Robotic process automation is not a new concept, it has been around for decades. But with the rise of AI and machine learning, it has become more powerful and widely used in the workplace.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses, and communicating with other digital systems.
Robotic process automation can be used to automate tasks that are typically carried out by humans. It works by imitating the actions of a human user, such as opening and interacting with applications, filling out forms, and so on.
It is one of these technologies consisting of software robots to execute tasks usually humans perform by interacting with different digital systems (e.g. ERP, CRM, and other applications).
Employees nowadays use a multitude of business applications in their daily operations. Some are legacy systems that do not integrate with other main applications. Manually transferring data between devices is the standard.
Employees may use software robots to record themselves doing these manual and tedious activities through many digital systems. Later, automated bots can mimic the reported behavior by communicating with programs in the same way as an employee does, but in a more effective and reliable manner.
RPA robots never get tired, are always consistent, and make no mistakes.
Major vendors are heavily investing in AI and ML to automatically identify internal processes that could be automated. They will analyze how employees are conducting their daily work and suggest improvements. We advise to follow the latest RPA trends to stay up to date with the latest market changes.
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Robotic Process Automation Examples
There are many robotic process automation examples, but some of the most common include automating tasks such as data entry, data extraction, email processing, ERP data entry, payroll processing, employee onboarding, data analytics, customer service handling, and invoice processing.
Some robotic process automation use cases are:
1. Automated customer service
Automated customer service is one of the most popular applications of robotic process automation.
In the past, self-service technologies have failed to provide a satisfactory level of service for customers. However, with advances in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) over the past few years, we are now able to automate customer service.
2. Data entry
Data entry is another common application of robotic process automation. By automating the data entry process, businesses can improve accuracy and efficiency while freeing up employees to focus on other tasks.
Data entry is a very tedious job. It involves typing in information from one format to another, usually from paper documents to online databases. Data entry work is also susceptible to human errors that can have a significant impact on the accuracy, time, and cost of the process. Nowadays, data entry work can be partially or fully automated with robotic process automation.
3. Accounts payable
Accounts payable is another common business process that can be automated with robotic process automation.
Accounts payable is a very important task for any company. It usually involves the human verification of invoices, looking for discrepancies, and calculating payments. But there are more efficient ways to handle this process.
Robotic process automation can be used in accounts payable to automate the majority of these tasks and reduce human error.
4. Accounts receivable
Accounts receivable is a business process that can be automated. Accounts receivable automation software can save businesses time and energy by quickly processing invoices and payments, reducing the need for manual data entry.
5. Order processing
Robots are capable of performing monotonous, repetitive tasks. They work tirelessly and can perform tasks with precision. This makes them a cost-efficient addition to any workforce.
A robotic process automation platform can take care of the repetitive, mundane processes that humans would otherwise have to do manually and can make it possible for humans to focus on more strategic tasks.
Types of Robotic Process Automation
There are 3 major types of robotic process automation: attended automation, unattended automation, and hybrid RPA. Each type has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, but it is important to remember that these types exist only due to practical constraints.
- Attended automation
It is a type of automation in which the bot or agent passively resides on the user’s machine and is invoked by the user at specific times.
- Unattended automation
It is a great way to reduce the workload of back-office employees. Unattended automation can be started using the following methods: data input in a specific location, bot initiated, orchestrator initiated, and specified intervals.
- Hybrid RPA
Bots, both attended and unattended, are combined to provide automation for both back and front office activities. This enables process automation from start to finish.
How Many Types of Robots Are There in RPA?
RPA uses different types of bots including Tasks bots, meta bots, and IQ bots. Each of these types of bots is used depending on the automation needs. Task bots automate the replication of rule-based tasks and the processing of structured data.
Meta bots can perform visual captures that are used for front-end automation. IQ bots extract information from semi-structured and unstructured data.
What Technology is Used in RPA?
Robotic process automation uses advanced cognitive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Computer Vision in order to help organization automate their most time-consuming data entry processes.
This technology does not use physical robots; instead, it employs computer bots to handle high-volume, repetitive time-consuming tasks that previously required humans to complete.
The Future of Robotic Process Automation
The future of robotic process automation will be in the form of intelligent automation. Intelligent automation will be able to make decisions based on data and the environment around it. This will allow it to take on more complex tasks and grow with the company as they need more help with their processes.
The estimated market size will reach USD 6.10 billion by 2027. During this pandemic, organizations are more than ever in need to automate back and front end office processes, and taking into consideration the advantages, there is no doubt it will continue its high adoption rate in all organizations sizes.