Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – All you need to Know
What is Robotic Process Automation:
I have been researching and reading about Robotic Process Automation since 2014. In this post I’m going to explain all my understanding and researches about RPA in a layman’s language. So that anybody who reads this post will get a clear understanding about RPA.
Robotic Process Automation or RPA (now a days for everything there is an acronym) in simple words means:
“robots are going to do the tasks which are now performed by humans”.
Don’t worry not literally as in the below pic 🙂
Let me now go in detail:
- When I say robots are going to do the human tasks that doesn’t mean physical robots are going to sit infront of the computer and do the tasks, it means a software application that will replicate the actions or tasks exactly the way how a human does.
- RPA will automate low value clerical activities performed by humans. Most importantly RPA is only for clerical process automation and not for all human activities.
Now this would have suddenly rang a bell – humans are going to lose jobs!??
Answer is Not Exactly!
Ofcourse there will be some changes in the way how we have been working so far. RPA is going to open up new opportunities for human workers. Robotic Process Automation is a way of Artificial Intelligent workers performing the tasks.
We should be smart enough to identify those new opportunities and prepare ourselves to grab it as and when it arises (Infact now is that right time).
Why to automate repetitive tasks/process:
When a job gets monotonous people lose interest but not robots!, then why do humans have to do those monotonous, low value adding, repetitive jobs?
Humans can do much better interesting jobs!
When something is delivered without interest, chance more for errors. In case of robots there is no such complications as robots doesn’t have interests unlike humans.
Industrial experts substantiate the automation for below reasons:
- To avoid human errors and to reduce human efforts.
- To saves time and improve productivity, accuracy and consistency.
- Enhance the business analytics and easy standardization of workflow.
- To have a frictionless delivery of tasks.
- Complete Audit trail for any kind of compliance purposes.
- Cost reduction.
Two examples from the past:
Ok! now think it in this way, when computers were introduced there were objections from many group of people around world. People were saying “computers are going to take away the human jobs” but was it so??
One of the biggest revolutions that has ever happened in the history was ‘Books to Computers’. Now I don’t have to explain anything more about the billions of opportunities computers created. How computers have changed the word!
People who were smart and fast enough to adapt to computers grabbed the opportunities while others were busy protesting.
Opportunities didn’t stop there, it was keep following form then. I would want to take one more simple example from the past:
Microsoft Excel has been a fantabulous application and it’s a bread and butter for millions of people around the world. But in excel also people does monotonous, low value adding, repetitive jobs, so whats next??
They got paid well and grew in their career (me too have the similar experience) while others were still struggling with untidy monotonous jobs in Excel.
So what I’m trying to make you understand is Robotic Process Automation is one such golden opportunity!
Now lets come out of that era of Excel Formulas, Macros and VBA, world has gone further from there!
For example who likes to sit and process 100s of invoices everyday throughout their life?? No-one right!! So what next??
RPA is going to be that change. Robots will do those kind of jobs exactly the way how a human does.
That’s why I was saying don’t worry it’s not you and me going to lose the job; it’s a bell ringing for people who are tired of doing monotonous clerical jobs. Its time for them to prepare themselves for the new opportunities.
So now you might be thinking what are those new opportunities that I’m keep saying and how to find those opportunities.
Before we get to discuss about the opportunities that RPA going to create, its required to clearly understand –
How Robotic Process Automation works!
First let me say the good news – RPA is Code Free! Hurrah! Yes RPA doesn’t need a single piece of code or need any programming skills to automate a process.
Then how does RPA work? – RPA works using Demonstrative Steps.
As I mentioned above it’s a way of Artificial Intelligent or rather virtual workers performing the activities as exactly as human does.
Lets take a business process example, when a new joiner comes in the team how he/she gets trained to perform a task, the same way these virtual workers also need to be trained step by step.
Who are the best people to train the new joiner? ofcourse not the IT engineers!
Its the SMEs and Process Experts.
Similarly the best people to train the RPA robots also are the Business operations people. The subject matter experts and the process experts.
And the best part with virtual workers are Once trained then lifetime permanent worker, no attrition unlike human workers 🙂
Below is an example of how Robotic Process Automation works in an Order Management Process.
Process experts with no programming skill can become RPA experts in few weeks. As per studies, few weeks of training on RPA tools can make operations people to independently automate process.
List of Robotic Process Automation Tools
Below are some of the leading Robotic Process Automation vendors providing the RPA tools to automate the processes.
