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Ultimate Guide To RPA (Robotic Process Automation)


by eshikakhanna

Business procedures have largely remained the same for a long time; they are laborious, monotonous, and leave little room for creativity. However, with the development of RPA technology, everything is suddenly changing.

Robotic process automation is revolutionizing company operations by greatly automating formerly manual tasks.

Therefore, if you’re still using outdated methods, it’s time to catch up with the times and adopt RPA!

Robotic Process Automation Guide - Signity Solutions

With the change in RPA business models like RPA-as-a-Service and new development approaches such as low-code and no-code, RPA isn’t going anywhere, at least for a decade.

RPA adoption continues to spread across all industries, including BFSI, healthcare, and manufacturing. The RPA market was valued at $2 billion in 2020 and will grow at a CAGR of 31.5% by 2026.

In this guide, we’ll explore what RPA is and how industries can take advantage of it.

What Is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an application of modern technologies like AI, ML, and NLP that are powered by business logic and structured inputs to automate mundane and repetitive business processes.

To implement RPA in business processes, software engineers build software robots that emulate human actions of interacting with digital systems like computers. These software bots can understand what is on the screen and how to navigate through the system to perform the desired task.

How Does RPA Work?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an excellent solution for businesses looking to automate repetitive tasks with minimal disruption. It works similarly in nature as human interaction, so you can use it on your existing infrastructure without having any issues or downtime!

With RPA, there are endless possibilities of what could be automated – from simple copy/paste activities all the way up through complex data extraction methods such as scraping web pages and downloading files off servers.

How Does RPA Work?

By automating these processes with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), you can create a system where bots interact and complete work assignments just like people do! This will allow minimal disruption while still leveraging existing infrastructure which makes it easy on everyone involved – especially since we know how much RPA improves efficiency.

An RPA system works by integrating with your existing technology infrastructure. RPA tools can integrate with your front-end (desktop connections) or back-end (databases and enterprise web services) to perform different tasks.

Depending on your organization’s automation needs, you can integrate RPA with either technology infrastructures or both.

  • From the front-end perspective, there are several ways an RPA system can connect with your applications like Salesforce CRM, SAP, PeopleSoft, etc. RPA, at the front-end, can read and write data and record events straight from the target applications’ user interface.
  • On the back-end, the RPA accesses systems and services under the governance of the process automation server to facilitate unattended automation (more on attended automation later). For example, software bots can carry out back-office tasks such as processing loan applications without requiring any human intervention when installed in the back-end systems.

Frontend Automation to Backend Automation

The Origin and Evolution of RPA

RPA isn’t a standalone technology; instead, it’s a combination of several technologies clubbed together as a toolkit for process automation. The term “RPA” emerged in the early 2000s, whereas its initial development took place in the 1990s.

With continuous advancement, these technologies resembled RPA very closely. Therefore, the origins of RPA relate to its three key predecessors.

  1. Screen Scraping is a technology that is considered a significant step toward the development of RPA. Basically, screen scraping is used to extract data from web programs and documents, which can be displayed to another application.
  2. Workflow automation and management tools are the nearest antecedents of RPA. These tools are used to automate processes that are repetitive in nature so that the computer program can predict the flow.
  3. Artificial Intelligence is the cornerstone for unattended RPA bots. Until the AI RPA integration in 2015, computer bots needed human inputs to perform tasks.

Since then, the RPA industry has been on steroids, bringing RPA among the most preferable automation technologies of modern times.

Types of RPA Bots:

We’ve already discussed that RPA bots can perform predefined tasks. Depending on their implementation approach and work environment, RPA bots are generally categorized into 3 types.

1. Attended/Assisted Bots

Attended bots can be called virtual assistants that help employees with their tasks. Legacy-attended bots are limited to an employee’s desktop. In current times when RPA is getting more and more intelligent, attended bots are only suited for tasks that need to be triggered at points that are hard to detect by computer programs.

A very popular example of attended bots is in customer service operations. The employees ( customer service representatives) can trigger the bot to pull customer queries while they continue talking to them and understand their requests or grievances.

