How Can Robotic Process Automation Benefit Your Business?
A brief overview of Robotic Process Automation, its impact on the workplace, and its similarities and differences to artificial intelligence.
What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a software methodology that leverages software robots that mimic human actions as they interact with digital systems and software. Software robots can perform a wide array of defined tasks, just like people, such as comprehending what's on a screen, typing the right keystrokes, navigating systems, identifying and extracting data, and executing defined actions. But software robots are faster and more accurate than people, and they don't have to get up and stretch or take breaks like humans. RPA solutions save companies time and money while enhancing productivity by allowing associates to focus on mission-critical work (uipath.com, read May 2022), (thoughtfulautomation.com, read May 2022).
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Benefits of RPA in the workplace?
RPA solutions reduce costs for companies while increasing productivity by allowing employees to focus on critical tasks and take on a supervisory role. Automation of workflows increases the profitability, flexibility, and responsiveness of organizations. Moreover, it increases employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity by eliminating routine tasks from their working day. By implementing robots to do these types of repetitive, high-volume tasks, humans can focus on what they do best: innovate, collaborate, create, and interact with customers. As a result, companies receive a boost in productivity, efficiency, and resilience.
The first steps of digital transformation can be achieved using RPA since it is non-invasive and can be implemented quickly, as it follows existing patterns and business practices. Furthermore, it is ideal for automating workflows involving legacy systems that do not have APIs, virtual desktop infrastructures, or database access (uipath.com, read May 2022).
In a previous blog, Using RPA to save trees and GoGreen, 2021, we discussed how RPA can also be used to significantly reduce the use of paper in the workplace and have a positive impact on the environment. Software programs can transform paper processes into digital processes across all industries: data extraction; retrieving data from both digital and physical documents; automating invoices; electronic signatures among many other applications. The end result is increased productivity and profitability for companies utilizing RPA processes with the added benefit of positively impacting our environment.
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Is RPA the Same as AI?
RPA and Artificial Intelligence are two distinct technologies that overlap with one another. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably which is incorrect. A great description of the difference can be found in an article by Matthew Shoffer on Peerspot.com:
"The human brain provides a good place to start when thinking about the difference between RPA and AI. The brain is capable of thinking and analysis. It can ingest data and spot patterns. Performing a task may require thinking and analysis, but the act of thinking and the specifics of a given task are not the same thing. One is general. The other is specific. That’s how to contrast AI with RPA. AI is about all the different ways a computer can analyze information and mimic the human mind’s capacity for critical judgment. RPA is about getting the computer to perform a task that requires some aspects of those thinking skills.”
So, RPA is best used in rule-based processes with workflows that don’t change over time or require a high level of human intervention to handle exemptions. As a standalone mechanism, RPA can assist with some of the more common and time-consuming tasks that support your business, such as:
- Logging into applications
- Connecting to system APIs
- Copying and pasting data
- Extracting and processing structured content from documents
- Opening emails and attachments
- Scraping data from the web
AI, on the other hand, can handle complex tasks that previously could only be done by humans alone. AI robots can make cognitive decisions using large data sets to predict several possible outcomes. AI goes beyond the execution of simple rules-based-processes to ‘thinking,’ for example:
- Understanding documents
- Visualizing screens (including virtual desktops)
- Comprehending conversations
- Discovering tasks and processes to automate
- Processing language
- Handling semi-structured or unstructured data
(uipath.com, read May 2022)
Image credit: AImultiple.com, May 2022
How The SilverLogic can help
The SilverLogic is an agile software development company that can leverage RPA and other Business Automation strategies to save our clients time and money while enhancing productivity and reducing operating costs. From the discovery phase to long-term maintenance, we work collaboratively with clients from start to finish so users, staff, and/or customers get the experience they need to deliver the results your business deserves. Using double-loop learning, we help our clients grow and succeed in complex and changing environments.
Image credit: Vecteezy.com