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How Does Robotic Process Automation Work?

Robotic Process Automation

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a software technology that enables the creation, implementation, and management of software robots that can imitate human behavior while interacting with software and digital systems.

Like humans, these “software robots” can learn to interpret screen displays, execute accurate keystrokes, navigate different systems, identify and retrieve data, and perform various pre-defined tasks. However, software robots are faster and more reliable than humans and do not require breaks or rest.

Robotic process automation can simplify workflows, increase efficiency, and make an organization more adaptable. RPA also eliminates repetitive tasks from employees’ workloads and facilitates productivity and job satisfaction.

Moreover, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can quickly and non-intrusively speed up digital transformation. It is beneficial for automating processes that involve legacy systems without Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDIs), database access, or APIs.

Simply put, RPA can be described as robotic human assistants equipped with all the necessary capabilities to optimize an organization for success. Let’s take a closer look at how RPA functions before moving on.

How Does Robotic Process Automation Work?

RPA tools can perform tasks that humans would typically carry out. RPA  tools and software solutions can retrieve data from outdated systems and establish connections with various software applications through user interfaces. This enables businesses to perform routine operations like logging in and copying data between computers.

While RPA solutions can also establish background connections to databases and web services, the primary advantage of RPA lies in its simple front-end connectivity. To better understand RPA, let’s closely examine its features and functions. 

1.   Low-code Capabilities for Automation Scripts

Software tools for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) should have user-friendly interfaces that allow users to write automation scripts without complex coding knowledge.

These tools provide pre-built parts or basic logic blocks that enable users to create automation processes through a “drag-and-drop” or visual scripting interface, making it easier for a broader range of users within an organization to engage in the automation process.

These tools low-code capabilities help speed up the implementation of automated solutions across multiple business activities by reducing the requirement for complicated programming. 

2.   Integration with Enterprise Applications

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) systems are designed to be compatible with enterprise applications. These applications include software packages for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resources Management (HRM), and other fields.

RPA solutions are capable of end-to-end automation of complex business processes. This is achieved by integrating data and procedures from multiple platforms.

The integration features of RPA ensure that automation programs remain efficient and scalable over time by being compatible with any changes made to the IT infrastructure or future software updates.

3.   Orchestration and Administration Features

Comprehensive orchestration and administration functions are crucial for RPA platforms to manage the entire automation lifecycle efficiently. This includes configuration, monitoring, and security measures to ensure automated operations’ reliable and secure running.

Monitoring capabilities provide real-time visibility into the performance and status of automation operations. At the same time, configuration tools enable users to design and modify automation workflows to meet specific business requirements.

RPA platforms must incorporate robust security features, such as role-based access controls and data encryption, to safeguard sensitive data and minimize potential risks associated with automated operations.

Centralizing orchestration and administration within the RPA platform can simplify governance, compliance, and oversight of automation projects for organizations. This promotes increased efficiency and accountability throughout the enterprise.

Now that we better understand how RPA works let’s look at the two main types of robotic process automation.

Types of RPA: Traditional and Cognitive RPA

Traditional RPA

There are computer programs that can perform simple tasks without much thought. These programs follow strict guidelines and are used for gathering and organizing information.

This type of program is known as Traditional RPA, which can perform multiple jobs simultaneously. Many businesses, including Datamatics, offer RPA software to automate over 800 activities.

This means there is a Traditional RPA solution for any task you need to automate. Blue Prism, UiPath, and Automation Anywhere are other examples of Traditional RPA.

However, Traditional RPA has its limitations. It can’t understand human speech or adapt to changes in how a program looks. This is where the second type of RPA, which is more advanced, comes in.

Cognitive RPA or Automation

Cognitive automation is an improved version of RPA that can read handwriting, identify photos, and understand spoken language. It works exceptionally well at sorting complex data, automating customer interactions, and converting paper documents into digital ones.

One platform that provides certain cognitive automation features is Microsoft Power Automate. Although its main focus is automating various application workflows, it can also be integrated with Microsoft AI services like Azure Cognitive Services.

Moreover, cognitive automation has some drawbacks, such as increased complexity and the need for task-specific adaptation. Setting up cognitive automation for your company requires a team with machine learning and artificial intelligence expertise. 

Applications of Robotic Process Automation

Various industries use RPA to streamline operations. This includes:

Banking

With RPA’s ability to automate repetitive tasks efficiently, it has become an indispensable tool for streamlining operations in the financial services sector.

RPA is extensively used for various functions within banks and financial institutions. RPA’s like UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism are widely adopted in this industry.

These software solutions enable banks to seamlessly deploy thousands of bots to handle tedious, rule-based processes, such as customer research, account opening, inquiry processing, and anti-money laundering activities.

Insurance

Insurance companies use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology to perform various tasks such as claims processing, regulatory compliance, policy management, and underwriting processes.

Automation Anywhere and UiPath are examples of RPA software insurance companies use to automate repetitive tasks and facilitate integration with legacy systems. By leveraging RPA technology, insurers can reduce manual errors, accelerate processing times, and improve customer satisfaction.

Retail

The retail sector has embraced RPA to enhance back-office operations and the customer experience. With the growth of e-commerce, retailers rely on RPA for customer relationship management, warehouse and order management, customer feedback processing, and fraud detection.

In this sector, RPA software enables retailers to optimize operations, improve inventory management, and deliver personalized customer experiences by automating critical processes quickly and accurately.

Healthcare

Healthcare organizations utilize RPA for optimizing information management, prescription management, insurance claim processing, and payment cycle management.

RPA platforms ease integration with existing systems and help healthcare providers automate administrative tasks, enhance patient care, and reduce operational costs.

Advantages of Using RPA in Operations

The benefits of using robotic process automation include:

1.   Less Coding Required

RPA is easy to set up without needing a programmer. With simple drag-and-drop tools, even non-technical staff can get started quickly.

2.   Cost Savings

By automating tasks, RPA frees employees to focus on more important work. This boost in productivity leads to cost savings and a better return on investment.

3.   Improved Customer Satisfaction

Bots can work non-stop, reducing wait times for customers. This means happier customers and better satisfaction rates.

4.   Accuracy and Compliance

RPA robots follow strict rules and workflows, minimizing errors. This is crucial for tasks requiring accuracy and compliance with regulations. Plus, RPA provides an audit trail for easy monitoring and issue resolution.

Conclusion

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology used in various sectors such as real estate, travel, accountancy, and banking. Organizations can easily choose from multiple options to solve their daily problems.

Large-scale implementation of RPA can significantly enhance a business’s workflow and provide remarkable returns on investment. A 2017 IBM study showed that companies that use RPA for accounts payable can process invoices twice as quickly, at a rate that is 43% faster and 40% less expensive than those that do not. 

Although RPA, AI, and ML technologies are often confused with each other, market trends suggest that RPA is increasingly integrating data-driven methodologies into its software solutions.



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