What is RPA?
Imagine you come to office one day, and all your routine work is already taken care of. So, no scheduling of calendar, no manual generation of standard reports, or even, no manual checking of mails and sending of appropriate, standard responses. Wouldn’t it be just lovely? Well, this is not wishful thinking and the above scenario is not from a dream. This is what RPA or Robotic Process Automation can achieve!
RPA, in simple parlance, means the ability to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks performed by people, using software “robots”.
RPA, thus, is the ability to apply technology using a series of structured inputs, against a business logic, with the aim to automate the same. Using RPA, an organization can configure tools/software to enter or manipulate data, automatically process transactions, trigger different events based upon flow logic or even setup communication channels with disparate digital systems. RPA scenarios can range from very basic implementations, such as, automating response to email on a desktop system, to server-wide deployments to automate jobs across an ERP or a CRM application.
RPA systems typically comprise of three distinct elements – the “Bot” Controller or Server, the actual “Bot” or “Robot” and a Development Kit / Platform to create the Bots. The Bot Controller is the heart of the RPA system and is responsible for managing and executing all the Bots. This server acts as a central repository that holds all information about the types of Bots, their versions, their workflows, access and permissions, etc. It is also tasked with monitoring and producing analytics for all bots deployed across the organization. Bots, also called Agents or Clients, are the workers that perform the predefined tasks or activities – with or without manual interaction. The Bots are typically stateless, but maintain extensive logs for audit and tracking purposes. The Development Toolkit is the final jigsaw in the puzzle, and using it, developers and business users can create and deploy any kind of bot to automate tasks. These kits may come in the form of highly sophisticated IDEs or Studios, which makes the task of Bot generation a matter of drag-and-drop play!
Figure: RPA Component Diagram
By using RPA, organizations can gain a distinct competitive edge by driving profitability and improving efficiency.
RPA has wide – ranging application and can be used across many industries to automate business processes and drive value. Some of the common applications of RPA are as follows –
RPA in Business Process Outsourcing
The outsourcing/BPO industry is built on razor-sharp margins in terms of costs. As this is an industry which is heavily dependent upon human workers, there are limits to what can be achieved, in terms of keeping costs low, while maintaining consistently top quality. With RPA, output can be maximized by automating tasks. Machines typically makes fewer mistakes per line of code than humans.
RPA in Insurance
In an industry which is heavily dependent on manual intervention and processing of tasks, ranging from managing policies, filing claims, underwriting, etc. and many other such administrative tasks, RPA seems like a most natural solution.
RPA in Health Care
There are many areas where RPA seems an obvious choice in the Healthcare industry. Right from patient care record handling, to claims, customer management, billing, medical reports processing, etc., RPA can play a significant role by maximizing output and keeping errors low.
The banking and financial sectors deal with tons of data and transactions. From automating account openings and closure, managing debits and credits, forex payments, and other more complex workflows, RPA can offer significant benefits to both – the ones who work behind the scenes in this industry, as well as, the end customer.
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