A robot is a machine that mimics the human user in performing various tasks, such as clicks, navigations, typing, etc. Sequence of meaningful activities that may involve multiple systems or applications make up a process. Automation is the sequence of steps which are performed without any human interference (once configured).
Robotic process automation (RPA) allows using software robots instead of people to drive the business. It is used to automate regular tasks so the user can concentrate on accomplishing complex tasks rather than routine work manually. This would in turn reduce the human errors.
The following are the advantages of RPA −
Building a unified view of the customer
Increased customer satisfaction
Increased employee productivity
More accuracy and quality
Up to 80% reduction in AHT (Average Handle Time)
Up to 90% reduction in ART (Average Resolution Time)
Increased ROI (Return on Investment) within 3 months on an average.
We have the following popular tools available in market for RPA −
The following are the uses of RPA −
Data manually entered in one system need not be reentered into another system. RPA replaces such dual human effort since invoices are indexed in the workflow and then manually reentered in ERP.
Inputs arriving from various systems such as web pages for customer orders, workflow for invoices, emails or excel files must be entered into ERP. However, if the input is clean and the rules are well laid out that data entry can be done through RPA.
Standalone, Legacy, ERP or workflow systems often do not communicate with one another and integrating them would cost millions of dollars and precious IT time, RPA can provide light weight integration connecting disparate systems at the user interface level.
When data and report requests come from multiple process owners, vendors, and even end customers, employees log into a system to extract the data, format it, and send an email to the requestor. RPA lends itself well to such rule-based tasks.
RPA can execute decision-based tasks provided the rules driving those decisions are well laid out. For instance, on an invoice coming from a utility vendor, RPA can change payment terms to "immediate" from whatever is on the invoice.
The lifecycle of RPA is given below −
Step one of RPA life cycle is to analyze a business problem for RPA development. This is usually done by business analysts and RPA architects. Processes which can be automated are identified, timelines for the development are decided, approach is documented, and approval is obtained from stakeholders to start the development.
RPA developers work on the requirements in development environment to automate the manual processes. Development is done in wizard and these is a limited requirement to perform coding in developing the bots.
In this phase, bots are tested to evaluate the quality and to correct errors if any.
After the bot is tested thoroughly, it would be deployed into the live environment where users start using it. It enters maintenance phase where support and change requests for the bot are entertained and defects are fixed with immediate effect.
There are two types of robots in RPA as given below −
Following are the features of back office robots −
Back office robots will run unattended.
They are in batch Mode.
They run in virtual environments.
Back office robots are not supervised by any one.
The back office robots send heartbeats to the server, so that it knows instantly when a robot is down.
Back office robots help in error reduction and are cost effective.
Following are the features of front office robots −
Front office robots share the same workstation as an employee who has control over where and when it is used.
Front office robots are stand alone and they need human interference.
User triggers these robots and they run only under manual surveillance.
Front office robots operate from local machine and cannot be run or scheduled remotely.