RPA, Robotic Process Automation Explained

Robotic Process Automation

The term Robotic Process Automation (RPA) isn’t about robots taking over the world. Instead, it’s a chance for businesses to automate repetitive tasks. This way, they focus on productivity and flexibility.

Defining Robotic Process Automation

Through software technology, businesses can use robots to perform the repetitive tasks.Thanks to structured inputs, an RPA can emulate the actions of a human being. But faster. Some fo the actions of these softwares include:

  • navigate systems
  • identify and extract data
  • deploy thousands of bots
  • understand what is on the screen
  • send automated emails
  • communicate with other digital systems

And the list can go on. Indeed, RPAs are useful to companies.

The benefits

Of course, using robots instead of workers reduces the costs. The majority of these tasks are repetitive and they can be easily learned and applied with a software. There is no creativity, only a job that is always the same, day in and day out. Thanks to RPA, the workflow is faster and so is the response time.

After all, robots don’t need to use the restroom. And they are less prone to mistakes. In fact, the use of automation reduces manual errors by 57%, as the report by UI Path proves. Also, it can improve the satisfaction of employees, since they are not involved in boring tasks anymore. Everyone in the company is more productive, since research shows that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive.

However, it’s not all roses and rainbows.

The disadvantages

While some workers might be more effective, others might lose their job. In fact, a study by Forrester Research estimates that RPA could eliminate 230 million workers, almost 9% of the global workforce. Hence the question: do businesses have a replacement plan in place? Perhaps these employees will simply be out of work.

But the disadvantages can also come to companies. In fact, these softwares can be expensive, making them exclusive. Also, they can be difficult to implement in the system, hence making more of a disadvantage. These softwares can be time and resource consuming, so not necessarily a great idea for every company.

Robotic Process Automation
The automation factory in China. Photo: Handout

Examples of companies using RPA

While this trend might seem like the future, some companies are already implementing it.

Wallmart: the chain is using 500 bots to automate its system. The tasks include answering the doubts of employees and extracting data. “A lot of those came from people who are tired of the work,” CIO Clay Johnson said.

Western Union: CIO David Thompson confirmed that the company uses RPA to rebook recommendations for travel, for specific expense management tasks, and issuing any refunds.

Coca-Cola: uses these softwares in over 50 of its processes. And internal research has showed that this allowed the company to gain 16 hours of work daily.

Zurich Insurance: here, robots deal with boilerplate policies and for the outsourcing. Thanks to this, cost reduction in insurance and pension division in the UK was of 50%.

As this trend grows, more companies will implement it in their systems. And it doesn’t have to be giant robots moving around the work floor, but tiny softwares. Softwares made to facilitate the work. And hopefully not lose it.

Robotic Process Automation
The automation trend according to Trendly.

Curious about the latest trends? Don’t miss our guide on Special Purpose Acquisition Companies here!

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