What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software technology that’s easy for anyone to use to automate digital tasks.
With RPA, software users create software robots, or “bots”, that can learn, mimic, and then execute rules-based business processes. RPA automation enables users to create bots by observing human digital actions. Show your bots what to do, then let them do the work. Robotic Process Automation software bots can interact with any application or system the same way people do—except that RPA bots can operate around the clock, nonstop, much faster and with 100% reliability and precision.
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What can RPA do for me?
Speed & Accuracy
Tasks are done the same way every single time
Improved Employee Morale
Employees focus on human tasks, not robotic tasks
Full auditing capabilities
Get more done with the same staff
Scalability & Flexibility
Quickly scale up to accommodate unexpected volumes
Improved Customer Experience
Faster turn-around times
Low Barrier to Entry
Low code bot building without programming background required
Robotic Process Automation bots have the same digital skillset as people—and then some. Think of RPA bots as a Digital Workforce that can interact with any system or application. For example, bots are able to copy-paste, scrape web data, make calculations, open and move files, parse emails, log into programs, connect to APIs, and extract unstructured data. And because bots can adapt to any interface or workflow, there’s no need to change business systems, applications, or existing processes in order to automate.
RPA bots are easy to set up, use, and share. If you know how to record video on your phone, you’ll be able to configure RPA bots. It’s as intuitive as hitting record, play, and stop buttons and using drag-and-drop to move files around at work. RPA bots can be scheduled, cloned, customized, and shared to execute business processes throughout the organization.
Why should I implement RPA?
Why should I implement RPA?
The benefits go on and on...
Robotic Process Automation has a positive snowball effect on business operations and outcomes. RPA delivers measurable business benefits right out of the gate—think cost reduction, greater accuracy, delivery speed—then continues to add value as it picks up momentum and spreads across the organization. RPA improves business outcomes like customer satisfaction and enables competitive advantages by freeing humans to do what they do best—solving problems, improving processes, conducting analysis, and other value-added work—resulting in higher employee engagement and new revenue opportunities.
RPA bots create step-change in employee productivity by accelerating workflows and enabling more work to get done by executing processes independently. In document-intensive industries like financial services, insurance and in the public sector, RPA bots can handle form filling and claims processing all hands-free.
With 100% accuracy there is no rework and near-perfect compliance. Automating with RPA is enabling industries such as finance, healthcare and life sciences to leverage the reliability of bots to achieve strict compliance standards. Robotic Process Automation in accounting is enabling new levels of speed and precision in order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes.
Cost Savings & Fast ROI
The intuitive, code-free interface allows anyone to quickly master bot creation and start driving ROI. For the average employee, that means regaining 40% of their time each day that was wasted on manual digital administrative tasks. In industries like healthcare the value of automating is amplified by the critical importance of error-free, compliant process execution to patient outcomes.
Integrate Across Platforms
RPA is application agnostic so you’ll never need to upgrade or replace existing systems for RPA to work. Bots enable enterprises to live the dream of eliminating technology siloes by seamlessly connecting across all software tools regardless of function and department, in both front office and back office. The result? Achieve never-before seen enterprise-wide efficiencies and collaboration that taps into the true value of your human capital investment.
In the front office, attended RPA bots help agents interact with customers by doing all the system and data entry legwork—resulting in reduced call handling time (AHT) and a 50% improvement in customer experience at the same time. Industries such as telecommunications and life sciences deploy bots to streamline customer inquiry handling and smoothly respond to spikes in call volumes.
Harness Artificial Intelligence (AI)
When artificial intelligence (AI) is combined with RPA to create Intelligent Automation, automating extends by an order of magnitude, able to draw on the 80% of enterprise data that’s unstructured. In procure-to-pay, automate invoice processing of non-standard vendor invoices. In insurance, automate extracting claims data and detecting potential fraud. In HR, automate request intake by understanding the employee’s intent.
RPA enables high-volume business processes to be more elastic and able to adapt in uncertain times and changing environments. Flexibly handle any workload—planned or unplanned—by expanding your Digital Workforce the moment it’s required. Now imagine it being so simple, so intuitive, that anyone can do it.
Get ahead with RPA: Start the journey like other top companies
4Proof of Concept
6Center of Excellence
Get ahead with RPA:
Start the journey like other top companies
What is your vision for digital transformation?