2. Unattended/Unassisted Bots

Unattended bots enable end-to-end automation that works on its own. These bots are triggered by logic in the automation process flow and have some level of decision-making ability to eliminate the need for human input. Unattended bots are the holy grail of enterprise automation strategies.

For example, the loan request at banking institutions can be taken care of by RPA bots. The software bots can simply look at the credit history and ratings of an individual to decide their eligibility.

3. Hybrid Bots

In a real business scenario, an enterprise-level automation strategy includes a hybrid automation approach where both attended and unattended RPA bots work together to increase overall efficiency and reduce human errors.

Benefits of Implementing Robotic Process Automation

Following are the most desirable benefits of Robotic Process Automation.

1. Reduces Cost by Increasing Productivity

In a conventional operational setup, humans are required to spend a hefty amount of time on repetitive tasks such as document scanning and verification, copying and pasting information, etc. Naturally, this increases the reliance on human labor, which is slow and costly.

The goal behind implementing RPA is to let humans work on things they excel at and let software bots take care of the rest of the tasks. RPA implementation can result in a 35% to 50% productivity increase, which triggers the economies of scale.

Also, robots are faster than human beings because they can work tirelessly 24*7. They can be active even when your entire workforce is asleep.

2. Reduces Manual Errors

Humans are prone to errors. And the chances of mistakes with mundane and repetitive tasks are as high as possible. With the right software bots implemented for the right business processes, you can sit back and relax because the software bots won’t make errors that your employees might.

Make sure that you get the implementation right. Consult an RPA software engineering team and work together to find the appropriate use cases.

3. Improves Employee Experience

Another aspect of Robotic Process Automation is the employee experience. For example, RPA+AI can enhance the work environment at a conventional workplace like a manufacturing facility by eliminating mundane and repetitive tasks, allowing humans to work on jobs requiring decision-making input.

4. Enhances Customer Service

Until RPA, most companies had a hard time meeting their highly varied customer demands. With RPA implemented into several business operations, you can focus more on things that matter, like customer service.

Not only this, the Robotic Process Automation bots can handle the screening and allocation of customer service requests so that they reach the right customer representative every time.

5. Streamline Compliance Management

RPA software’s ability to pull and aggregate data from several sources makes it the perfect tool to streamline compliance management for an organization. In addition, businesses can enhance regulatory reporting efficiency as the RPA systems can reduce the need to spend a lot of time collecting, compiling, and summarizing a huge chunk of information.

One critical aspect is the speed of an Robotic Process Automation system depends on the legacy infrastructure of the enterprise. Therefore, your ERP system’s speed, complexity, and accuracy impact the overall automation output. Hence, it’s highly recommended to go with an experienced RPA consultancy.

What Business Processes Can be Automated by RPA?

The use cases of RPA in business processes range from reducing payroll process errors to processing loans and customer onboarding applications. Organizations across the globe have increasingly been adopting robotic process automation software programs to make their operations more efficient.

BFSI and Insurance Retail Manufacturing & Logistics Healthcare Telecom Hospitality
Customer onboarding

Statement processing

Fraud detection

Compliance management

Customer query handling and communication

Customer claims management

Underwriting and payouts

Invoice processing

Store inventory management

Product categorization

Customer support

Logistics and supply chain management

Predictive and preventive maintenance

Shipment scheduling and processing

Purchase order initiation

Inventory and raw material management

Compliance management

Patient appointment scheduling

Payment processing

Claims management

Data entry, migration, and extraction

Compliance management

Metadata management

Customer support

Customer application processing

Email to ticket automation

Booking automation

Loyalty benefits processing

Competitor pricing analysis

Compliance management and reporting

Claims processing

Customer complaints handling

Let’s discuss the business processes in several industry verticals that can be automated by RPA.

1. RPA in BFSI and Insurance

The banking and financial service industry is the market leader in Robotic Process Automation adoption, accounting for around one-third of the market share in global RPA revenue. Banking, finance, and insurance companies tend to deal with a lot of data, and due to this, they require a larger scale of automation.

