All of us are familiar with the hardware automation technologies today. We understand that automotive manufacturing plants use these hardware automation tools every day. The concept of software automation is still a little new to us. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) deals with software automation. Just like hardware automation that mimics the human actions in the physical world, the software automation mimics the human actions in the virtual world. According to a recent report, 10 to 20% of our time at the office is spent doing tasks that require no logical thinking power. RPA can help you automate these tasks easily.
In simple terms, RPA is the automation of human-like actions on a computer interface. Modern-day RPA service providers are taking the definition of conventional RPA technology to the next level.
Ideal Cases for Automation
Now that we know what is RPA, let us understand what can you automate. The RPA technology is still in a growing phase. It cannot perform logical decisions and still needs the help of a human from time to time. Since it is currently growing, the RPA technologies are costlier than one might expect. To generate a good return on investment most companies need to look for ideal cases of automation well in advance before starting their digital transformation journey.
In ideal scenarios, the best return on investment is generated when the following conditions are met:
- The task selected for automation are voluminous
- The task selected for automation is highly repetitive and does not require any logical decision
- The task deals with computer-generated digital data instead of handwritten notes and invoices
- The task deals with an application/software that has a user interface
If these 4 conditions are met, a company can automate virtually anything and get an excellent return on investment.
RPA + Cognitive + Analytics Platform
World’s leading RPA providers like Automation Anywhere have coupled the existing RPA technologies with analytical and cognitive tools. They have successfully leveraged the cognitive technologies, Artificial Intelligence as well as Machine Learning technologies all onto a singular platform. The combination of all these modern-day technologies allows the user to do much more than just perform mindless actions on a computer interface.
The additional functionalities with AI and ML are coupled with analytical platforms to get real-time insights into the activities of the software robots. Instead of doing a monthly or a weekly audit on the activities of the robots, we can now get real-time insights on the activities to take actions in the spur of the moment.
Machine Learning + Artificial Intelligence
Machine learning on an RPA platform allows the software process automation to take place in a much more effective manner. As the name suggests, the process of machine learning involves teaching the software robots how to do a certain task in set conditions. After teaching the software robot the task a couple of times, it can automatically mimic the action and think logically when a similar instance arrives.
The Machine Learning technology is empowered by the Artificial Intelligence modules that allow the bots to take logical decisions on its own. This helps the user run the bots in a 100% unattended manner while still minimizing the risk of operation failure.
Unattended and Attended Automation
RPA can be classified mainly into two different types. These include attended and unattended automation.
- Attended Automation: Attended automation requires human intervention from time to time. You can see the software robot performing its task on a computer window with the attended automation practice.
- Unattended Automation: Unattended automation does not require any type of human intervention. It acts in the background of the computer interface and can perform tasks without any type of input from the human.
Both these types of automation cycles are important and they find applications in multiple sectors across the globe. The world’s top RPA providers offer you the option to switch between the unattended and attended automation cycles with the click of a single button.
The adoption of the RPA technology is not simple at an enterprise level. It requires several months of planning and investment in training the human resources. However, the RPA providers are encouraging the adoption of this technology by providing end-to-end support to the early adopters. Vendors like Automation Anywhere have created an entire ecosystem of training portals to facilitate the easy training for users.
Most people are afraid of adopting this technology since they feel that it will completely replace their full-time employees. This is not true. While the modern-day RPA is constantly evolving, it is yet not at that stage where it can completely replace a human. In fact, the singular aim of the RPA technology is to free up the time of the humans so that they can do more logical-thinking based tasks. The digital transformation journey suggests that ultimately the bots and the humans will work side-by-side to create autopian model of a digital workforce.
Chatbots and RPA
Today a lot of people confuse the chatbot technology with RPA technology. In simple terms, the RPA is a superset to the chatbot technologies. Therefore, RPA can be used to create a chatbot. However, a chatbot cannot be used to automate all the different aspects of a computer interface. Some of the best RPA based chatbot tools that leverage the latest AI and ML technologies include IBM Watson, Microsoft Bot, Amazon Lex, Dialogflow, Oracle Chatbot and Facebook Wit.ai. These chatbots have their own pros and cons that make them unique in the industry.
Leveraging the RPA technology can help you reap the following benefits:
- Reduction of Errors
- Increase in Productivity and Efficiency of the Employees
- Automation of Repetitive Tasks
By choosing the right RPA vendor, you can easily avail all the benefits of this technology and leverage it to grow your business to new heights. Some of the best tools are scalable to such an extent that you can grow their use by a thousand times overnight.