What You Need To Know About RPA (Robotic Process Automation)
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is one of the hottest sectors in the tech market. Some of the world’s leading venture capitalists – like Sequoia Capital, CapitalG, and Accel Partners – have invested huge sums in startups like UiPath and Automation Anywhere. According to Grand View Research, Inc., RPA spending is projected to reach $ 8.75 billion by 2024.
The irony is that this category has been around for a while and was kind of a backlog. But with the breakthroughs in AI (Artificial Intelligence), the industry has come to life.
What is RPA? Well, first of all, the term “robot” is a bit misleading. RPA is not about physical robots. Rather, the technology is based on software robots. You mainly focus on automating tedious activities, for example in back offices. This includes processing insurance claims, payroll, procurement, bank reconciliation, quote-to-cash and invoices.
And the impact can be transformative for an organization. For example, a company can use RPA to reduce its reliance on outsourcing, which can translate into huge cost savings. It may also be that there is less need for internal settings.
But even if the workforce does not decrease significantly, there should still be significant increases in productivity. Based on research by Automation Anywhere, RPA can automate processes 70% faster. In other words, employees have more time for value-adding activities.
Here are some other benefits:
- Accuracy: RPA eliminates human error.
- Compliance: Legal and regulatory requirements can be embedded in the systems.
- Tracking: There can be a diagnosis of technical problems and a monitoring of risks, for example in customer service.
“RPA is a way for companies to create a true virtual workforce that drives business agility and efficiency,” said Richard French, CRO at Kryon. “It is managed like any other team in the organization and can interact with people in the same way that other employees would interact with each other.”
The process of using RPA is straightforward as well. “Show your bots what you’re doing and then let them do the work,” said Mukund Srigopal, director of product marketing at Automation Anywhere. “You can interact with any system or application the same way you do. Bots can learn, and they can also be cloned. It’s code-free, nondisruptive, non-invasive, and simple. Leading RPA platforms can add a layer of cognitive intelligence to the automation of business processes. “
Well, RPA isn’t without its challenges (hey, no technology is a panacea!). Instead of an organization, the current processes need to be rethought. After all, automating a sub-par system is not a good idea!
Next, if there are major changes to the existing transaction platforms, it will take some time to upgrade the RPA. This can actually be a long hassle when there are a lot of bots around.
Conclusion on RPA
RPA is also a great way for a company to make the move to AI. “There has been a proliferation of AI-enabled services in recent years, but companies often struggle to operationalize them,” said Srigopal. “But RPA is a great way to integrate AI functions into business processes. A platform like ours can offer deep learning models based on neural networks to intelligently automate activities such as document processing. For the most part, traditional RPA works well in very structured and predictable scenarios. “
Tom (@ttaulli) is the author of the book Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction.