Robotic Process Automation, or RPA for short, is a technology that automates repetitive, process-based data-related tasks. It's so versatile that it can be used for simple data entry all the way up to highly complex back-office processes. Medium and Large Enterprises are now relying on RPA to improve efficiency and accuracy of input data by eliminating human error from these manual repetitive tasks. RPA also frees up employee time to focus on more commercial duties and value-added services.
Gartner estimates RPA spending in 2022 globally will reach $2.9 Billion with an annual growth rate of 31%. This is nearly double the global software market's average annual growth rate.
No more using stagnant traditional tech
Enterprise companies have for decades purchased off-the-shelf software and saturated local and cloud solutions. This has resulted in a complicated, severly duplicated, bloated mix of technologies that need integration to achieve accuracy, efficiency, reporting and productivity.
RPA, being a fresh technology, with fewer supplier offerings and highly unique, understands the fractured range of enterprise technologies and enables them to work together by automating as many processes as possible. Although not all RPA solutions are the same which adds to their individuality and different reasons for choosing an RPA platform, ultimately the reliance on human involvement for complicated processing reduces significantly with RPA to the point where companies can realise cost savings of 59% and boost efficiency and productivity by 86%. Achieved by integrating or "glueing" their standalone stagnant traditional IT platforms together with RPA technology.
IT Departments choose RPA for critical processes
IT Departments for years have been charged with finding better, faster ways for businesses to work and through the evolution of technology within the last few years, adopting RPA and IA (Intelligent Automation) has finally met these performance goals. RPA, utilising visual workflows and including programming languages such as Python, offers a powerful, flexible and agile way to integrate an unlimited number of separate enterprise applications. The result of which enables companies to conduct business faster, with less errors, without disrupting core legacy systems, or replacing existing software, or removing current processes or hiring or keeping expensive human staff to manage manual or digital processes and workflows.
From simple to complex business use cases, RPA finally empowers and enables enterprise IT teams to build, deploy and scale intelligent automations quickly, reducing all of the frustrations presented by their fragmented software platforms and slow processes and instead maximises on the technologies and workforce they currently have but with a hugely more profitable and integrated output.
How RPA bots work
RPA bots invite new automation possibilities and without any reliance on just one particular software platform or vendor. So no lock-in. Robotic Process Automation can also be integrated with virtually any technology and platform to create powerful and scalable automation solutions and processes which expands their existing applications' capabilities. Developers can use a code free UI development environment to build complex software bots. They can also, should they choose, use workflow (drag-and-drop) tools that although offer some limitation in functionality and features, but when mixed with complex programming code, expands their automation ideas and aims with zero limitations.
RPA can also be operated in a serverless model which means companies don't need to invest in any expensive CAPEX hardware to run their RPA software bots. Bots can be run in the cloud on an OPEX model, on-premise on local workstations or existing servers, or by using a mix hybrid approach. It really depends on company scaling requirements, available internal hardware resources and critically important, their cyber security policies and data compliance.
How RPA bots are deployed
The nature of some open-source RPA platforms, such as Robocorp, gives developers a way to create, reuse and extend automations through centralised libraries. This eliminates the need to continually rebuild the same functions, speeds development and lowers maintenance. As open-source code is portable, businesses retain IP ownership of their RPA bot code and are therefore not obligated to remain with a particular vendor for support or monitoring (called orchestration).
Deployment of open-source bots that uses GitOps also enables better traceability, compliance and governance than many other RPA platforms. Using a Git repository is a single source of truth for application configuration to deliver infrastructure as code. This approach uses DevOps which is essentially software development best practices such as version control, collaboration, compliance and CI/CD checking and then applies these practices to infrastructure automation.
Automation teams within an IT Department can then manage their entire RPA infrastructure and application development using a "unified orchestration" and monitoring tool which is an integrated platform that tracks the software bot(s) performance, provides feedback by way of errors and alerts to the IT development team and also controls bot scheduling. An RPA Orchestrator also provides analytics to track important business value metrics and for overall compliance and governance. It can also be used to bring in an outsourced RPA support company to manage your RPA. This allows for greater collaboration and coordination between teams and results in fewer errors and faster problem resolution.
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