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.
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:
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.
Following are the steps involved in implementation of RPA:
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.
After checklist is done now, we enter the planning phase. It is as follows.
In this step, we start developing the automation workflows as per accepted solution. Using wizard driven, the implementation is quick and easy.
In this step, we run test cases for in-scope automation to identify and correct the errors.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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:
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.
RPA product should essentially run complex codes behind the scenes. The product should have strong back-end developers with the following core capabilities:
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.
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.
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).
RPA tools are selected based on 4 parameters:
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 : “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.
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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.
Some cons of RPA process are as follows:
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The following are some of the major industries where RPA is applied:
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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.
In the near future, we can witness voice enabled products become a criteria in the industry.
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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.