Determining your readiness for RPA (the next step on the RPA journey) is closely tied to your organization’s approach to digital transformation.
If you’re starting the process, ask lots of questions–both internally and externally. Reach out to trusted partners, vendors, and other organizations already on their RPA path to inform creating the vision of what your organization looks like during and after digital transformation.
Success tip: Put people at the center of your plans. Involve a broad cross-section of stakeholders and bring HR to the table early on. People, at every level, are ultimately your change agents and RPA champions.
Who will your RPA leaders be? And what will you automate first?
There are two critical leadership roles to fill: RPA sponsor and RPA evangelist. The RPA sponsor is your senior-level automation champion. This person has budgeting influence. The RPA evangelist is your project lead. This person will align leaders across business units and departments to determine the right business processes candidates for automation.
Set up your RPA proof of concept and/or pilot for success by targeting processes for automation that have high business value and defining success criteria before you start automating.
Evaluate and select your best-fit solution and support model
The golden rule? Think long-term. RPA, or more broadly, intelligent automation, is a fast-moving market. A vendor that will be relevant as an ongoing partner will have demonstrated experience and stability, and be invested in continuing to adapt and innovate.
Looking ahead to RPA expansion and achieving digital transformation goals, RPA can only be successful at scale when your workforce is empowered to automate on their own. You’ll need to choose RPA software that’s not only be technically powerful but also exceptionally intuitive.
Test your RPA business case, implementation model, and assumptions—in your unique business context.
The value of your RPA proof of concept is in seeing if your business case assumptions were accurate and proving out your implementation model.
Reminder: pick a process to automate first that has significant potential for gains through automation, and not a process that’s lowest risk. Bonus points if the processes touches as many business technology systems and applications as possible.
Test RPA in the real world of your business operations
Post-PoC, the next step in the RPA journey is putting an automated process into everyday operation.
Your RPA pilot will follow the implementation model as defined in your PoC, and you’ll assess the performance of the RPA pilot against predefined success criteria and specific pilot exit requirements. Now is the time to ensure you are including people. Learn from everyone’s experience of the RPA pilot to ready your roll-out for widespread RPA adoption.
Establish your global center for RPA standards and oversight.
Plan for full-scale RPA adoption by creating a global CoE focused on effectiveness and governance.
Your CoE will be in charge of creating standards, and propagating best practices, tools and templates, that support business users who create bots. The CoE has concentrated RPA expertise to assist business units get up and running with building and optimizing their own automations.
Create ongoing momentum, and extend and deepen the use of RPA across the organization
Here is where your selection of intuitive-to-use RPA software will really shine. Expanding RPA as an end-to-end solution relies on your workforce using RPA on their own.
With guidance from the CoE, business units and departments start up bot building functions that will be the day-to-day engines of automation. The CoE will focus on monitoring progress, establishing best practices, promoting successes, and continuing to enhance resources and expertise.
See the results of engaging everyone in RPA
RPA is a major enabler for digital transformation, not only by providing an accessible way for business processes to become more “digital” but by changing the human work experience and setting the stage for more complex and intelligent augmentation and transformation of business.
Automation as an embedded part of work life—part of your organization’s DNA—means digital siloes are a thing of the past, and processes of increasing complexity can be automated, with people adding value by applying human creativity and invention to solve new problems.
Where is RPA being used?
Reduce costs and improve customer experience by automating
claims processing and administration report automation updating user info prioritizing and assigning claims adjudication process audit management enrollment and eligibility
Define a new era in financial services by automating
customer onboarding mortgage & loan origination customer service regulatory compliance new application processing data migration credit decisioning
Enhance patient experience and increase compliance by automating
patient preauthorization claims processing medical record and data management operational analytics
Tackle your toughest processes by automating
ERP processes transportation management purchase order processing inventory management regulatory compliance freight costing invoice verification receipt confirmation
Drive connectivity and performance by automating
procurement financial processes human resources mission processes
Fuel innovation and operational agility by automating
supply chain management back-office productivity clinical trial data handling pharmacovigilance (PV) and complaint handling product safety issue tracking regulatory compliance lifecycle management
How do I put RPA into action?
Automation Anywhere offers the most intuitive RPA solutions that anyone can use with ease. Enterprise-grade technology with the intuitive experience of a consumer application. Our RPA+AI platform of prodcuts has automated business processes for some of the biggest brands in the world.
