In this Robotic Process Automation RPA Tutorial, we will learn the following.
What is RPA?
RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. Let’s try to understand each word separately.
‘Robotic’– It means a ‘machine’ resembling a human being and able to perform certain human movements and functions. In software terms, a program that is able to perform certain human actions on software, for example, searching flight details, and finds the day when the tickets cost is lowest and informs the user to buy the ticket.
‘Process’– Here process means Business processes, for example in a Bank website, if a user wants to know his account balance and transfer some amount to another account, then he has to go through certain processes like login to the website using the correct user id or password, then OTP generation processes, and so on.
‘Automation’– Automation means the above processes are executed automatically, or executed when a particular event is triggered.
In simple words, Robotic process automation or RPA is a form of business process automation that handles repetitive business processes using software bots.
In Robotic Process Automation, specialized computer programs are used which are called ‘bots’, they are the same as human robots but they are not working on computers physically. They execute certain events on a system for example clicking on a link, add products into the cart, change the quantity, and calculate the price and note down the result.
It’s just like human bots are mimicking the user actions, but with more accuracy and greater speed than a human.
Advantages of Robotic Process Automation
RPA plays a big role in organizations where a huge number of data has to be entered into a system. It works like a charm, thousands of records are inserted in the system within a minute and without any human interaction. It was not so quick before RPA comes into the picture.
RPA vendors UIPath estimate 25–60% cost savings due to RPA roll-out. Bots are working 24/7 which no human can work. Humans take leaves, break between work, and also switch the organizations. Whereas once a bot is developed it can give its services as long as the service is running.
To execute some processes we may need more than one employee is needed. In terms of Bot, its easy to mimic the role of Multiple employees. So isn’t it a good Employee with a lesser cost to the company
Quality & Accuracy
Bots are designed in such a way, where the possibility of error or defect is very less, whereas if a human is performing the same task again and again there might be a chance of errors.
Bots are reliable and provide accurate and quality results on every Run with detailed reports of the run. Whereas it’s not possible for a human to keep minor details every time.
Bots work the same every time whether it is in the first run or in the last run. It gives consistent results without taking a break. No human can beat the consistency of a Bot.
Due to the ability to access data from different resources, RPA improves the quality of analytics, which helps in decision making and overall improvement of process execution
Increased Employee Productivity
Bots are smart enough to complete their work within time, with super speed and with quality. Due to this, organizations have started providing different tasks to their employees rather than engaging them into repetitive or data entry kind of work. Employees feel more energetic because now their brain is utilized in some real work and not in the boring data entry type of work. Employees can be involved in customer relationship management or customer interaction and provide valuable services to their organization.
Satisfy Customer needs
When customers are getting their required work done with ease and within time, with quality, they start trusting the vendor or the organization. Customer satisfaction is increased and they start providing more work to the vendor.
Multiple Systems support
RPA is a game-changer, it is helping businesses to co-ordinate and collaborate the information flow from different systems and technologies. Different tools and technologies is not a barrier to RPA execution. The following are the technologies supported by RPA, as well as RPA can be used in Mobile based application automation as well.
RPA can be applied in almost every industry and it has the ability to perform a wide range of tasks.
RPA utilization is growing rapidly in the following industries.
- Retail Industry
A typical use of RPA in the Banking & Finance industry is, banks have to provide information on so many queries and questions every passing day for example account details, transaction details, user login, balance inquiry, and many more. Due to RPA, it is very easy to meet deadlines and provide the answer to every query.
Better IT Support and Management.
Due to RPA, it is now possible to give resolutions to repetitive tasks of service desk people. Now Service desk guy is getting involved in more specific tasks where the human brain is required, while the repetitive tasks are handled by RPA bots. For example, a typical task of a bot is to handle a Login issue, where the end-user forgot his password, and to reset it a Bot is helping the user. Such kind of repetitive issues are very well managed by RPA, and freeing up support engineers to do some other high priority tasks and help the business to generate more revenue.
Good Candidates of RPA?
RPA is a scalable technology, it can be used by different industries and departments. Along with the stated benefits of RPA, it is also called a Multi-Purpose solution.