Some of the popular RPA use cases in the BFSI and insurance domain are:

  • Customer onboarding
  • Statement processing
  • Fraud detection
  • Compliance management
  • Customer query handling and communication
  • Customer claims management
  • Underwriting and payouts

2. RPA in Retail

The retail and consumer goods industry is expected to realize the highest growth rate in RPA adoption in the upcoming years. With online overthrowing offline, retailers have understood that higher efficiency is the key to obtaining more customers because higher efficiency results in lesser operational costs, which allows retailers to offer discounts and coupons.

Following are the common use cases of RPA in the retail sector:

  • Invoice processing
  • Store inventory management
  • Product categorization
  • Customer support
  • Logistics and supply chain management

3. RPA in Manufacturing & Logistics

Core manufacturing is already largely automated, with physical robots in place. For example, the assembly line robots in the automotive industry.

Manufacturers often struggle with the cost pressure of having lower margins and the resource limitation, which restricts their focus on next-gen product innovation. Robotic Process Automation is implemented for these supporting manufacturing functions to make them work more efficiently.

A report by Global Lighthouse Network states that the early adopters of RPA and AI in manufacturing will realize 30-90 percent faster time to market and up to 200 percent higher factory output.

RPA can even enable intelligent upstream processes like demand planning, sourcing, and procurement. Also, for the downstream processes, Robotic Process Automation can infuse automation into distribution channels, warehouses, and logistics.

Following are the most promising RPA use cases for manufacturing and logistics:

  • Predictive and preventive maintenance
  • Shipment scheduling and processing
  • Purchase order initiation
  • Inventory and raw material management

4. RPA in Healthcare

Healthcare has been the most demanding industry for RPA implementation during and post-pandemic. Healthcare institutions aim to focus more on delivering value-based care and attention to patients, and in order to achieve that, they need to focus less on the back-office tasks.

Here are the more trending healthcare RPA use cases:

  • Compliance management
  • Patient appointment scheduling
  • Payment processing
  • Claims management
  • Data entry, migration, and extraction

5. RPA in Telecom

With the ever-increasing demand for seamless connectivity and faster internet, the telecom sector struggles with meeting customer demands while keeping the cost lower. As a result, telecom operators deal with high overhead expenses, risk of errors, and low productivity, requiring immediate attention.

Many telecom operators have already started to automate their processes to gain a competitive advantage. Following are the top use cases of RPA in telecom:

  • Compliance management
  • Metadata management
  • Customer support
  • Customer application processing
  • Email to ticket automation

6. RPA in Hospitality

We all know that travel costs are going to rise due to an increase in oil prices. Even though the increased process doesn’t demotivate people for travel, the customer expectation from the hospitality service providers will certainly increase due to higher prices. This brings a need for significant savings in operational costs.

Following are the top automation opportunities for hospitality businesses to reduce operational costs:

  • Booking automation
  • Loyalty benefits processing
  • Competitor pricing analysis
  • Compliance management and reporting
  • Claims processing
  • Customer complaints handling

How Do You Implement RPA at Your Company?

It is evident that Robotic Process Automation is necessary for operational efficiencies and competitive advantage. For every organization that is willing to invest in automation via Robotic Process Automation, the implementation journey remains more or less the same.

RPA implementation process

Following are the standards steps required for a successful RPA implementation:

1. Process Mining

The automation journey in any industry starts with process mining. Because having a thought process around making the business processes efficient is the critical step for any large-scale digital transformation.

Process mining helps Robotic Process Automation enablers to identify business processes that can be automated. Once the process automation is up and running, you can move on to task automation.

2. Feasibility Assessment

During the feasibility assessment, the process examination and technical feasibility are carried out to evaluate to what extent a process can be automated. Most often, the actual process handler, a subject matter expert, and an RPA expert collaborate to assess the automation feasibility of a business process.

3. Readjust or Restructure the Processes

Depending on the feasibility analysis results, identify the processes that aren’t structured, standardized, recorded, and optimized for automation. You need to restructure these processes to enable automation.