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cloud-native, AI-powered, web-based platform for end-to-end automation
Frequently Asked Questions about RPA
With all the buzz, it can be tough to get clear answers to basic questions. We believe RPA is a tool that belongs in everyone’s hands - so we’re here to help. Here are plain language answers to common questions about this automation technology that no one should be afraid to ask!
RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. "Robotic" describes the program that you can set up to do work—the same way you would—with computer systems and applications. “Process” refers to the work that you want to get done. And “Automation” is what it sounds like—making work happen on its own.
RPA bots, or just "bots", are software programs that you set up to do digital work. They’re not just simple chatbots - they're a Digital Workforce. RPA bots can interact with any system or application the same way a human worker would. It’s as simple as showing your bots what to do, then letting them do the work.
RPA is a big part of Intelligent Automation. Connecting artificial intelligence (AI) technologies (like machine learning and natural language processing) with RPA software is what makes it "intelligent". Intelligent Automation works for many—and more complex—business process automation scenarios than RPA alone.
Most information is not in set format (often referred to as “unstructured data”). Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is able to capture data from any document, extract relevant information, and organize the data. Why does that matter? Having the right, usable, data is what enables RPA tools to work their magic. Ahem, execute processes.
Yes and no. We believe everyone should have access to automation solutions, so Automation Anywhere makes our industry-leading RPA platform available for free to individuals such as students, small businesses, developers, and researchers. The core of our business is supporting enterprises’ automation and digital transformation with our platform and services. To get started, every organization can access a free trial to take the power of RPA for a test drive.
Have you ever felt like a robot? The classic examples of processes ripe to be automated are called “swivel chair” work—that is manual, soul-crushing, repetitive tasks that have zero creative input or value added by being completed by a person. RPA takes over this “robotic” work, and executes it better and faster, without stopping or making mistakes.
The best part? That’s just the beginning of the benefits of RPA.
When RPA is married with AI technologies (aka Intelligent Automation), it enables us to reimagine how businesses operate by seamlessly integrating technology, work processes, and people.
Here are a few of the top benefits of using RPA+AI
- Automate any business process from start to finish
- Connect front- and back-office processes
- Organize and process complex data
- Eliminate errors and exceptions
- Strengthen operational security
- Ensure compliance
- Enhance customer experience
- Liberate employees
- See a great return on investment
Across industries and business sizes, RPA can take on any repetitive, manual, process—and be up and running in a matter of minutes. Ways to apply Intelligent Automation are limited only by your imagination. And with pre-built bots ready to download, you can find RPA bots pre-trained to take on functions such as hiring and onboarding or insurance claims processing. Put bots in, anywhere.
No coding is required to use RPA. With a simple user interface, Automation Anywhere delivers RPA+AI tools that anyone can use. Is RPA easy to learn? Yes. You don't need to be a CIO to succeed here. The best outcomes for enterprise adoption of RPA are built on a core team that includes people with development and IT skill sets, working together with business users to organize and optimize automations.
You can start using RPA without any training and learn as you go. It helps, though, to build a foundation with RPA training and certification on RPA and AI tools and technologies. Depending on the path you’d like to take, such as RPA developer or RPA administrator, certification programs include around 10 hours of in-class time.
Getting started with RPA is easy, but it’s true that alone doesn’t guarantee long-term success, especially at scale. Before you begin, take an in-depth look at the RPA journey and some example use cases. Implementing RPA into your workflow is in fact a long-term journey of creating business change—both operational and cultural. You'll need a great core team and the right tools. Help from expert RPA partners doesn't hurt, either.
There is rarely a single point of failure in RPA projects. But some of the common trouble spots that you can certainly get ahead of include: Lack of RPA skills or knowledge, insufficient communication and change management, not involving IT from the beginning, mis-defined success criteria. Don’t be shy to ask for help at any stage of your RPA journey. Want to speak with an RPA expert? Contact us.
If you're here, you must be a big-picture thinker. The latest buzzword for where RPA technology evolves to is hyperautomation. The idea is automating business processes—even automatically—of increasing complexity, that today rely on knowledge inputs from people. Automating begins to change the nature of work itself, not only by providing an accessible way for business processes to become more “digital” but by changing the human work experience and setting the stage for more complex and intelligent augmentation and transformation of business. In short, RPA defined the start of a new era of work. The rest is yet to come.