Understanding Robotic Process Automation and its Use Cases

Potential benefits include streamlined compliance, a better customer experience, and higher employee satisfaction.

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In a recent annual Deloitte survey, 73% of executives said that their organizations have started down the path to intelligent automation. For someone who doesn’t track the evolution of automation technology, that may be a surprising statistic. When many people hear the word “automation,” they tend to picture the robots on a factory floor executing precise movements in a flawlessly orchestrated dance. But those robots represent a fraction of the robots working in today’s enterprises. 

Another breed of robots — software robots — are often hard at work behind the scenes helping the enterprise run more efficiently. These robots support a form of automation known as robotic process automation (RPA). And to understand the role that RPA can play in a business, it helps to picture the kind of work you do every day. Chances are that you split your workday between tasks that require your creativity and analytical skills and a long list of other tasks that are repetitive, routine, and not very interesting or fulfilling. 

This is where RPA software robots come in. They specialize in doing the mundane and repetitive work that humans don’t especially like to do. They can perform a lot of the administrative overhead that includes copying files, completing forms, analyzing documents and reports, and extracting relevant data. And by doing so, RPA robots free their human counterparts to focus more on the high-value work that requires their judgement and expertise. 

The bottom line: RPA robots are great at emulating a wide spectrum of behaviors that humans perform when interacting with applications and systems. Best of all, they’re fast and accurate. They don’t get bored. They don’t daydream. And they don’t take breaks. 

With RPA, software robots can take over the lower-value work that involves logging into applications and systems, moving files and folders, extracting, copying, and inserting data, filling in forms, and completing routine analyses and reports.

RPA robots can emulate human actions and interact with digital systems and software. They can understand what’s on a screen, complete the right keystrokes, navigate systems, and identify and extract data. And they do it faster and more accurately than people do. 

So what can business leaders expect when RPA robots start doing the work that their employees don’t want to do but that still has to get done? The benefits include:

Streamlined compliance. —Automation can help ensure that sensitive customer information is processed securely and in compliance with local, regional, and federal regulations. 

A better customer experience. —It’s a simple equation. By automating repetitive work, companies free their customer support staff to engage with customers more and address those issues that need their specialized skills and expertise. 

Higher employee satisfaction. —RPA robots perform the mind-numbing work that no one likes to do, which frees employees to do more of the high-value tasks that make work worthwhile.

Enhancing RPA use cases with AI

UiPath RPA is a low-code platform that’s relatively easy to learn and deploy, but it can have a powerful impact on the way you do business. And when you pair RPA with the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI), you can expand the range of what your software robots can accomplish. Software robots can complete complex processes that require them to recognize text, understand natural language, and even improve themselves over time. They can begin to emulate a wider range of human behavior and complete tasks, such as:

● Property valuation

● Loan default prediction

● Inventory forecasting

● Resume matching

● Purchase decisions

● Language translation

● Invoice extraction

● Email routing

● Speech to text

Making digital transformation a reality

Worldwide spending on digital transformation is expected to reach $2.3 trillion in 2023, according to one study by International Data Corporation. So it’s safe to say that digital transformation is a high priority for many businesses. “Digital transformation” is also a notoriously vague term whose definition varies from business to business. But RPA can help a business turn its plans for digital transformation into a reality—in a way that doesn’t involve big disruption and huge capital investments in new systems. RPA robots work with the systems already in place in most businesses. 

Most business processes cross organizational boundaries and involve different systems that weren’t designed to work together and share data—leaving human workers to fill in the gaps. But RPA software robots can automate those processes that bridge organizational silos. They can smooth over the incompatibilities of different systems and create a smoother, more efficient exchange of information. 

So a digital transformation doesn’t have to involve ripping and replacing existing systems to create a more automated approach to business. RPA robots can drive efficiency gains with existing technology.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.