The following are good candidates of RPA
- Consistent and routine
- High volume
- Prone to human error
- Limited in requiring a person to make a decision
- Manual data entry
In many cases, RPA can provide instant benefits to core business processes including:
- Invoice management
- Inventory management
- Report creation
- Employee status changes
- Vendor management
- New hire recruitment and onboarding
- Accounts receivable and accounts payable
- Software installations
- Updating CRM data
- Data migration
- Inventory management
For example, after the onboarding of an employee to a company, a mail should be sent to all the stakeholders with relevant information about the new employee. A bot can minimize this manual time of HR person by 50%, and help the HR to involve in more human resources tasks.
Tools available for RPA and comparison
The following are the top tools that are used widely for Automation needs by the maximum software industries.
- UI Path
- Blue Prism
- Automation anywhere
- Work Fusion
Check our detailed post on Best RPA Tools in the market.
Limitations of RPA
RPA is in demand, and it is growing by every passing day. Different industries are now preferring RPA to eliminate human participation from repetitive kind of work, and adopting RPA so that they can delegate only human dependent tasks to their employees, and utilizing bots for repetitive, high volume, and rule-based tasks.
Despite the many benefits, we should not overlook the limitations of RPA. There are some areas that cannot be selected as good candidates for automation. They are below
- Any process that needs human judgment to process: For example, if a business wants to automate a process of sending gift cards to their customers through email. In this case, if the gift value cannot be the same for every customer or gift value to be decided by the marketing manager based on his interaction with the customer and as per the choice of every customer. Then it’s better to do this process manually because it highly depends on human judgment.
- Any process which has data which is unstructured: For automation, data needs to be in a structured form, automation works on rule-based processes, for example, if certain data is to be accepted in simple text format but every time it is received in different formats like images, pdfs or in special characters or some time in Voice format, due to this undefined nature of the data rules can not be defined, and this kind of processes is not recommended to do through RPA.
- Any process which has a non-digital input source: A process that is taking data in the scanned format then that data can not be extracted from the image and cant be fit in any rule. This kind of process cant be automated.
RPA cant be applied to complex processes, certain processes are complex in terms of the time of completion, multiple input sources, multiple and complex logic of calculation which requires deep logic creation, its not easy for frequent compilation. This kind of process is avoided.
Future of RPA
- RPA is aiming to capture automation business for IoT, Big Data.
- Mobile automation is also in demand which includes android, iPhone devices.
- Cloud computing is one of the big captures in the market, which requires RPA in huge demand.
- RPA is making a good response with machine learning where it is utilized in simple and repetitive kind of processes.
- With the help of RPA Artificial intelligence and cognitive intelligence are helping to make better decisions in processes
Disadvantages of RPA
Some of the major drawbacks of Robotic Process Automation software are given below:
Job Insecurity among the employees, since RPA is almost doing 60-80% of tasks within time and without any error, there is a huge impact on the human role in the organizations. People think that now their work can be done by a robot and their skills are not utilized anymore.
Initial cost: RPA tools are costly at the startup, buying a license and setting up the entire framework needs skill full people, and time which directly impacts the overall project cost.
Tool learning: It requires new skills and a new mindset, which again impacts the overall success of the automation.
Employee resistance: in any organization, it is difficult to impose a new process or any new tool especially that time when employees feeling insecure about the job, it takes some time to adopt new changes.
Tool Selection: Automation success totally depends on the right tool if it is selected at right time, most of the automation fails because they are not able to select the right tool in the initial stages of automation, and proper feasibility study is not done. In such cases, automation gets started easily but it starts failing in the middle of the automation phase. So in such cases, either the entire process is skipped or a new automation strategy is defined to capture the process in alignment with the selected tool.
Not choosing the correct Candidates of Automation: Some time automation is started without going deep into the process complexity, no detailed feasibility study is done, like with how much system process is interacting with, whether the technology is compatible with the tool or not, if there is too much human interaction involved and too much use of non-digital inputs, such scenarios make automation a flop. In the end, the organization ends up with a loss of time and money.
We have covered what is RPA, advantages, disadvantages, limitations, tools of RPA, etc., in this post. If you have any questions, please feel free to let us know in the comment section.