7 Robotic Process Automation (RPA) must-reads

Trying to learn more about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and what it could do for your organization? Check out practical information on the difference between RPA and AI, how to identify RPA opportunities, success metrics, and more
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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has captured the interest of IT for good reason: It promises to automate repetitive work, freeing up precious IT talent for more innovative work. In the IT leadership world, that’s like the Holy Grail. 

A good deal of confusion exists around what RPA is – and is not – and how it relates to AI.

Yet, as we’ve heard from our community of IT leaders during the past few months, a good deal of confusion exists around what RPA is – and is not – and how RPA relates to the larger topic of artificial intelligence. There’s also a good deal of fear: When some people hear RPA, they hear "job loss."

Against this backdrop, it’s important to understand the technology’s strengths, how it fits into the AI ecosystem, how to talk about it to non-techies, and how to figure out where it can - and can’t - help your organization. You also need to know how to make your case and measure the success of pilot projects.

We’ve curated a shortlist of RPA articles fit for IT and business leaders alike to get you up to speed. Fair warning: You won’t find any dancing robots here, or even any with arms or legs. As Enterprisers Project’s Kevin Casey has reported, that’s another RPA misconception you’ll need to counter. The “robot” in robotic process automation is software running on a physical or virtual machine. 

Let’s dig in, starting with some plain English definitions of RPA:

1. How to explain Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in plain English

What is robotic process automation (RPA)? What kinds of tasks can it handle? Here’s a primer for IT and business leaders – and anyone needing to demystify the concept.

2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. AI, explained

What is the difference between RPA and AI? How do RPA and AI work together? How does machine learning fit in? What are some RPA and AI use cases and best practices? Let’s break it down in plain terms.

3. How to identify Robotic Process Automation (RPA) opportunities

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) doesn’t suit every process. Here’s how to identify the best use cases in your organization.

4. Robotic Process Automation (RPA): How to persuade skeptics

When you say “RPA,” people may hear “job loss.” How to allay common fears and make your case for the benefits of robotic process automation.

5. Robotic Process Automation (RPA): 6 things people get wrong

To avoid trouble with robotic process automation projects, explain these common misconceptions to your team – and to executives supporting your RPA work.

6. Why Robotic Process Automation (RPA) projects fail: 4 factors

No one wants to see their Robotic Process Automation project fail. Check out when and where RPA can go wrong – and learn from common mistakes.

7. Robotic process automation (RPA) metrics: How to measure success

You can measure robotic process automation ROI - but that’s far from the only metric that informs the story of your success. Dig into a set of RPA metrics you can use.

Laurianne McLaughlin is Editorial Director, Digital Communities for Red Hat, leading content strategy. Previously, she served as Content Director for The Enterprisers Project, Editor-in-Chief at InformationWeek.com, and Managing Editor at CIO.com.