What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that uses software robots, or “bots,” to automate time-consuming, high-volume, repetitive business tasks previously done by humans, such as data entry or transaction processing. These processes are typically rule-based with defined inputs and outputs.
Key Components of Robotic Process Automation
Robotics Process Automation requires an RPA platform, which is a software that contains the key components needed to automate business workflows and processes. These core components typically include a:
- Process recorder. Software that observes a human action and mimics it, turning that action into a repeatable process for a bot to perform.
- RPA studio. A dashboard with a graphical user interface (GUI) where users can design and develop automated workflows.
- Bot runner. The software capable of running bots that are created. In practice, this is a virtual machine.
- Control center: The heart of any RPA implementation. The control center is used to control software bots, handle running schedules and manage bot activity.
How Robotic Process Automation Works
RPA streamlines operations by automating back-office and front-office processes. Through RPA, bots can execute low-level and repetitive — yet essential — business activities.
RPA makes this possible by pulling information from business IT systems and integrating with applications via an API to perform the required task. This can include:
- Capturing and interpreting data for processing transactions.
- Moving files and folders.
- Completing forms.
- Producing routine analysis and reporting.
Paired with advanced AI technologies, such as natural language processing, RPA can also perform complex, intricate processes. This is known as intelligent automation, which is the bringing together of RPA and AI.
Bots can either be run attended or unattended. If an RPA bot is attended, it will typically be supported by a human employee who will oversee the process. Attended bots can be triggered by system events but are generally used to complement existing processes where end-to-end automation is not possible. Unattended RPA bots don’t require human intervention. Instead, they operate on a set schedule or are triggered by logic programming. This means they can run 24/7, thereby offering greater operational efficiency.
Why Robotic Process Automation Matters
Repetitive, high-volume, low-level tasks can take up a significant amount of employee time. Businesses are keen to increase the use of automation to improve speed, quality and productivity. Removing the human element also mitigates the cost associated with manual errors.
Although large-scale automation efforts can require thousands of bots, Robotic Process Automation ROI can be substantial. RPA can be used to automate practically all rule-based, labor-intensive and data-driven business actions.
Where Robotic Process Automation Can Help
RPA has several applications. It can automate the processing of large amounts of data, facilitate records management and streamline back-office functions. In addition to general applications, there are also many industry-specific use cases:
- Standardize official documentation and maintain critical data and records.
- Invoice processing and accounts receivable/payable.
- Robotic Process Automation in life insurance can automate the claim filing process.
- Process large amounts of data quickly and error-free.
- Digitize and manage healthcare documents and patient records.
- Automate billing and claims processing.
- Inventory and warehouse management, including allocating and replenishing stock.
- Regulatory compliance through ensuring legalities are fulfilled.
- Data migration, that is moving data from old systems to new systems cost-effectively.
- Data entry and migration across multiple legacy systems.
- Document and form processing, including tax data reconciliation.
- Public sentiment analysis.
Benefits of Robotic Process Automation
Thanks to its broad application, RPA offers several benefits that enhance your operations and business outcomes. These include:
- Boosting productivity across the board. RPA enables more effective use of human resources. Your employees also become more productive thanks to being supported by what is often referred to as “digital workers.”
- Ensuring error-free operations. Automation mitigates the ever-present risk of human error, particularly when handling large amounts of data. By using bots, it’s also easier to achieve strict compliance standards.
- Enhancing efficiency and cost savings. RPA reduces your processing costs and streamlines operations, allowing staff to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on customer interactions. Modern RPA solutions are also what is called “low-code,” which means they don’t require coding skills and are quick and easy to get started.
- Improved scalability. RPA bots can be cloned, customized and rolled out as needed to take on business processes throughout an organization.
Challenges of Robotic Process Automation
Although RPA offers many benefits, taking advantage of this technology comes with challenges:
- Implementation costs. The upfront cost can be significant, especially for large-scale deployments. But thanks to its cost savings and process efficiencies, RPA can deliver you a significant ROI in a relatively short time frame.
- Business and IT alignment. RPA can result in a major change in the way your business operates. Effective change management is important to ensure a smooth transition and minimize business impact. This includes addressing any concerns the IT department might have.
- Maintenance. Implementing an RPA strategy is one thing, but it also needs to be maintained. This can be a challenge without a dedicated team to support it. One way to reduce that impact is to choose a cloud-based, easy-to-use RPA solution.
- Security. By design, bots need access to sensitive systems and data to perform their tasks. If Robotic Process Automation Security is not planned for with robust audit logging and careful management of RPA credentials, you may be exposed to the risk of data breach and reputational damage.
The Future of Robotic Process Automation
RPA initiatives have already proven their value in today’s fast-paced, digital enterprise landscape. RPA will undoubtedly become more integrated with everyday business functions going forward, enabling businesses to further reduce costs, improve efficiencies and enhance scalability and resilience.
The future of RPA is in integration with intelligent automation systems, delivering value that extends across the entire organization. Blending RPA with AI and machine learning tools would enable businesses to expand the benefits of their existing RPA initiatives by automating more complex tasks.
About Sutherland Robility
Robility – Sutherland’s innovative enterprise automation platform – makes it easy to modernize your workflows and maximize business outcomes through high-density bot design that allows multiple bots to operate on a single virtual machine. Leveraging high-efficiency features to digitize and structure data, Robility helps you manage complex processes, large volumes of information and disparate IT systems with minimal manual intervention.
Operating with the same low-code design framework as traditional RPA software but at a fraction of the licensing cost, Robility also offers you the simplicity of a system that doesn’t require new skill sets.
- AI-enabled data extraction.
- Business Process Management to enable workflow efficiencies.
- High-density RPA bot operation to optimize utilization.
- Real-time dashboard-driven monitoring.
About Sutherland Extract
Sutherland Extract is an intelligent data extraction platform that uses AI to read, identify, classify and extract meaningful data from documents, facilitating RPA functions without the need for human intervention.
Sutherland Extract uses Machine Learning, AI, and Natural Language Processing to achieve the highest possible digitization outcomes with industry-leading accuracy. It is easy to implement and seamlessly integrates with your existing applications and RPA platforms, solving the challenges of document-based workflows while remaining cost optimal.
Sutherland Extract features:
- Industry-leading accuracy.
- Optimized costs with a pay-per-consumption model.
- Re-training and experiential learning.
- Seamless integration with your existing applications.