Choosing the Right Robot: Three Kinds of Robotic Process Automation

According to a recent report from Blue Prism, nearly 80 million jobs in the United States and 15 million jobs in the United Kingdom are good candidates for robotic process automation (RPA)

According to a recent report from Blue Prism, nearly 80 million jobs in the United States and 15 million jobs in the United Kingdom are good candidates for robotic process automation (RPA). Rather than replacing or eliminating these jobs, robotic process automation is a good fit to handle the monotonous tasks that eat up an organization’s valuable time and energy. Those tasks will be handled by fleets of software robots that allow skilled human workers to focus on the kind of high-value, creative work that only they can do.

Smart Process Platform’s like Artsyl’s docAlpha allow you to rapidly, without coding, create these software RPA “robots” in order to power process improvement.

One example of how RPA can apply to a common business process is accounts payable automation. The most common tasks associated with a routine function like processing vendor/supplier payments include handling/filing/matching paper and digital orders, invoices and receipts, entering transaction data into ERP systems and routing data/documents to stakeholders for approval. The majority of the routine tasks in this process are perfect targets for automation, including document filing, matching and data entry—including both digital and scanned paper files.

With intelligent, adaptable capture systems in place to extract structured data from non-structured documents, organizations can apply business rules to their data and documents to monitor, manage and automate tons of business processes. The “robots” involved are simply the intelligent software tools that have been designed to adapt to a wider variety of business conditions without requiring a lot of custom coding or manual intervention.

The three roads to Robotic Process Automation

Most companies today have the basic systems in place they need to intelligently automate their business process and eliminate inefficient manual tasks—but that lack the connective tissue and the intelligence to get the most out of those systems. Enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) have been adopted by most businesses to handle their structured data; Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECMs) are typically leveraged to manage unstructured data sources like business documents. Companies rely on all sorts of other industry- or department-specific systems to support their roles today. The trick is how to make the most of those systems.

Blue Prism, in a recent whitepaper, outlines three approaches that companies have taken to achieve robotic process automation for common tasks:

  • User-focused approaches apply automation to repeatable, individual, tactical tasks
  • IT-focused approaches apply automation to simplify routine programming/integration tasks to increase IT responsiveness
  • Enterprise-focused approaches empower IT staff and create adaptable, configurable (as opposed to programmable) solutions to automate routine, individual tasks

In reality, the first two approaches described by Blue Prism have evolved into the third approach, so that more power is put into the hands of non-technical staff to ‘teach’ systems to perform tasks like ‘reading’ a document and extracting information.

At the same time, the tasks that IT needs to be involved in, from a deployment, integration and support standpoint, have been streamlined and automated to reduce the need for coding or customization. This ‘codeless’ approach results in self-learning systems that can leverage the knowledge and guidance of their human counterpart, without the need for an IT or programmer intermediary to translate their instructions into something the system can understand.

For more information about how to apply robotic process automation to your accounts payable, sales order process or other business processes, contact your Artsyl Technologies representative.

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