Search

Exploring Robotic Process Automation Real World Use Cases

Robotic Process Automation

We have traditionally considered physical machines or lines of robotic arms and tools as our saviors from repetitive and mundane work.

Robots and mechanical arms can work faster and longer in high-safety-risk environments in factories and manufacturing plants.

Today, robotic assistants are not limited to factory floors. Organizations of all sizes use Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which automates business processes and tasks using software bots and artificial intelligence (AI) decision engines.

Brief History of Robotic Process Automation

Early incarnations of RPA can be traced back to the 1970s when the business/consumer computer market started to take off. This was mostly limited to the computerization of standard end-business processes.

However, during the 1990s, tech giants such as IBM started replacing basic, paper-based processes with electronic tasks using the first generation of workflow automation software.

The first true robotic process automation systems were introduced at the dawn of the 21st century.

Blue Prism, UiPath, and Automation Anywhere introduced the idea of step-by-step automation where each manual step of any process can be recorded, and then tweaked to become fully automated tasks.

With the advancement of machine learning, RPA is set to see another evolution which we see it bolted onto the delivery of hyperautomation solutions.

General Applications of Robotic Process Automation

Close-up Of A Robotic Hand Holding Magnifying Glass Over Invoice At Workplace

In this article, we shall divide the general uses of RPA into two categories: front-office and back-office applications:

Front Office Applications

  • Customer service basic queries – use chatbots to cater to FAQs
  • User access guidance – step-by-step navigation through heaps of information
  • Customer info organization and storage – automated database entry and notification
  • Sales order and invoice processing – unassisted sending of sales data to related personnel

Back Office Applications

  • Employee data management – action/activity recommendations via points of interest
  • Database organization – automated chiving, sending, updating, segregation, all-in-one
  • Pricing and competition intelligence – organized delivery of info on other companies
  • Data aggregation and management – collecting related data, pre-set pattern recognition

RPA can automate any repetitive process that deals with information in a non-creative way into an automated solution

The technologies associated with RPA provide the most benefits within the business sector. Therefore, most use cases will always involve standard or commonly known business practices.

Engineered Productivity: Blue Prism, UiPath, and Automation Anywhere

Isometric concept of artificial intelligence controls computers or internet, digital network with Robot in the middle

To elaborate on what we have explained about RPA, we will introduce three popular RPA software solutions.

These RPA software solutions employ what is known as automation workflow.

These are a suite of features that automatically achieve automation for tasks that are considered mundane, repetitive workstation tasks.

Despite having the same end goal, the methodology and design principle of each of these RPA solutions differ considerably.

The difference is based on the level of automation, processes involved, and the integration of the user’s knowledge of programming and software development:

BluePrism

externally feels like the more corporate, purely operation-oriented solution of the three classic RPAs with its back office-only solutions.

It has options to allow the automation of desktop actions, web processes, or Citrix-based processes.

In addition, it offers various visual editing tools and script-based (programming) setups. Unfortunately, there is no way to test Blue Prism personally unless you purchase their software.

Automation Anywhere

This solution is currently listed as the least popular of the three classic RPA solutions.

It is more accessible than Blue Prism, having the option to test the software first for free in its Community version before letting the user go for more enterprise-level options.

There is no significant requirement for programming knowledge with this RPA, and it is platform agnostic ranks it second place in the RPA market according to Gartners RPA leadership ranking

UiPath

The most popular out of all the three classic RPA solutions. Is it the best?

Structure and feature-wise, no. Automation Anywhere can usually provide just as much functionality.

The convenient combination of an accessible interface, multi-platform options, zero programming requirements, and flexible (highly modular) base-level workflow automation makes it the choice of many starting RPA users worldwide.

RPA Real World Use Case 01

Royal Bank of Canada’s Service Expansion Chatbots

Headquarters of the RBC Bank (Royal Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of Canada is one of the Big Five banks of its respective country and, as such, is an integral part of the nation’s economic backbone.

The finance giant started investing heavily in chatbots or human conversation simulation programs to help expand their primary customer service systems and reduce costs via automation.