The term Robotic Process Automation was invented by Blue Prism, that itself proves they are the pioneers in Robotic Process Automation software development. Blue Prism has been recognized by the American IT research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. They already have more than 100 customers around the world and partnered with biggest giants like NHS, Accenture, Hexaware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Capgemini, IBM etc.
- Blue Prism
Highly recommended to download the Free Brochure on Blue Prism product overview.
They are one of the most leading RPA vendors in the industry, already providing robotic process automation solutions to companies like SAP, EY, J.P.Morgan, Deloitte, Accenture, Capgemini, BBC etc.
Below are 3 Robotic Process Automation products provided by UiPath:
- UiPath Studio
- Front Office and Back Office – UiPath Robots
- UiPath Orchestrator
Automation Anywhere is another top RPA vendors providing powerful and user-friendly robotic process automation tools to automate tasks of any complexity. They are partnered with companies like EMC2, KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture, Genpact, Infosys etc.
Below is the robotic process automation product by Automation Anywhere:
- Automation Anywhere Enterprise
Pegasystems is a software company develop strategic applications for sales, marketing, services and operations. They have a wide variety of products designed for different industries like Financial Services, Insurance, Healthcare, Communications, and Government etc.
The advantage with Pega’s robotic process automation tool is that, they already have industry leading BPM (Business Process Modeling) platforms and recently acquired OpenSpan RPA software company. Which makes Pega a complete solution, enterprises no longer have to choose between automation vs. digital transformation.
- Robotic Automation & Intelligence
Kofax is a leading software company owns the trademark for “First Mile” of customer engagement.
They have a Robotic Process Automation and Web Data Integration product called Kofax Kapow. Which is highly scalable and flexible to provide any kind of robotic automation and artificial intelligence capabilities.
- Kofax Kapow
NICE is a leading RPA solutions providers in the industry having solid 6 customer success stories. Their Free ebook on Robotic Process Automation Case Studies and RPA Infographics provides more insights about the company and RPA.
Another pretty straight forward and a new Robotic Process Automation vendor who operates on 3 simple steps automation.
Performance audit, Work automation and Technology Transformation.
9. Novayre Solutions
Novayre Solutions is a Spanish software company specialized in software development, integration and automation. They have been providing business intelligence and automation solutions since 2008. Novayre Solutions developed a Robotic Process Automation with a unique name called Jidōka, which means “automation with a human touch” in Japanese. The whole idea behind this RPA tool is to replicate the human behavior using computer applications.
Now that we know some of the leading Robotic Process Automation vendors, the next step is to decide which tool to choose. Its a hard decision! since all most all the RPA vendors are providing the similar automation solution.
Robotic Process Automation Tool selection Checklist:
First and foremost is the technology in which RPA tool has been built, like Microsift .NET, IBM Mainframe, Java, web etc. The tool has to be platform independent, considering many of the organizations perform their day to day tasks outside the local desktop using Citrix or Virtual machines etc. So the automation solution should be able to support any application and platform.
Next most important feature is the RPA tool’s user interface. A complex user interface will delay the process of implementation and increase the learning curve and adaptability. A more user friendly interface like drag and drop, auto capture, image recognition etc. would be better.
It is important to know how effectively and easily the robots can be managed considering these robots are going to be replacing your human workforce. There should be a high level of visibility and control in terms of process monitoring, process change, development, re-use etc.
I would say security is one of the most important factor to be considered. How safe are the robots when compared to the humans? After all robots/RPA tools are also a piece of software, so how much more security controls can be implemented, test the code rigidly and lock it up, the better. Automation solutions that supports the compliance process (like HIPPA – For Healthcare industry, SOX – Financial Sector, PCI DSS – Credit card related organization etc.) are some of the factors to be considered in terms of security.
Different Robotics Process Automation Jobs
Robotics Process Automation jobs cab be broadly classify into 3 major categories.
- RPA Developers/Architects
- Robotic Process Automation Consultants/Specialists
- RPA Leads/Managers
You can find more relevant RPA jobs and job descriptions here
There are many more topics related to RPA are on the way to be published, like the ones below.
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- Different Robotic Process Automation Job Opportunities
- List of companies using robotic process automation
- Best institutes providing trainings on RPA tools.
- RPA related books review.
- The Ultimate Guide to RPA. etc.
Let me conclude this RPA section in simple words “Give robots’ job to robots and humans’ jobs to humans”
Please let me know what are other topics you would like to know about Robotic Process Automation in the comments section below. I’m more than happy to answer it!