Robotic Process Automation
Streamline your workflows with a scalable, digital workforce
What Is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a type of automation technology that is transforming the way organizations operate. RPA relies on a scalable, digital workforce to streamline manual processes and reduce the burden on employees by giving repetitive tasks that can be performed more efficiently and more accurately to software bots.
RPA bots can communicate with business systems and applications, following the same steps in a process that human workers perform, even interfacing with multiple applications in the same workflow. Opportunities for automation exist virtually anywhere throughout the business because RPA is scalable, flexible, and it integrates workflows efficiently across the entire enterprise.
Key Benefits of RPA
Robotic process automation solutions boost productivity, improve accuracy, and help your organization grow by giving repetitive, manual workloads to software robots. With RPA software, you can:
Mimic Manual Tasks
Free up your human workforce to do more strategic work that adds value to your business.
Leverage a central automation platform without expensive hardware to automate integrations between systems, applications, and workflows.
Enable Innovation & Collaboration
Foster innovation between IT and business teams by centralizing automation and connecting data with detailed analytics.
Scale Your Digital Workforce
Use software robots as an easy, cost-effective way to configure and work alongside human employees to enable rapid growth.
How RPA Works
Robotic process automation works using two approaches to streamline repetitive tasks for both IT and business users. Both approaches can be combined for complete, end-to-end automation.
1) Front-End Automation: RPA bots streamline tasks associated with interactivity, websites, and attended processes. Use it for items like screen scraping or GUI automation, among others.
2) Back-End Automation: Leverages APIs for direct access to data. Used for high-capacity processes, including file movement and database processing.
RPA Solutions for Any Industry
Organizations across every sector and function are turning to RPA to optimize resources and maximize efficiency—from healthcare to financial services and insurance to human resources and call center automation. RPA bots can easily manage processes spanning departments, locations, and systems—on premise or in the cloud.
Watch RPA Videos
Processes to Automate
A series of short videos demonstrating popular use cases
Real-World Success Stories
A series of short videos on how various organizations use RPA
Begin Your RPA Journey
A series of videos to help you start your RPA journey
Common RPA Challenges & How to Avoid Them
Organizations that have gained the strongest competitive edge through robotic process automation didn’t just implement the software—they had a strategy for their RPA implementation journey. But unfortunately, many organizations make costly mistakes along the way during their implementation processes.
The most common RPA challenges and mistakes are detailed below with recommendations on how to address them. You can also view the on-demand webinar below, where automation experts detail strategies for solving cross-functional RPA scaling issues.
Once you’ve committed to implementing RPA, don’t forget to invest in the team that will implement and manage it. We strongly recommend that IT is involved in the project to avoid technology siloes and to ensure high application performance and robust security.
Other skillsets are also needed for a successful enterprise-wide automation project. First is the business analyst. This someone with a talent for visualizing process improvements to document existing processes and redesign them for optimal automation. Second, is a developer who will work with the process documentation to build automated workflows. Depending on the needs of your organization and the capabilities of your automation solution, the developer may not have to be an actual programmer.
You should also make sure to have an operations specialist involved in your RPA implementation. The operations team is key to managing your automation once it’s up and running across the business, so they should be represented on the core team from the start. Finally, you’ll need executive sponsorship.
Start your RPA implementation with a pilot project or proof of concept. This should be a process that’s not too complex, but delivers measurable value for the company.
Once you’re ready to scale your automation throughout the organization, take into consideration a variety of factors when prioritizing processes to automate. Your automation project team can use a weighted matrix that assesses each automation candidate based on criteria like criticality to the business, potential time savings, effort to automate, and any other factors that may be important to you. The team should also regularly review existing automation to see what’s adding the most value to the company.
Get the RPA Toolkit to prioritize RPA projects and optimize workflows
Automating a process as-is is quick and easy—just what you need to demonstrate the value of the software without putting in too much effort. It’s also a good choice for low-volume processes or those that aren’t mission-critical. However, GUI automation isn’t the fastest or most reliable method of automating.
If you have a process that involves multiple people and is fairly high-frequency, you should consider optimizing your automated workflows. Go through the process steps and make note of where you can automate via the backend. You may end up with a combination of as-is and optimized automation, or you may completely redesign the workflow according to workflow best pratices.
Automation isn’t just something you set and forget—it’s a project in its own right. Too often, the automation pilot project is executed with limited resources and no ability to scale. It’s not clear who is managing the project, investment in the automation doesn’t increase beyond a single process or department, and the right infrastructure isn’t in place to support your robotic process automation implementation.
Learn more about building an Automation Center of Excellence.
Your executive sponsor is likely to be focused on how your automation solution will help the bottom line. When you initially discuss the potential ROI of robotic process automation, make sure you cover areas of savings, like increased uptime, decreased errors, and fewer hours spent on custom scripting, as well as new costs, including user training and software maintenance. Once you’ve obtained approval to purchase RPA software, don’t get too complacent—you’re going to need to maintain that executive support as you implement automation throughout your organization.
As you go forward, it’s helpful to have someone on the executive team sitting on the steering committee for your automation project. Make sure that any automation success story from within your company is shared widely—this will generate enthusiasm for robotic process automation from the C-suite down.
Popular Automation Bots
The key to scaling your digital workforce is employing highly flexible, optimized software robots. Automate robots are enterprise-grade digital workers that offload, support, and augment existing business processes and workflows. Some of the most popular types of automation bots include:
Data Management Bot
Harness the power of big data with bots that extract, manipulate, and utilize data from sources on premise or in the cloud. Automatically write to a database, business application, or report.
IT Services Bot
Use robotic process automation to respond to common requests like password resets. Monitor systems, receive automatic, real-time notification of problems, and report on and analyze your IT services.
Call Center Bot
Provide a superior customer experience with bots that quickly access multiple systems to pull, analyze, or process order history and other data. Save time to focus on helping customers.
Claims Processing Bot
Let your software robots streamline each step in your claims processing workflow—processing forms, validating eligibility, notification, payment, and more. Eliminate human error with RPA.
Human Resources Bot
Automate Active Directory user provisioning for swift onboarding, offboarding, or account management. Scrape data from forms, automatically email managers, and integrate processes.
Accounts Payable Bot
Automatically process invoices upon arrival. Extract and manipulate data from paper forms and configure custom bots to manage your organization's unique Accounts Payable workflow.
How to Implement Robotic Process Automation
No matter where you are in your RPA implementation process—from getting ready to implement your first software bots to increasing your competitive edge through strategic automation—we've developed a comprehensive library of resources for every step of the way. Click on an implementation step below to get started.
Join the RPA Community
As you begin learning about robotic process automation and how it can support improved task handling throughout your organization, finding user groups and communities of like-minded individuals and experts can be a big help. In fact, these can fast-track both your understanding of and the value you derive from these powerful solutions.