Robotic process automation (RPA) is an emerging form of business process automation technology based on the notion of software robots and artificial intelligence (AI) workers.
RPA software automates repetitive, rules-based processes usually performed by people sitting in front of computers. It is an application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes.
As stated in Forbes, “in a recent research project on priorities in process and performance management, APQC, a business research institute, found that RPA was a nucleus of 69 percent of digital strategies”.
Having in mind that one of the main objectives of Digital Transformation (DT) is automation, the value of RPA technologies in DT initiatives is undoubtedly.
In addition, the rise of Artificial Intelligence through actionable examples, Image/Video Recognition, Text Analytics, Bots and Natural Language Processing (NLP), extends the reach of RPA in terms of capabilities and applicable scenarios.
We aspire the ambition of having a robot for each individual worker, enabling us to devote more time to serving customers or other higher-value work.
Benefits of RPA
With RPA, businesses can automate mundane rules-based business processes, enabling business users to devote more time to serving customers or other higher-value work.
RPA’s potential benefits are manifold. They can include reducing costs, lowering error rates, improving service, reducing turnaround time, increasing the scalability of operations, and improving compliance.
- Reduced costs: By automating tasks, cost savings of nearly 30% can be achieved over the output of productivity. Software robots also cost less than a full time employee.
- Better customer experience: Deploying RPA frees up your high-value resources for them to be put back on the front line defining your customer success.
- Lower operational risk: By eliminating human errors such as tiredness or lack of knowledge, RPA reduces the rate of errors thereby providing a lower level of operational risk.
- Improved internal processes: In order to leverage AI and RPA, companies are forced to define clear governance procedures. This in turn, allows for faster internal reporting, on-boarding and other internal activities.
- Does not replace existing IT systems: One of the biggest advantages of using a virtual workforce, or an RPA bot is that it does not require you to replace your existing systems. Instead, RPA can leverage your existing systems, the same way a human employee can.
Cognitive technologies extending RPA’s reach
Bots can perform only tasks with clear-cut, predetermined rules. “The integration of cognitive technologies with RPA makes it possible to extend automation to processes that require perception or judgment. With the addition of natural language processing, chat-bot technology, speech recognition, and computer vision technology, for instance, bots can extract and structure information from speech audio, text, or images and pass that structured information to the next step of the process” (Deloitte, Robotic process automation).
Cognitive RPA has the potential to go beyond basic automation to deliver business outcomes such as greater customer satisfaction, lower churn, and increased revenues.
RPA vendors address this need either by leveraging the Artificial Intelligence capabilities of Public Cloud vendors, like Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure Cognitive Services, or by self-implemented platforms.