Robotic process automation comes of age

Today’s RPA platforms are transforming the future of work.

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Chief information officers (CIOs) understand that the IT technologies and operations they oversee are in states of continual flux and evolution. Even with this knowledge, however, it can be difficult for these decision makers to stay abreast of every advance that could bring value to the organizations they serve.

The field of robotic process automation (RPA) is one such area, where the growing sophistication and reach of the technology may have escaped those not closely tracking this discipline. RPA – most commonly understood as a technology for automating repetitive, manual tasks in which people interact with computers – has grown much more powerful and multifaceted in recent years.

RPA and its use of software robots, or bots, emerged with great fanfare several years ago. Still, RPA’s initial applications were often relegated to automating a handful of simple user-interface tasks. Early-generation RPA solutions required heavy IT department involvement and were often difficult to scale beyond small, proof-of-concept pilot deployments.

Today’s RPA platforms have overcome those and other early constraints by greatly expanding their capabilities and reach. Among the most notable capabilities offered by some modern RPA solutions:

  • Automatic identification of high-potential automation targets – helping IT pros and business mangers determine which of the thousands of manual UI tasks occurring throughout an organization offer the biggest and fastest automation payback.
  • Low-code/no-code, drag-and-drop process automation – making it easy for both IT pros as well as power users to create useful bots.
  • Sophisticated management systems – tools for handling the full lifecycle of bots, from creating a pipeline of candidate and in-process automations to tracking, distributing, and modifying automations throughout their lifetimes, no matter their numbers or complexities.
  • AI and machine learning – technologies to bring intelligence to all elements of the RPA discipline, from suggesting task automation candidates to enhancing bots with everything from document understanding to computer vision to chatbot capabilities.
  • Advanced analytics systems – dashboards and other tools to track bot usage, identify automation bottlenecks, and even calculate the business benefits delivered by different automations.

By leveraging these and other advanced RPA capabilities, organizations can now operationalize automation at scale and throughout every department – including IT itself. More fundamentally, CIOs can use RPA to help drive the business conversation by demonstrating the immediate business benefits and open-ended potential of pervasive workflow automation.

Even with the capabilities of advanced RPA platforms in hand, however, CIOs and their teams must approach RPA strategically in order to deliver on its full, enterprise-wide potential. In future posts, we’ll explore not just the expanding technical capabilities of RPA platforms, but the key organizational, governance, and cultural initiatives that fall under the RPA deployment umbrella.

UiPath has been at the forefront of growing RPA from a simple task recorder into a full end-to-end enterprise automation platform that can bring efficiencies, accuracy, and speed to business and IT processes enterprise wide. For further information, download the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Robotic Process Automation.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.