A Beginner’s Tutorial to Robotic Process Automation

Categories :   Business Automation

According to Deloitte, over 50% of businesses surveyed are planning their “RPA Journey”, and 78% of those businesses plan on investing more money in RPA (Robotic Process Automation) in the next 3 years. In fact,  Forrester predicts that RPA will be a 2.9 billion dollar industry by 2021. While some may look at RPA as a replacement for tedious work normally done by humans, others argue that RPA allows humans to do more meaningful work.

Either way, the cost savings and benefits of RPA are quite clear, hence the global growth and increased adoption of automation software by small businesses all over the world, as well fortune 500 companies like GM, AT&T, Target, FedEx, and many more.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

In simple words, Robotic Process Automation or RPA is a software robot that emulates and performs monotonous human tasks without manual intervention. It is like a bot at work automating a business process.

What is RPA Used For?

RPA is mostly used to automate redundant business tasks, previously done by people, in efforts to improve efficiency. It feeds on logical input, works on the user interface, captures the data and transfers it to another application.

Basically, RPA is used for performing simple, monotonous and repetitive business tasks that a human performs in any business. When employees perform boring and repetitive tasks, such as data entry, they feel demotivated which in turn can negatively impact their productivity. Also, it is impractical to employ an employee for 24 hours to do such work.

In such a scenario, RPA comes to the rescue.

It replaces human employee with a software so the employee can perform more productive, challenging and interesting tasks like decision making.

Although, Forrester also predicted that by the end of 2019, 10% of US jobs will be lost to RPA automation, 3% RPA jobs will be created too.

Why Is RPA Needed?

There are a number of reasons a business should deploy RPA as it comes packed with numerous benefits. An organization may need RPA for several reasons other than just business process automation.

RPA is needed for the following reasons:

  1. Reduce costs – Automation tools can run 24 hours a day and do not require offices, human resources, and hourly wages.
  2. To boost employee morale – by engaging him/her in more intelligent and less boring activities
  3. To improve customer service – when employees are motivated to work, it reflects in a business’ customer service quality.
  4. To increase business scale and gain competitive advantage – faster processing done by RPA helps in scaling a business to a higher level and gives a competitive advantage to a business.
  5. To achieve overall higher quality – less errors, increased productivity, improved employee morale, all of these lead to an overall higher quality of a business.

Professors Leslie Willcocks and Mary Lacity have studied hundreds of organizations and conducted research to understand the benefits of RPA.

According to them, “RPA has three distinctive features compared to other automation tools.” These are:

  1. RPA is easy to configure – Unlike other automation tools like BPM (Business Process Management), RPA doesn’t require any pre-coding knowledge to be configured. Any SME can configure RPA without requiring to learn coding skills.
  2. RPA software is non-invasive – RPA software tools are non-invasive and non-disruptive. They do not change or invade the existing IT system of a company and rather sit on top of the organization’s technical process. Similar to how a human functions by navigating between the applications and working on user interface, RPA does just that.
  3. RPA is enterprise-safe – RPA is not deployed locally on a machine. It works on centralized IT set up and that distinguishes it from other scripting softwares.

What Are the Benefits of RPA?

More and more CIOs are rooting for RPA because of its several benefits. Benefits and uses of RPA include the following:

  1. Significant Cost Saving – RPA saves a huge amount of cost for any business. It costs much less than hiring an employee to do the same set of tasks.
  2. Faster Processing – RPA works faster than a human employee. (A study found out that RPA performed the task in 30 minutes that earlier took about 2 days.)
  3. Less Error – Since RPA works on standard logic, the probability of making errors reduces to a great extent.
  4. Better Regulatory Compliance – As said above, RPA works on the logic and data fed to it, hence there are minimal chances of not complying with the standard rules and regulations.
  5. Better Customer Service – When a business deploys RPA, it frees many of its employees who can then work on customer related services. This is especially true for businesses that receive lot of customer enquiries.
  6. Higher Quality – Due to all the reasons mentioned above, RPA ensures an overall higher level of quality for your organization, also giving it a competitive advantage.

A List of RPA Tools:

There are many RPA tools in the market and their number is only increasing with time. In this article, we will focus on the main RPA tools and although all the three tools offer similar services, they all are still unique in the solutions they offer. According to an article by KPMG, RPA solutions can be categorized within one of the three classes – basic process automation, enhanced process automation, autonomic/cognitive. Most of these RPA tools also offer several kinds of RPA certifications that will help the learners in securing RPA jobs in the future.

The top three RPA tools are the following:

  1. Blue Prism – Blue Prism offers connected-RPA that uses AI to offer innovative solutions to its customers. As per Blue Prism, “Connected-RPA is about establishing a Connected, Entrepreneur Enterprise by putting powerful AI and automation technologies into the hands of business leaders to impact the outcomes they desire.”Blue Prism can be used for – Text & Speech translation, OCR & Computer Vision, Cryptographic & Blockchain Technology, Understanding Language & Emotion, machine Learning Models & Analytics, and Elastic Search & Text Analytics.Blue Prism RPA Certifications – Blue Prism offers two kinds of RPA certifications – partner certification and user certification.
  2. Automation Anywhere – In words of Automation Anywhere, “Only Automation Anywhere Enterprise combines consumer-like usability with enterprise-class reliability, and security for RPA that empowers [your] workforce to automate on their own. ”Automation Anywhere RPA works for insurance, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing business sectors. It’s RPA solution is intuitive, secure and scalable, intelligent and connected, and open and integrated.Automation Anywhere RPA Certifications – Automation Anywhere has set up Automation Anywhere University where they offer a wide range of RPA tutorials, short courses and training programs.
  3. UiPath – Uipath offers UiPath Studio – the most essential component of in the UiPath platform. The UiPath Studio features a rich collection of pre-built activities, integrates with several programming languages, and promotes ease-of-use, scalability and efficiency. Their entire product suite comprises of UiPath Studio, Orchestrator and Robot.UiPath Studio digitizes the business process, Orchestrator deploys, manages and monitors and UiPath Robot executes the automation. On their website, UiPath has published a guide on finding your RPA journey.UiPath RPA Certifications – UiPath has established UiPath Academy where they offer RPA trainings as well as RPA certifications.

In conclusion, RPA will drive the future of automation. As more and more CIOs prefer RPA, it has become essential for businesses to automate their processes to achieve higher results.