What is RPA?

This guide will tell you what RPA is, why it’s important, and what it can do for your business.

RPA stands for “robotic process automation.” It refers to a category of software technologies that take advantage of the latest advances in the field of robotics to automate various aspects of your business. The secret is advanced artificial intelligence that can mimic the activity of a real human while interacting with applications.

RPA doesn’t refer to robots in a physical sense. Rather, they are software applications that, while they are only code, are still considered “robots” because they perform functions that a human employee would otherwise have to do. RPA software captures data from application sources and then interprets it.

There are three main categories of RPA. Here’s how they work.

Customized RPA

Customized RPA are programmed for very specific tasks. These RPA systems are highly scalable and reusable, which makes them extremely valuable…however, they may not be the right choice for all situations. Their drawback is that they will only be able to do a very specific set of tasks.

Screen Scraping & Web Scraping RPA

Some RPA are known as “screen scraping” or “web scraping” systems. These software systems are comprised of AI that can gather data from a customer’s computer, then synthesizing it and putting it into a document that’s easy to interpret.

One example of screen scraping RPA might be a bot that collects the text from messages sent by users, and aggregates it into a report to improve customer service. Another example would be software that records your screen while you complete a manual task, then outputs that data into an automation workflow.

Self-Developing RPA

For this type of RPA, a template is used to create a system designed for a specific purpose. Using the template, specialized web coders can design a robot for the task.

What Does RPA Do?

At its core, RPA allows employees to configure software designed to capture and interpret data from different applications. Some of the best and most popular uses for RPA include:

  • Processing Transactions:Tedious payroll functions that used to have to be complete by humans can now be automated with software robots. As an example, automatic payroll processing frees up staff and saves money by taking a time-consuming process and making it turnkey.
  • Manipulating Data: RPA can be used to capture and alter unstructured data according to certain variables. From creating and automatically organizing metadata from company documents to simple data entry tasks, RPA is perfect for any process involving the entry movement, storage, structuring, or alteration of data.
  • Triggering Responses: When one system needs to trigger a response, software robots can be set up to do the deed according to pre-set variables. For example, you could use robots to run a test environment to find bugs in a software system before it goes live to your customers.
  • Communicating with Other Digital Systems: For one system to communicate with another, bots make the process run on its own with minimal human intervention.

The Benefits of RPA

The benefits of RPA are endless. From making your company’s back office operations more efficient to massively reducing the occurrence of errors, automating your business with RPA allows you to turn more hard-earned revenue into profit. As your company becomes more efficient, the customer experience will improve as well.

By delegating time-consuming, error prone tasks to intelligent automation software, you can save an enormous amount of time and money. Not only will you increase overall operational efficiencies, but tasks will be completed with a lower error rate than if they had been done by human employees.

RPA should be looked at as a way to make companies better than ever, giving employees unique new opportunities to explore in the digital workforce. For example, digital transformation of the job market has led to a huge increase in opportunities for coding and tech jobs.

Final Thoughts

Part and full-time employees at various levels sometimes have some discomfort with RPA. After all, with time-consuming functions being performed by robotic software, your need for human employees may be reduced. While layoffs are something that always possible, RPA need not be seen as a force for “taking jobs.”

From business owners to employees, everyone has the potential to benefit from automation technologies like RPA. More companies that are thriving in their industry ultimately means more hiring…and RPA will empower businesses like yours to do exactly that. From cognitive automation to data processing, RPA designation of key tasks is the best way to take your business to the next level.