Robotic Process Automation Explained Simply
Robotic Process Automation Explained Simply
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become very popular in recent years. Thousands of companies started using RPA to automate their businesses, drive profits, and increase efficiency. However, with all the buzz around the industry and all the complicated definitions, it can be challenging to figure out what exactly RPA is. This article will explain everything you need to know about RPA with easy-to-understand, straightforward language.
Let’s start with an example
Imagine you are hosting a massive party with hundreds of people attending. You want guests to email you their names, ages, and favorite type of pizza before they arrive. Then, you want to read all the emails, create an Excel sheet with everyone’s name and age, and finally order their preferred pizza from your local pizzeria.
You can sit on your computer for hours reading every mail, filling out spreadsheets, and ordering pizzas, or you can try to find a more innovative way. This is exactly where RPA comes in. Using an RPA tool you can assign software robots to do the exact tasks you would do on the computer (read the mail, copy the required information to the spreadsheet, and order pizza from a website) each time a mail comes in. This way, you can enjoy your party and let the robots do all the hard work.
In simple terms, RPA is a software technology that automates repetitive and boring computer tasks (previously done by humans) using software “robots” or “bots”. Businesses are filled with these repetitive tasks so RPA allows them to focus on what matters while the robots handle the mundane computer work.
What Exactly are “Bots” and What Can They Do
We don’t mean physical robots sitting in front of computers and pushing buttons by bots. Instead, bots are just software applications that interact with the computer like we do.
- Use websites and applications like regular users
- Read and process emails
- Move files and folders
- Read information from websites
- Fill out forms
- Connect with APIs (software services other companies offer)
- Understand text and complex documents using a technology called OCR.
- And the list goes on…
So bots can do nearly anything humans can do on a computer and even more. Besides, they usually work more efficiently than humans as computers are their playing field.
Does RPA Require Coding Knowledge
So how do we implement this awesome technology. Do you need to spend hours learning how to code? The plain answer is “No”. Most RPA tools use an easy-to-understand interface to use drag and drop tools and other actions to automate your tasks. As bots mimic how we use our computer, we just need to tell them which actions they need to perform.
Looking back to our original example, we would tell the bot to :
- Open the email
- Read the name and age
- Copy them to the spreadsheet
- Order pizza!
This ease of use makes the powerful technology accessible to everyone and anyone, not just expert programmers.
You will still need a solid strategy before implementing RPA in your company.
RPA can do computer tasks much more efficiently than humans. Moreover, it can work for 24 hours every day without any breaks or well deserved vacations, reducing process time by 40% on average.
As robots are less costly (almost 1/3 the cost of a full time worker) and work more efficiently for longer hours, they save immense amounts of money for your company. However, while robots save money on these tasks, your employees can benefit the company in other ways. For example, you can reduce cost by 80% and increase the return on investment (ROI) in less than 3 months.
After you transform your processes with RPA, you can increase or decrease the number of robots and processes and change your automation areas as much as you like. As your business grows and changes, the robots will scale with you.
With all the awesome work the robots are doing, humans don’t have to be bothered with mundane, boring, and repetitive tasks. Instead, they can work on more creative, rewarding, and effective areas.
Where can RPA be Used
Today RPA is being used in various industries ranging from human resources to finance to energy. In addition, RPA can be applied to any computer process following a basic set of rules, making it incredibly versatile and applicable to nearly every industry.
If you find yourself doing the same computer task over and over again, RPA can help you automate it!