Robotic Process Automation
The fundamental reason behind scientific breakthroughs is our yearning with making life simpler. So, it is hardly surprising to know that automation is already the new big thing. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a cutting-edge technological advancement that we use to automate routine, monotonous, digital tasks. This article takes us through various facets of RPA, how it works, RPA Tools, and its Application.
What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Robotic Process Automation or RPA is the process of automating a set of high volume and reiterating tasks with the help of robots or software that have Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities. It helps in minimizing human intervention. This bot/software can either follow the user’s rules or use machine learning capabilities to suggest the user with recommendations to produce meaningful results.
In layman’s terms, RPA is nothing but software that gives detailed instructions to your machine to carry out a set of mundane and repetitive clerical tasks. Some of these tasks include addressing queries, maintaining records, extracting data from documents, validating files, and performing transactions.
RPA is often confused with Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The significant difference between RPA and the other two is that RPA is process-driven, whereas ML and AI are both data-driven. RPA automates a set of pre-built processes from the user and is thus rule-based and highly repetitive. Unlike RPA, ML enables systems to learn from data to gain knowledge, and AI aims to acquire more intelligence without being explicitly programmed and supervised by programmers.
How Does RPA Work?
We can break down the process into four major phases: Planning Phase, Development Phase, Deployment & Testing Phase, and Support & Maintenance Phase.
- Planning Phase
In this phase, we gather all the processes to be automated, identify the test objects, and finalize the implementation approach.
- Development Phase
The creation of an automation workflow as per the plan takes place here. Let us take the example of the bot extracting and processing data from an email to elucidate this. Below are the steps to follow to automate this task:
- The bot downloads emails and extracts PDF attachments based on the specified criteria and then saves the file.
- It reads the data from each file and transports it into a master Excel document and then saves it on the system.
- The bot access and interacts with the enterprise system and thus creates a new invoice report.
- It sends a confirmation mail to the user after the task completion.
- Deployment and Testing Phase
The creators do a test run to detect any unforeseen issues and then resolve them. This phase ensures a bug-free product.
- Support and Maintenance Phase
In this phase, we make sure the product continuously updates with smooth deployment across the user base.
They are software applications that can configure tasks and then automate it. The three functionalities any RPA tools must perform are:
- It should be able to interact with several systems either through screen scraping or API integration.
- It should be able to make decisions and determine their actions based on inputs gathered from other systems.
- An interface should be there to program the bot.
Some of the RPA tools include UiPath, EdgeVerve, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, Pega, Nice System, WorkFusion, Inflectra Rapise, Kryon, Linx, and Redwood. However, the most popular ones are UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automate Anywhere because of their user interface, vendor experience, and maintenance and support.
High accuracy and quality, improved analytics, increased employee productivity, and highly consistent and reliable outputs are a few of the benefits that RPA has. These are the reasons why everyone from small organizations to big ones like Cognizant, Accenture, and Deloitte is employing RPA to automate their labour. Some prime applications of RPA include:
- Patient Registration.
- Scheduling appointments.
- Processing and Clearance of claims.
- Premium Information.
- Hiring shortlisted candidates
- Joining procedures of a new employee
- Payroll process
- Service Order Management
- Quality Reporting
5. Manufacturing & Retail
- Invoice Management
- Calculation of Sales
- License Renewal
- Certificate Registration
- Address Change
7. Banking & Finance
- KYC Process
- Activation of Cards
- Account setup and communication.
- Travel Booking
- Passenger Details
By placing automation tools at the user’s disposal, RPA makes way for even more substantial opportunities. With all the many conveniences that come with RPA; it is here to stay and pave the way for a digital transformation for enterprises across sectors.