Robotic Process Automation (RPA) employs software robots to perform repetitive tasks previously performed by humans. Most RPA tools run on individual workstations and are trained to perform repetitive tasks, such as copying and pasting rows of data from a database to a spreadsheet. While bots can do simple tasks, the benefits they offer are not few, as they can play a key role in helping to make a company more efficient as part of a broader business process management strategy.
Uses and benefits of RPA software:
The words “robotic process automation” may recall the idea of physical robots in a factory, but they actually refer to software bots.
- The RPA methodology employs bots to automate repetitive software tasks that previously required human intervention, from simple data entry jobs and invoice preparation to complex tasks like customer support and troubleshooting.
- One of the classic use scenarios for RPA is the automation of interactions that move data from applications otherwise organized in silos. A bot can operate with the same user interface used by a human, mimicking copy and paste actions.
- One major benefit of RPA is simplicity – typically, an end user can train and deploy an RPA bot without having any development skills. The bot can immediately start performing useful tasks, 24 hours a day, at very low cost. RPA solutions involve little risk and have a very high potential return on investment.
RPA solutions can be divided into two categories, depending on whether they involve human intervention or not.
RPA bot with human intervention:
This type of bot runs locally on a workstation and manages front office activities. Operation is accompanied by human presence but can be triggered by system events.
RPA bot without human intervention:
This type of bot can manage corporate data behind the scenes on back-end servers. Performing its work without human intervention can be triggered by events or scheduled to run on a schedule.
Can RPA and BPM work together?
RPA promises to promote efficiency by avoiding repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming tasks for staff, giving them time to focus on priorities. For this reason, it is perfectly combined with a business process management automation strategy.
The BPM methodology consists in the creation of business models, in the analysis and optimization of end-to-end business processes to achieve your strategic business objectives. It can be applied to repeatable, continuous, or predictable activities and processes.
BPM aims to eliminate workflows and streamline business operations to deliver better products and services to customers. It is a continuous process that, over time, brings improvements to the company. A complete automated approach that combines BPM and RPA can optimize and improve business processes holistically.
Relationship between RPA and artificial intelligence (AI):
An RPA software bot can appear similar to artificial intelligence, and the entire industry is working to integrate more AI capabilities into RPA systems. Currently, however, most RPA bots lack a quality associated with artificial intelligence – the ability to learn and improve over time.