Robotic process automation (RPA) has a bit of an image problem. Some critics have seen it as a \u201cband-aid\u201d solution\u2014one that struggled to keep up with even minor changes in look and feel in underlying applications. But things have changed. RPA has evolved beyond the screen-scraping approach it used to rely on. Now, RPA software robots can read information on screens. And the robots are better at adapting to the application changes that used to hamper their performance. In fact, RPA has evolved to become an essential tool for integrating legacy systems. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) around the world now rely on RPA to help them bridge siloed applications and get more value from their existing technologies along with helping employees offload mundane work to software robots.\nFilling in the gaps where APIs fall short\nRPA isn\u2019t the only solution for enterprise integration. CIOs still deploy APIs, integrated applications, and human expertise to get their systems to work together. Each approach has its merits and addresses specific use cases. For example, APIs and integrated applications are great in high-volume transaction scenarios. But RPA is often easier and cheaper to deploy. It\u2019s also more flexible when conditions change (and we know that they will). \nThen there\u2019s the issue of the green screen\/mainframe legacy applications that are still a fixture in so many enterprises. These systems weren\u2019t designed for a world where businesses need their applications to share information and play well with others. They also can\u2019t be integrated through APIs. But with RPA, legacy systems can play a starring role in integrated business processes.\nA more practical approach than the \u2018elegant\u2019 system architecture\nEvery CIO knows that business models don\u2019t sit still. Businesses are constantly reinventing themselves to become more efficient, innovative, and competitive. That\u2019s why the pursuit of an elegant system architecture consisting of fully integrated applications can be so futile and frustrating. By the time an organization finishes a \u2018big bang\u2019 implementation, the business need has often changed. The cutting-edge architecture is suddenly outdated. In contrast, businesses can deploy RPA quickly and start realizing value almost immediately\u2014and build on those early successes to address more complex scenarios.\nCompanies are continually searching out ways to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. Traditionally, businesses deployed integrated, full-stack applications to meet the needs of departments such as finance, human resources, or customer relations. Recently, though, some innovative new companies have flipped the script on this approach. They\u2019ve tackled the challenge with a broader process orientation that spans an organization\u2019s function-based legacy systems\u2014and RPA plays a central role.\nWith RPA, IT departments can work with business users to build automations for processes that involve multiple, disparate systems. So, instead of a full-stack application for a single department\u2019s needs, RPA can help knit together the different applications in use across the enterprise to drive even higher levels of efficiency.\nA lower-cost, more accurate alternative to people power\nAs for human effort, we\u2019ve mentioned how the work of integrating disparate systems often falls to people. But each time a process or underlying application changes, businesses have to retrain their workforce on the new approach, which drives up the cost of change. In comparison, readjusting an RPA script is cheaper\u2014and less error-prone.\nIn a recent survey, global business leaders ranked RPA as the second most important technology for business transformation. So, it\u2019s safe to say that RPA is much more than a band-aid technology. It\u2019s best viewed as an automation-first strategy that\u2019s increasingly important for businesses seeking to weed out inefficiency and get more from their legacy technology investments.\nWant to learn more about RPA? Go here.