Introduction The introduction of automation has led to significant scale disruption across industries and job markets. Since automation can take up specific roles that humans have until now performed, it

Introduction

The introduction of automation has led to significant scale disruption across industries and job markets. Since automation can take up specific roles that humans have until now performed, it also creates an air of uneasiness amidst the workforce. This shift towards automation has resulted in a change in the nature of jobs, adding more anxiety to the workforce. However, most of the roles taken up by automation are monotonous and mechanical. As a result of the air of insecurity, it is natural to want to reject the benefits of automation.

As automation continues to gain popularity every day, there are still companies out there that are either facing strong resistance or are unaware of the features, framework, deployment models, and various other things associated with automation. Organizations must identify what works best for them before picking their RPA artillery.

What is an RPA tool?

It is a platform where the software robots follow user-built workflows to automate repetitive, rule-based processes to minimize the burden of employees for performing mundane and repetitive jobs.

What an RPA tool is not

Before we delve deeper, it is also -essential to understand what RPA is not. RPA is a somewhat simplified technology meant for repetitive, rules-based activities and is not capable of automation of entire processes or workflows which learn and adapt as they go.

RPA – not a one-size-fits-all solution

Granted that RPAs have a wide range of applications, it is important to carefully handpick the tasks you want to offload to your RPA bots. Assuming that you are developing KPIs that require your legacy systems to communicate with each other and transfer a lot of data, RPA is a perfect choice for the process. If the task at hand may take time to build and there is a need for an immediate solution, then thinking along the line of robotics makes sense. However, that doesn’t mean RPA would work well for similar tasks that may require, say, a certain degree of customer experience.

RPA – steering wheel or spare tire?

RPA is commonly associated with bots that mechanically gather inputs and perform redundant tasks. While partly true, there’s more to RPA than just chewing up a big chunk of monotonous and redundant tasks to free up bandwidth for other productive activities. Contrary to popular belief, the scope of RPA is far wider than just getting CRUD operations out of the way. RPA when combined with workflow can produce magic.

Real transformation occurs only when a robotic process works hand in glove with a workflow.

In this blog, we highlight the key differences between an RPA that just plays the role of a robot and an RPA integrated with a workflow that can perform intelligent activities way beyond the otherwise mechanical purview of an automated robot.


Criteria for Choosing an Ideal RPA Tool

Let’s take a look at some key criteria that can help in identifying and picking out an ideal RPA tool for your organization:

Bot and beyond!

Typically, an RPA is not a cognitive computing solution and is best suited for rules-based processes that do not require any judgment. Thus, largely employed in getting clerical tasks done. However, there can be more to an RPA than meets the eye.

Employing an RPA system here would only help efficiently move data from the front-end application to the legacy system.
But isn't that just one part of the problem? What about capturing data directly from the paper-applications? Or accepting data through a digitized application? Can an RPA do more than just-pushing the data between systems?

Let’s consider an example to understand the difference between a traditional RPA and one combined with the power of workflow, Pega for instance.

ABC is a bank that accepts both paper-based and paperless applications for processing. Typically, a clerk is customarily assigned to enter data from the paper forms into the legacy system and – again re-entered into the front-end application. Since there is no integration across these systems, the clerk must log the data twice.

A traditional RPA will help eliminate the need to re-enter data the second time (i.e., to the front-end application). The RPA will efficiently move data from the legacy system to the required destination. However, the clerical task of copying data from the paper forms and logging them into the legacy system still remains.

RPA infographic blog

An RPA coupled with the power of workflow can further eliminate the need for manual data logging from the paper forms. There can be several ways in which this can be achieved. One way around this is by digitizing the entire onboarding process from the paper-based system to a fully digitized system. However, there is a good chance that a particular section of the customers still prefers the manual paper-based process. A workflow solution loaded with capabilities can be used to accept the paper-based application into the digitized system. So, you can also retain the paper-based application system for that section of your customer base. Now, the onboarding application must be able to receive inputs from both a paper-based system and a digitized system without the need for a data entry clerk.

The OCR can quickly capture the data and proceed with appropriate steps. The OCR workflow eliminates personnel needing to copy and paste the data from the paper-based application. Then RPA can move the data between systems as the need may arise. The combination of workflow and RPA together fully eliminate the need for a manual data entry process, this goes a long way in terms of accuracy and processing speed.

Conclusion

One must carefully consider the above factors before selecting the right RPA tool for their automation. Each tool has a specific purpose, and it will be pivotal to evaluate the full potential of an RPA tool. You must prioritize one or more criteria over the others based on your preferences and choose the one which closely matches your requirements.

If you’re looking to gain further insights into Robotic Process Automation or Intelligent Automation Or maybe jumpstart your Digital Transformation journey