Is it time for an integrated automation platform for RPA?

This article explains the concept of scaling and operating robotic process automation (RPA) using an integrated automation platform

How useful can this type of platform be for businesses?

Scaling any technology is important to meet increasing and changing demands. However, this can be time consuming and potentially costly to corporate budgets, making this endeavor risky if not properly thought out. However, could using an integrated automation platform to scale RPA overcome these risks?

“This is already happening,” said Gopal Ramasubramanian, senior director, intelligent automation and technology for Cognizant. “For example, at Cognizant, we started adding hyper-automation technologies to our existing automation offering. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are also investing heavily in building integrated hyper-automation platforms for scale automation.

“Gartner predicted that hyper-automation would be one of the top technology trends in 2020, but RPA alone cannot automate end-to-end business processes as needed. It’s not just about scaling RPA. In fact, multiple technologies need to work together, including RPA, optical character recognition (OCR), process mining, analytics, machine learning, chatbots, and business process management (BPM).

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“This in turn will increase the need for an integrated automation platform to bring these technologies together in one place.”

Handling unstructured data

Handling unstructured data is a challenge for companies when using RPA. However, Chris Porter, CEO of NexBotix, says an integrated automation platform, along with other technologies, can remedy this situation.

“Traditional RPA has a problem with scaling – there are many reasons for it, but one of the biggest problems is that RPA can only handle structured, rule-based digital processes,” said Porter. “Most modern businesses are full of unstructured data and judgment-based work. People work in a certain way, which is why many of the business processes we see in organizations are built as they are – they are geared towards people and the gaps in IT systems today.

“Many customers have already invested in traditional RPA and are now facing this wall of complexity with unstructured data. As a result, RPA cannot deliver on the promised benefits, and vendors want to add functionality to their platforms through acquisitions or partnerships.

“The alternative – and something that NexBotix is ​​focusing on – is an integrated RPA platform that has all of these features built into it. We’re not really talking about individual technologies – we’re trying to solve an end-to-end business process.

“The focus is not only on RPA, but also on machine learning, analytics and workflows that help our customers achieve value, whether or not they already have an RPA capability. An integrated but flexible approach is of utmost value for customers to meet their end-to-end automation needs. “

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Share and reuse (Peter Walker)

Using an integrated automation platform for RPA has also proven useful when it comes to sharing and reusing automation resources.

Peter Walker, CTO EMEA at Blue Prism, not only explained this use case, but also explained how important clear communication between employees is for the scaling of intelligent automation.

“Our intelligent automation technology is designed to scale activities and generate the resulting profits across the enterprise,” said Walker. “This is achieved through the unique capabilities of our collaboration platform, which enable people not only to centrally design, draw, and publish processes that are automated by digital workers, but to share and improve those automated assets at any time and reuse. anywhere – no coding required. It is critical that everything is done in the most secure, compliant, and transparent manner as there is a centralized, irrefutable audit trail for all process automations, including all digital worker actions and training history.

“A great example of smart automation sharing and reuse is the NHS, where healthcare organizations are sharing their proven automation through a newly created private online marketplace called the NHS Digital Exchange. This allows NHS teams to further accelerate the deployment of new automations that better support their work activities. These pre-built automation resources encompass 40+ processes that provide critical support for recruiting, hiring, financial processing, and improved access to services, patient communication on admission, and outpatient support.

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“To truly scale and sustain intelligent automation initiatives across the enterprise, the entire path must be defined in advance. Once executive support has been achieved and a vision of the desired outcomes has been established, it is recommended that you start small and then start deploying – learning quickly as you go. Another common challenge with scaling is identifying opportunities for process automation. So, make sure you understand what makes a really good process and always choose the ones that will get the fastest benefits. “

Used beyond the back office

Andrew Rayner, Vice President, Professional Services EMEA at UiPath, explained how automation platforms can be made useful in areas other than the back end.

“As companies move into a more holistic approach to hyper-automation, it is important that technologies converge so that they can expand the scope of the possibilities in their business,” said Rayner. “Customers are no longer just automating repetitive back office tasks, they are now looking at the following additional use cases:

• Increased efficiency in the front office through supervised automation and agent console.

• Interpret unstructured and semi-structured data through document understanding, sentiment analysis, and classification using machine learning.

• Enable power users / citizen developers in their organization to leverage low-code / drag-and-drop tools to automate simple and repetitive tasks. Reduction of investment and operating costs through the existing competence center for automation.

• Mining data in your enterprise applications to identify inefficiencies in large processes.

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“At UiPath we have fine-tuned our suite of products and roadmap to enable the full end-to-end journey where we can manage the lifecycle of an automation from discovery to measurement. The integration of these technologies under one platform is crucial for full traceability. “

Initiation of the digital transformation (Sathya Srinivasan)

While there are many ways this type of product can be successful, one final point to consider when leveraging an integrated automation platform for RPA is to make sure they are involved throughout the digital transformation process.

“Integrated automation platforms should span the breadth of a company’s vision for digital transformation,” said Sathya Srinivasan, vice president, solution consulting (partner), Appian. “This makes it easy to see end-to-end activity and find opportunities for workflow automation as well as robot automation.

“This visibility is critical to both the success and scaling of RPA. Having this bird’s eye view will make it easier for you to identify areas where robotic automation adds value by plugging in bots to support this digital leg of the entire journey. “

April 9, 2021