Gartner says that the RPA market will reach $1.3 billion of revenue in 2019. Many big organizations are starting to notice or already building their Center of Excellence for RPA to catch up on this emerging technology. Whether you think RPA is just a buzz or a long term solution, here are 10 essential points you should know about RPA.
- RPA is an automation software. Generally, there are three essential elements in any RPA tools: The robot/bot, console, and studio.
- Robot/bot — Think droids in Star Wars
- Console — Think remote control of the robots
- Studio — Software to configure/build the robots
- RPA rose to its prominence in recent years due to its scalability and easiness of implementation. The RPA robots can work seamlessly across multiple platforms, with little to none changes needed for the current IT landscape. Unlike macro, it is not confined to Excel or windows-only applications. Any processes that require minimal/no human judgment can be automated in the RPA context.
- The most popular RPA tools today are Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere (AA), and UiPath. They are considered the big players in the RPA market. If you are a small business looking into RPA or a student researching about RPA, AA and UiPath provide community version that you can use for free without any time limitations.
- Benefits of RPA include lower error rate, better productivity among employees, improved products and services, which in time all results in cost efficiency.
- RPA, in general, is not about machine learning or AI, at least not now. The robots do not self-learn or resolve errors by itself. Thus, exception handling is important when configuring the robots.
- Most of the time, RPA robots are used to automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks. Most of the processes to be automated follow the same four stages, regardless of the system behavior and the nature of the task. The four steps are data input, validation, core process, and output. Read here to learn more about the four stages.
- Unlike other computer languages, a person starting to learn about RPA need not be a technical person. Almost all of the RPA tools use a drag-and-drop user interface, which makes configuration easy to learn and manage.
- RPA also follows the SDLC (system development life-cycle) methodology. Proper system assessment and process analysis should be completed before any configuration occurs. However, following the agile approach can help make RPA development easier as RPA can become very dynamic due to integrations of multiple platforms at one time.
- Most likely, RPA is the first automation tool introduced in many organizations. While RPA can mean better achievement of KPIs, it also means a change of work scope for stakeholders. Change management is important in any RPA project to communicate any changes/impact and to win the trust of stakeholders.
- RPA is more than just automation. It also allows people to re-define processes. The automated processes shouldn’t be just transforming the AS-IS process into workflows understandable by the robots. The TO-BE process should be designed in a way that is more efficient and usable by other robots.
In a nutshell, RPA is an emerging technology that can be implemented in just any organization right away. The robots can also get people out of the repetitive routine to have time for more analytical and meaningful work.