As presented in a demonstration at TechToronto last 2017, the chatbot can automatically deal with basic visitor guidance instructions for their official websites.

Instead of manually navigating through pages and pages of potential services, users can interact with a dynamic automated response system, which would then promptly try to answer simple questions.

The programmed chatbot can provide increasingly complex responses depending on how long the interaction has taken place (how many questions were answered).

“In theory, that means the human user can be freed up to more judgment-based creative tasks. [Though] in reality, it often means that human users are reduced and turns into cost savings for the bank.”
-Joel So, financial partner (PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada)

Using an RPA to automate responses, the Royal Bank of Canada maintains its competitive economic edge. Even better, at any given time, at least two more of Canada’s Big Five banks were heavingly investing in RPA.

For example, Toronto-Dominion Bank was also developing social media-based chatbots to cater to a portion of their customers who may be visiting their respective social media pages.

This consequently provides more room for development and growth via competition and the opportunity to integrate RPA even deeper into the company’s routine systems.

RPA Real World RPA Use Case 02

UiPath’s Very Own Brew of Personnel Optimization

UiPath was one of the earliest developers of RPA tools and has used their experience to develop solutions that enhance HR and automate management tasks.

Most benefits revolve around indexing employee databases and connecting event-triggered tasks that could include:

  • Managing personal schedules
  • Analyzing payrolls
  • Setting up automated notifications when certain conditions are achieved

In a brief official blog post by the company, analyst Robert Stewart described how an RPA can be used to remove the HR element by replacing it with virtual office robots.

The article further explains how it can reallocate employees where their critical thinking and analytical skills matter the most.

“It just makes the job better. I can focus on other projects or processes that are more valuable. I can focus more on interacting with people or thinking about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.”
-Mari Ambrose, People Operations Leader (UiPath)

Tasks like managing employee absence time (sick leaves, vacation requests, etc.), expense calculations, and reimbursement processes can also be automated by RPA.

With a robust and frequently tested deployment of the right RPA, data and process errors can be kept at a minimum. In addition, the human element can intervene to provide any necessary corrections.

The Challenge to Keep RPA Beneficial

RPA Robotic process automation innovation technology concept

RPA maintenance

As revolutionary as RPA may appear, maintenance can still hinder its universal adoption. There are still several factors that need to be addressed related to RPA maintenance, such as:

RPA Systems Testing: This is required to check if the RPA works as designed. This is also important to determine bugs and errors.

RPA Deployment: Implementing an RPA solution is where integration with existing systems occurs. This may prove complex depending on the organization’s existing technology infrastructure

RPA Support: After deployment, additional updates may be necessary to patch or append unforeseen issues missed during the design phase. This support phase attempts to ensure that the RPA solution still provides the benefits it was designed to achieve.

Nasdaq acknowledges this inherent issue with RPA. A survey from 2019 highlights the difficulty of deploying and maintaining RPA.

The report states that many companies have misconceptions about RPA’s potential and how it is perceived when implemented. 

The general recommendation from the report advises that RPA should be treated as a framework or a bridge to achieving efficiency and optimization. Like all foundations, support and maintenance are required to keep its intended function as it increases in scale. 

Conclusion

Robotic process automation is a game-changer in business and commerce because it enables optimization.

RPA also goes beyond lowering costs by eliminating human resources. It also creates a new way of organizing business information.

There is a caveat to this. Knowledge of RPA technologies, domain knowledge, and understanding of business processes is required before being able to implement an effective RPA Solution.



Join Our Tech Community!

Subscribe & get an instant FREE gift! + receive news, updates, and special gifts straight to your inbox.

You Might Also Like

Where Should We Send The Gift?

Provide your name and email, and we’ll send the guide directly to your inbox!

How to Create the Perfect ChatGPT Prompt for Precise Answers!

Crafting an effective prompt is a learnable skill. Your choice of words in the prompt directly influences ChatGPT’s responses. This guide will show you the key elements for getting the right response.