In generic terms it stands for “Robotic Process Automation”. Now, what does that mean? Is it just some fancy term used for automating processes in an organization or is it something where Robots take over the Humans?
Thanks to the movie classics such as Terminator and Matrix wherein the machines become sentient and take over humans, make them their slaves to power up the batteries etc., the world has gone wild with their imaginations and are scared about Automation!
Given the advancement in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing/Generation, one could just speculate whether the Machine Apocalypse portrayed in the movies would actually happen or not. I will leave that for the future to unfold itself, let us just hope that we remain the masters in the game till we exist.
With this article, my objective is to educate what RPA is all about, some of its applications and the current trends and definitely not to scare people given the misconception that RPA is here to take away the jobs!
With the early Industrial Revolution that took place in 18th Century to the recent Industrial Revolution 4.0, automation has changed the way people have worked. It has made life easier, simpler, smarter and increased the productivity multi-fold. Some economists argue that living standards of the masses of ordinary people began a sustained growth due to Industrial Revolution and continue to do so.
Now jumping back to Robotic Process Automation (RPA):
In layman terms, Robot stands for a machine or a tool that mimics human actions. Process Automation, as the name suggests stands for automating sequence of actions or a flow of activities to be performed.
To do this, one can use AI enabled robots/bots that have machine learning capabilities. Once installed, they can handle high-volume, repeatable tasks that previously required humans to perform. Some of these tasks can include queries, calculations and maintenance of records and transactions etc.,
Thus, RPA allows the strategists to free up labour by automating repetitive manual work and use the skills at a different level. There are various places where this could apply and bring in a lot of value.
In a bank, a clerk who is a qualified accountant sits behind the desk and accepts cheques which have arrived to get monetized day in and day out. All that the clerk would do is accept the cheque, acknowledge the same to the customer, enter the details into ledger and pass it on to the cashier. The cashier in turn would verify all the entries, make the necessary changes/approvals, calculate the amount to be dispensed and call in the customer to collect the same.
Meanwhile the customer waits at the lobby to get the cash from the cash counter. This may take a lot of time depending on the rush during some of those days. Imagine the time taken for the same.
Now that’s an effective process. However, humans tend to get bored with these kinds of mundane repetitive tasks and get prone to making errors.
Now imagine this, using technology we automate all that process. The customer drops in the cheque and collects the cash from the machine in next few seconds.
In the back end, the machine aka robot recognizes the handwriting, make the appropriate entries in the ledger and send it for the final approval of the accountant/cashier who has to just verify the amount and account number – Then the cash is dispensed!
This is achieved by installing a robot/bot through UiPath / BluePrism / Automation Anywhere or tons of other tools that have advanced optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities or that could integrate with OCR tools like ABBYY FineReader etc.,
- Faster time to process the cheque
- Considerable reduction in human errors
- Freeing up of an accountant/clerk for better strategic use in other critical jobs
- Enhanced customer satisfaction
While this was a simple example, one can use the bots in various scenarios not just restricted to finance but almost every other department that does repetitive tasks can be automated for better productivity.
Now why organizations are moving towards RPA
As per Grand View Research, the global RPA market accounted for around US$597.5 million in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 31.1% from 2018 to 2025 to reach US$3.97 billion in 2025.
More than 1,500 business customers and government agencies use RPA as a platform to rapidly deploy software robots that perfectly emulate and execute repetitive processes boosting business productivity, ensuring compliance, and enhancing customer experience across back-office and front-office operations. Industry research has shown close to 50% cost savings by automating data intensive, repetitive tasks by improving the accuracy and efficiency using RPA.
Marlabs is a NJ based Digital Innovation Company. We assist organizations through their digital transformation journey. We have over 2500 employees spread across geographies. With strategic partnerships with industry leaders, Marlabs is equipped with tools and knowledge to execute any project seamlessly.
Marlabs has partnered with UiPath, one of the leading RPA solution providers in the market currently. Marlabs also has immense knowledge on other tools and provides an unbiased consulting services to help you decide the best tool available in the market that makes more sense for your business and to increase ROI.