30, May 2017
Looking back, when one thinks of all those science fiction movies that hit the screens with robots of varying sizes and shapes little did it occur to the human mind that robots would one day begin to dominate. But the fact is, robots have now taken over and have begun to evade all walks of life. Today, more sophisticated programs have been developed that replicate human intelligence in a manner that was unimaginable few years ago. Right from performing simple rudimentary tasks such as data entry, list management, or database management, bots have now moved on to do more sophisticated tasks such as writing literature or composing music. Gartner’s magic quadrant forecasts that the Robotic Process Automation software market will grow by 41% year over year to 2020. RPA is definitely a game changer and this technology has the potential to change the way we work.
Next, comes the question – what is RPA and how is it different from other process automation?
Though process automation has been around for a while, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a specific type of automation. Robotic Process Automation isn’t ‘robots’ in the physical sense. Instead, it makes use of a software with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine-learning capabilities to handle high volume, repeatable tasks that were previously performed by humans. In other words, RPA creates an intelligent software-based robotic digital workforce that automates the repetitive manual data-intensive work. Functionally trained robots are virtual workers that execute rule-based information processes, improving accuracy and efficiency.
Unlike traditional IT automation, RPA’s software has the ability to be aware and adapt to changing situations, exceptions, and circumstances. Once the RPA software is disciplined to capture and interpret the actions of specific processes in existing software applications, it can then manipulate data, trigger responses, initiate new actions and communicate with other systems autonomously.
The advantages of artificial intelligence and RPA are manifold. Besides the reduction in costs, lowering error rates, improving service, reducing turnaround time, and improving compliance there are other benefits as well.
(1) Better allocation of resources – While day-to-day tasks are taken care of by RPA, staff are free to apply their skills and abilities to support more complex and important business initiatives.
(2) Removal of routine repetitive tasks – Repetitive and rote tasks can be automated and this in a way boosts the morale of the employees. They can better utilize their skills to deal with more complex issues.
(3) Improved accuracy and reliability – With robots being programmed to follow set rules, there is little or no scope for error.
(4) Flexibility and scalability – Once the set of instructions is finalized and scheduled to be implemented at a particular time, it can be easily deployed. Moreover, it is also possible to reassign a process.
(5) Accuracy and improvement in first time processing – Most robots are transactional robots that can self-validate and have complex exception management strategies. Hence, they can be trusted to execute tasks more accurately.
(6) Speed to market – Responding to market dynamics, RPA makes it possible to automate new processes.
On one hand, the world is becoming digitally savvy and organizations have to act quickly with foresight and innovation to meet the growing customer expectations. On the other hand, RPA is taking the world by storm and is set to grow exponentially in the coming years. It is time for organizations to change their old ways of thinking and legacy systems and instead look at investing in technologies that help create holistic customer experiences.