What is Robotic Process Automation?
Here we provide the beginners guide to Robotic Process Automation. In simple terms, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that allows an organization to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. They are software robots capable of emulating or mimicking most human tasks to improve efficiency.
Consider a scenario where a human has to perform the same task day and night, 30 days a month, such as data entry, won’t he feel demotivated, affecting his productivity? In such a case, RPA comes to our rescue. Some of the everyday tasks which can be done using RPA include making automated calculations, performing transactions, addressing queries and maintaining records. So now we, humans can focus on more strategic and long terms tasks that requires human touch.
What is the difference between Test Automation and Robotic Process Automation?
Often terms like Test Automation and Robotic Process Automation is used interchangeably. There is a striking difference between the two. Test Automation existed even before RPA was known to mankind.
Here is the difference between the two.
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What are the benefits of using RPA?
The various benefits of RPA include:
1. Improved Accuracy: When performing a manual task that is mostly repetitive, there is always a chance of a human error. As RPA works on a set of logic and data fed to it, the possibility of developing an error is reduced to a great extent. Also, the bots are reliable; it provides accurate results and can work 24×7.
2. Significant Cost Savings: One of the significant advantages of using Robotic Process Automation is reduced operational cost. According to the latest report published by NASSCOM, domestic businesses can cut costs by up to 65% through the implementation of RPA.
3. Scalability: With the implementation of RPA, companies can make tactical decisions to either scale up or down the operations as required. Also, as per requirements, additional robots can be deployed with minimal cost depending on the workload.
4. Better Regulatory Compliance: There is a minimum chance of not complying with the standard rules and regulations as RPA works on the data and logic fed to it.
5. Improved Customer Satisfaction: Customers are happy since they are provided with quality content as accuracy is maintained, and operational risk is minimum. This is more important for companies that receive customer queries frequently.
RPA is capable mimicking many of the human interface actions. Some of the common actions include scraping browsers, copy and paste data, perform calculations and many more.
Myths around RPA
1. It will replace Humans Jobs
There is a misconception that RPA will take away human jobs and cause unemployment. The basic fact is that RPA robots cannot entirely replace humans. Whenever a new technology comes up, humans tend to perceive it as a threat. RPA has been developed to reduce human efforts and automate mundane tasks, thus improving efficiency. Also, jobs opportunities are certainly evolving, individuals must upskill and reskill themselves due to new and emerging technological roles.
2. Coding Skills are required for RPA
Since RPA used logic and data, many individuals feel that it has a complex interface; hence one must have programming knowledge. Usually, RPA developers require programming skills as they develop the back end system.
Though RPA is a tech-based solution, one must get trained on how the software works on the front end and how one should troubleshoot any issue if it arises. RPA uses drag and drop features to link steps in a process; hence code is automatically generated at the back end when a user drags and drops a new task currently in operation.
3. RPA is expensive
This is not true. The cost of implementing a RPA software might be high, but companies need to see the long term ROI associated with it. Also, you can utilize RPA 24×7 without a break. As more and more complex business processes are automated, it results in cost reduction with improved ROI.
In conclusion, RPA is going to be the future of automation and with advancement in technology it is surely going to revolutionize the ways of doing business.
And RPA is definitely cheaper if you consider the other alternative — taking the traditional system integration approach where the total costs and project duration are so much higher.
For RPA, the first day is its worst day.
For SI, the first day is its best day.
Now, which one will you choose?
4. Robots are 100% accurate
It can be said that the accuracy of the robots depends of the robot developer. This can be concluded because the RPA robots does not have cognitive capabilities as they will execute a set of instructions that has been pre-configured. Hence it can be said that if the robots have been incorrectly configured or if the robotic operations are erroneous than its difficult to prevent the errors.
5. Robots can automate everything
Certainly this is not true as there are strict guidelines on the processes that can be run for automation
Some of these criteria include:
- High transaction volumes
- Low exceptions
- Stable and well-defined processes
- Low system change
- Structured data and readable electronic inputs
- Also it does not mean that automating through RPA will help get real benefits as the underying process may be inefficient and must be reengineered.
6. Robots can be left on its own
It is difficult to realise in practice as you will require a robot or process control who has been given the responsibility to monitor the robots handle the various exceptions, check robot performance and support other activities.
It is also necessary that a business continuity plan is established as eventually robots tend to break down. A contingency plan will help in such a case.
Which brings us back to the earlier point that robots will never eliminate humans from the workforce.
7. FTE stands for Full Time Equivalent, not Full Time Employee
It determines fundamentally how you view your digital or virtual workforce.
A lot of organizations make the mistake of viewing the robot as a one-for-one (or better still, one-for-many) replacement of their existing employees.
Unfortunately, it does not work this way.
Commonly, we find that the average employee in a typical organization handles a multitude of tasks. Out of these tasks, some can usually be automated using RPA and related technologies.
However, there remains tasks which require the employee to handle. Typically, these are tasks that require human judgement, are not rule-based, or requires dealing with non-digitised or non-structured data.
Accordingly, post automation, a lot of companies find themselves unprepared to handle the delicate issue of retraining or redeploying the affected employees.
Don’t make this mistake. Involve your Human Resource and Corporate Communications departments, and be ready with your change management and communications plan.
8. A RPA developer does not require programming skills
Many vendors are positioning RPA as a simple and easy to use software. One which any end users, subject matter experts or non-IT personnel with no programming skills can use to design and develop their own automated solutions.
Accordingly, it is not uncommon to come across tenders that specifically calls for a solution that caters for users with all levels of IT proficiency including users whom have little to no programming background.
Unfortunately, such approach often leads to the path of disillusion. For example, it has been widely cited that the failure rates of RPA initiatives are anywhere between 30 and 50 per cent.
By clarifying some of the common misconceptions around RPA, we hope this helps to enhance your understanding of what RPA really is. And to empower you to deploy RPA within your own organisations to great(er) effect. Know more by visiting our website https://whitehatlink.com/