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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for beginners: 8 key concepts
Are you investigating or trying to get started with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software? Let's look at what it is, what it isn't, what problems it can solve, and what's next
5. Development skills may not be required
“Top RPA providers offer simple-to-deploy solutions that anyone with a few hours of training, and limited or no development experience can use to automate basic, day-to-day tasks such as generating Excel reports, filing documents into specific folders, or sending automated emails,” Sharad says. “Even with such basic automation, users can significantly change their work profile [by automating] tedious, time-consuming tasks and increasing focus on value-added work.”
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6. RPA can be more than a money saver
There’s no question that RPA-enabled automation can eliminate process waste and human effort. But proponents say the benefits extend to increased process quality, reduced losses, and better customer experiences.
It can help reduce billing errors in manual healthcare claims processing, for example, or boost revenues thanks to smoother customer interactions. “It is important that these factors are considered and quantified in terms of cost savings, additional revenue, or reduced losses while determining the ROI on RPA investments,” Sharad says. “These considerations can help early-stage RPA programs to receive the sponsorship and funding they need.”
7. RPA can get smart
Early adopters are exploring the integration of AI with RPA to inject cognitive capabilities into their automation initiatives. RPA can evolve from assisted automation to intelligent automation as machine learning, computer vision, text analytics, and natural language processing are added to the mix.
This can enable the processing of more unstructured data, introduce predictive and prescriptive analytics, provide bots with voice and vision interfaces, and automate tasks that involve judgment, according to Everest Group. Ultimately, AI can help to usher in an era of self-management and self-healing bots.
8. RPA is rarely IT-driven
Compared to some traditional IT projects, business and functional teams play a more proactive role in RPA programs. “It is not uncommon to see RPA centers of excellence within businesses and functions like finance and HR, supported proactively by IT – quite a departure from how ERP and database implementations worked in the past,” Sharad says.
However, although RPA began as a tactical capability to help middle management automate tasks in specific functions, it’s increasingly becoming a priority for the C-suite. “Organizations no longer consider RPA just another program,” Sharad says. “It is becoming a strategic capability integral to business operations and a lever to transform employee and customer experience.”
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