From machine learning to artificial intelligence, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is gaining popularity for helping automate certain internal business processes, increasing efficiency and freeing up corporate workers so they can focus on higher-value work.\u00a0\u00a0\nRPA refers to software programs that can eliminate or streamline tedious, repetitive or manual labor tasks \u2013 such as your typical data entry work, to pick one example. While RPA uses robots that can be programmed to effectively complete a task, these tools don\u2019t \u201clearn\u201d the way they do in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, where they\u2019re trained to make judgments about future outputs. In other words, RPA is not exactly full-blown IA (intelligent automation). But the benefits of automating repetitive, manual tasks to free employees to focus on more important work should be obvious...right?\nThe term RPA was first coined in 2012 by Pat Geary, Chief Evangelist at Blue Prism, setting the UK-based company to be one of the front runners in this field. The company works with financial services firms, organizations that do business processing outsourcing (BPO), mobile phone companies and others.\u00a0\nAccording to a study conducted by Gartner in July, 2019, \u201cRPA is the fastest-growing software subsegment officially tracked by Gartner, with year-over-year growth of more than 63% in 2018.\u201d\u00a0\u00a0\nIn light of this fast-growing trend, we hosted a recent #IDGTECHtalk Twitter chat with Blue Prism to determine how other industries are taking advantage of this technology. Below are some of the highlights from our roundtable discussion:\u00a0\u00a0\nSo... should I even care about RPA?\u00a0\n\nIf you are in the sweet spot for #RPA, then it must be considered. Those areas are: to address labor resource challenges & reduce costs, to provide accurate & consistent processes, and to connect multiple systems. #IDGTECHtalk\u00a0\n\u2013 Ben (@benrothke) September 12, 2019\u00a0\nWe should care about robots and the people processes that employ them in a useful fashion. Business value comes from people, process and technology... so the interfaces between people and robots are crucial. #IDGTechTalk\u00a0\n\u2013 Brent (@DrBKirkpatrick) September 12, 2019\u00a0\n\nPat Geary, the inventor of the term RPA, noted that the technology is a significant part of digital transformation and the democratization of IT, bringing enterprise strength automation software into the hands of the business user.\u00a0\u00a0\nHow are companies using RPA now?\u00a0\n\nWe are still in early days of #RPA when we are looking at input factors of external process and speeding if-then executionof existing software. #insurance and #Service call operations, #manufacturing carry-forward ops. Need more experience and hybrid with ML. #IDGtechtalk\u00a0\n\u2013 Wayne (@DigitalSecArch) September 12, 2019\u00a0\n\nThousands of mission critical business process across all functions are being automated in myriad industries, including customer-facing processes. This usually results in lowering costs, driving new product introduction and innovation.\u00a0\nHow can digital transformation be accelerated with RPA?\u00a0\n\nWe carefully select the right applications, the right algorithms, the right talent, and the right robots. Work hard. Evaluate. Rinse, wash and repeat. #IDGTechTalk\u00a0\n\u2013 Brent (@DrBKirkpatrick) September 12, 2019\u00a0\n\nPat touched on a great point: Accelerating can be achieved by using a robotic operating model together with the platform AND an enterprise vision for #digitaltransformation. There\u2019s no point in having one without the other. #IDGTECHTalk #RPA\u00a0\nOnce a company decides to utilize RPA, how quickly can it be implemented?\u00a0\nShort, sweet, and to the point:\n\nYou can prototype potential processes very quickly, but #RPA MUST be treated as a platform and requires a degree of rigor and planning. That said, it should be measured in weeks and months and not months and years (like a traditional IT implementation). #IDGTECHTalk\u00a0\u00a0\n\u2013 Pat (@EvangelistBlue) September 12, 2019\u00a0\n\nHow does RPA measure up in the cybersecurity realm?\u00a0\nWith any technology, security absolutely needs to be a main priority.\u00a0\n\nDepends on the platform to some extent. The #RPA filling in forms should not provide data just because field names align. It should always be intentional. Encryption-in-transit rules must be followed. And, it should detect failures and respond gracefully... #idgtechtalk\u00a0\n\u2013 Chris (@CPetersen_CS) September 12, 2019\u00a0\n\nWhat are your thoughts on RPA? Could it be useful for businesses or more trouble than it\u2019s worth?\u00a0\nLet us know via Twitter. And as always, please join us every other Thursday at 12pm ET for the #IDGTECHtalk.