4. Develop a PoC

When the processes are ready to be automated, you should first develop a proof of concept to test the practicality of RPA tools and technologies within their business environment. You should aim for automating the critical elements of business processes, not the entire process, and examine whether the automation efforts drive desired results or not.

5. Deploy a Pilot

Once you attain success in your PoC, it’s time to run the pilot. During this step of RPA implementation, focus on the results. Analyze the bot vs. manual performance and determine whether you’ve invested in the correct type of RPA.

6. Automate Your Business Processes

You need to formulate an implementation plan for RPA and reorganize your teams or resources if needed. Some organizations believe they only need RPA developers for their automation journey, but that is not the case. Robotic Process Automation implementation requires a comprehensive team of business analysts, operating staff, subject matter experts, project managers, developers, and a solution architect.

7. Operate and Monitor

Your Robotic Process Automation journey doesn’t end with the deployment. You need to frequently analyze the bot’s performance and ensure that they aren’t overloaded etc. Hence, it’s therefore important to partner with an Robotic Process Automation consultancy like Signity Solutions to ensure a successful automation journey.

How Are Businesses Leveraging RPA Solutions?

Businesses across several industry verticals are increasingly adopting Robotic Process Automation into their processes. Here are some of the recent RPA deployments worldwide:

Top 5 RPA Tools as Per Gartner

With the modern low-code/no-code approach to automation, many Robotic Process Automation vendors have started to offer cloud-based Robotic Process Automation solutions for businesses. Though these vendors claim that the no-code approach doesn’t require any technical input, we all have seen what is happening with content management systems on an enterprise level.

According to Gartner reviews and ratings, the following are the top 5 Robotic Process Automation tools in 2022:

1. UiPath

UiPath offers the best Robotic Process Automation tools and systems that are powered by AI and help enterprises automate process mining and the rest of the automation process. The platform also provides a collaboration tool where employees can request processes they want to automate.

With low-code, no-code, and full-code, UiPath can be used by any level of automation experts. Moreover, the platform offers attended, unattended, and hybrid bots to enable comprehensive process automation.

Hire UiPath Certified Developers who can effectively utilize RPA for your company to increase productivity, efficiency, and economic viability while providing unparalleled services to your partners and clients.

2. Automation Anywhere

The Automation 360 platform offered by Automation Anywhere is a cloud-native Robotic Process Automation solution that is largely used for legacy applications and as an RPA as a service. Automation 360 is renowned for end-to-end automation, which doesn’t require enterprises to treat back-office and front-end processes separately.

3. Blue Prism

Blue Prism is a low-code Robotic Process Automation platform, allowing anyone with the basic-development skills to add automation in their workflows. The platform boasts a drag and drop builder, which makes it easy for subject matter experts to customize tasks and infuse automation to them. Blue Prism has AI capabilities, allowing it to mimic and learn human input in business processes. You can implement Blue Prism on-premises, cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid.

4. TruBot

Provided by Datamatics, TruBot is an Robotic Process Automation software designed to enable a digital workforce of attended and unattended software bots for a wide array of business processes. The software leverages the integration of cognitive applications like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing to deliver intelligent automation.

5. OpenRPA

OpenRPA is a very simple, yet striking open-source RPA technology that is free to use and lets users automate virtually any task or process in minutes. It can automate IoT devices and is a great pick for developers.

6. Conversational RPA by AutomationEdge

Targeted to a very niche segment of business processes, AutomationEdge Conversational RPA provides employees and customers with a single-window for several operations and issues.

The software program resolves customer and employee issues and provides instant and personalized resolutions. In addition, AutomationEdge Conversational Robotic Process Automation offers omnichannel support through which users can enable automation by using channels of their choice like Slack, MS Teams, etc.

The future of Robotic Process Automation is bright. As several reports suggest, enterprises will continue to experiment with RPA with their business processes to achieve maximum efficiency and higher ROI.  Read full RPA Guide for more information…!!


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