For decades, process automation has been such an integral part of industry that it’s hard to imagine life without it. Nevertheless, barely any other technology receives the same attention as robotic process automation – RPA for short. What makes this technology so special that it is often called a new revolution in automation?
What exactly is RPA?
RPA involves virtual robots that are programmed to automate human behaviors across systems and applications to reduce rule-based and repetitive processes.
What makes RPA special?
In traditional process automation, the automation is usually firmly integrated into the underlying systems and processes. The data exchange mainly happens through back-end interfaces that the user can’t see. This makes the automated processes rigid when it comes to changing the system and generally requires adjustments to interfaces, processes and many lines of code during development.
In contrast, RPA employs the user interface already established and thus navigates almost like a human through menu fields, input fields and login screens of web- and desktop-based applications.
With one important difference: The software bots perform these tasks considerably faster and more accurately than a human worker ever could. Because this approach requires no adaptations to the applications, it enormously simplifies the development process and thus allows much faster, more efficient implementation of automation projects. An intuitive development interface also allows the user to model and adapt the processes using predefined activities, without much code.
What is RPA good for?
At its core, the technology works strictly rule-based and is therefore especially suitable for standardized and repetitive processes like the ones found in finance and document processing, for example.
The upshot: Wherever rule-based processes have to be performed often, RPA can add value. Freeing workers of these simple, repetitive tasks allows them to concentrate on more demanding activities that create more value.