Robotic process automation (RPA) applies specialized computer programs, known as software robots or “bots”, to automate and standardize repeatable business processes. Bots manage tedious tasks, freeing up time for employees to concentrate on more value-added tasks for an organization. What distinguishes these bots from other forms of process automation is that even non-technical employees can configure their own software robots to solve their automation challenges.
Companies of all sizes, across industries, are realizing tremendous benefits from RPA by applying it to business processes that traditionally involve routine, high-volume and high-velocity tasks. Often, that means relieving employees of tasks like data entry, information routing/retrieval and process monitoring.
Increased accuracy: Bots are extremely accurate and consistent, because they can instantly access data from existing databases, including ERP and ECM systems, along with business rule-driven algorithms to validate and data they input or process. This means that they are not only less prone to making mistakes– they are also more likely to catch errors and handle exceptions than human operators.
Increased productivity: Often, it is reduced cycles times and efficiency gains that drive the business case for RPA. Those efficiency gains result in a rapid return in investment, but the REAL business value from RPA comes from greater process control, more timely access to data and the elevation of the role of employees to contribute to strategic goals.
Lower IT overhead: Configuring a software robot doesn’t require programming skills. As a code-free technology, RPA allows non-technical staff to rely on UI-driven process designers to set up a bot—or record human user-driven tasks to automate a process by capturing specific steps in real time.
Better compliance: Bots follow the instructions they have been configured to follow and provide an instant audit trail for their actions. By institutionalizing compliance through automation, bots are able to meet even the strictest compliance standards, every time.
Reduced process bottlenecks: Bots can work autonomously 24/7 without requiring staff to manually trigger them to initiate a process. If a human is required to handle an exception, bots can alert operators to intervene, then learn from that interaction to further automate and streamline the process.
Boost ROI from existing tools/technologies: Unlike traditional automation, RPA doesn’t require extensive developer resources to integrate multiple systems or applications. Robots work across the presentation layer of existing applications, so that where APIs may not be immediately available, organizations don’t need to rely on developer resources to create integration with existing applications.
Empowered employees: While RPA is often presented as a threat to employees, the reality in most firms is that staff members of relieved of routing tasks in exchange for taking on more meaningful work. Bots enable workers to offload manual offload tasks like filling out forms, data entry and looking up information from websites, so workers can focus on strategy and revenue-producing activities.
One key challenge that RPA platforms must address is how to deal with information sourced from human operators that is inherently unstructured—essentially anything that isn’t already presented as a field within a digital form or derived from a structured source like a spreadsheet, database or ERP system.
In fact MOST of the data that has driven the explosive growth of information in the digital age fits this description—think of all the emails, texts, videos, Word docs, PDFs, etc. that are part of human interaction and communication.
MOST platforms that focus on providing RPA-driven scalability and repeatability are architected to deal with processes where structured data sources are assumed. Platforms like Artyl’s Transformation Platform, on the other hand, focus specifically on solving the problem of dealing with unstructured data like vendor invoices, sales orders and other back office-related documents, correspondence and data sources.
The same RPA benefits apply—but the challenges to be overcome represent the broader set of problems that companies typically face related to process bottlenecks.To explore how Intelligent Process Automation and data capture can help automate and accelerate operations for your back office and throughout your enterprise, contact your Artsyl Technologies representative.