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What is RPA: Robotic Process Automation for Beginners

What is RPA: Robotic Process Automation for Beginners

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA for short, is a technology that has gained immense popularity in recent years, especially in the business world. Using this technology, thousands of companies complete their work faster, less costly, and more efficiently. However, with so many mixed definitions on the internet, it can be challenging to understand clearly what this technology is and what it does. Therefore, this article will explain RPA as understandable and straightforward as possible.

Let’s Start With an Example

Imagine you are hosting a party with hundreds of people. You ask each guest to email their name, age, and favorite pizza before arriving. Accordingly, you plan to read everyone’s emails, save their names and ages in an excel file, and finally order their favorite pizza from the web page of the nearest pizzeria.

To achieve this task, you can either sit in front of your computer for hours or try to come up with a smarter solution. This is where RPA comes into play. By using RPA, you can automate all these tasks by delegating them to a robot instead of doing it yourself. Then, the robot reads the messages, extracts the relevant information, compiles them in a file, and orders the pizzas from the pizzeria’s website, just like you would. Thanks to RPA, you can enjoy your party while your robot is working.

Definition of RPA

RPA is a software technology that allows you to automate repetitive work on the computer, following various rules, using a “robot” or “bot,” just like the example. Today’s companies are full of tedious and repetitive tasks such as filling out forms, entering data somewhere, reading information from somewhere. RPA enables employees to deal with tasks that are more productive and need human decisions, while robots take care of these tasks.

What Are Bots and What Can They Do

When we say bots, we’re not talking about physical robots sitting in front of a computer pressing buttons. Instead, bots are just software applications that can use computers just like humans. 

Like the one above, there are lots of myths around RPA. You may want to read all of them in our article 5 Common Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Myths Debunked.

RPA bots can;

  • interact with websites and applications as regular users, read emails and messages,
  • move files and documents,
  • read information from online resources,
  • fill out forms,
  • use APIs (software services provided by companies),
  • understand the text and mixed documents using OCR technology, and more.

Bots can do the most repetitive things humans can do on a computer and more. Most of the time, they complete these tasks faster and more effectively than people.

Do You Need to Know Programming to Use RPA?

So what do you need to do to start using this technology?

Should you spend hours learning to program? 

The answer to all these questions is “NO.” However, Low-code RPA solutions like Robusta RPA will give you a simple drag-and-drop interface that is easy to use. In this way, you can automate your business processes without writing a single line of code. Furthermore, since bots mimic your movements on the computer, it is enough to tell them what to do.

Going back to our first example, we instruct the robot to do the following, in order:

  1. Open the email
  2. Read the name and the age
  3. Write this information to an excel file
  4. Order the pizza

One thing that makes RPA so popular is this ease of use that opens up the technology to everyone, not just professional programmers.

You’ll still need a good strategy when getting started with RPA. You may also want to read our “RPA Roadmap” article for this.

Benefits of RPA

Time: RPA can handle computer tasks much more efficiently than humans. In addition, the robots can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without the need for breaks or vacations.

Cost: Robots can save your company an incredible amount of money because they cost less than regular workers and work longer and more efficiently. While your robots can work independently and reduce costs, your employees can focus on jobs to produce more efficiently.

Error Reduction: Unlike humans, bots rarely make mistakes, making them especially valuable where many mistakes are made or where one mistake can be costly.

Scalability: Once you start using RPA, you can increase or decrease the number of robots you use as you wish and change your robot usage areas. As your company grows and changes, your robots will scale with you.

Employee Satisfaction: With so much work done by robots, your employees don’t have to do tedious and monotonous tasks. Instead, employees can focus on more appropriate tasks to their abilities, be more creative, and be more beneficial to them and your company.

In Which Fields You Can Use RPA

Companies use RPA in various industries such as human relations, finance, marketing, sales, energy, and banking. In addition, RPA’s adaptability to almost any computer process that follows various rules makes it a helpful tool in any field. In summary, if you realize that you are doing the same job on the computer more than once, you can probably automate this job with RPA!