analyze the statement of particular customer request and recommend any discount if applicable.

Learn RPA Tools From Mindmajix:

Explore RPA Sample Resumes! Download & Edit, Get Noticed by Top Employers!Download Now!

Subscribe For Free Demo

Free Demo for Corporate & Online Trainings.

About Author

Vaishnavi Putcha

Vaishnavi Putcha was born and brought up in hyderabad. She is passionate about writing blogs and articles on new technologies and innovations in software and, so, took up a profession as a Content Writer at Mindmajix. She holds a Master degree in Computer Science from VITS. Follow her on linkedin. You can also contact her at putchavaishnavi94@gmail.com.


DMCA.com Protection Status