05 Jun RPA: Robotic Process Automation – What It Is and How It Can Help Us
Robotic Process Automation is all technology oriented to the use of software with the aim of reducing human intervention in IT applications, especially for use in repetitive tasks which hardly vary in each iteration. The term RPA is relatively new, but the concept behind it isn’t. For decades, we have been looking for ways to optimize resources by using software that performs specific functions in record time.
When we think about robots, we tend to imagine heavy machines that perform industrial tasks, mainly on assembly lines. RPA extrapolates this concept of automation purely to computer models, or software robots. It is this trend that encourages the addition of new levels of quality and productivity in a company’s Digital Transformation strategy.
The processing capacity of modern equipment, as well as its high connectivity and internet possibilities, are enabling the rise of this type of automation technology. Not only because they process information much faster than people, but also because they can connect different computer systems, generate documents, update databases, send emails, transfer data between applications, etc.
Although Business Process Management (BPM) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) operate with a similar process logic based on events, actions, conditions and loops, the context for their application is vastly different.
BPM ensures a solid operational and business process infrastructure, whereas RPA is used to tackle tasks just as a person would, but at a much higher speed; therefore, it operates at a more superficial level.
Both are relatively quick to implement, and allow a very agile adjustment to possible changes in the processes.
BPM can be considered as the foundation for company operations, orchestrating a coordinated and efficient workflow that integrates users, systems and data.
RPA, for its part, allows certain tasks within the company workflow to be undertaken in record time, notably improving the times for repetitive tasks that may have caused bottlenecks.
In short, RPA and BPM are not in conflict with each other. Although both seek process optimization, their area of influence is different, and each case will require greater presence of one or the other. Indeed, in most circumstances, the best solution will be to implement both solutions.
Although RPA can have a greater initial impact, what companies often need is to establish an efficient workflow between its departments and employees, instead of optimizing a specific repetitive task.
In general, the best strategy is to start by establishing an optimal workflow throughout the enterprise and detecting all bottlenecks. BPM is the ideal tool for this, using statistical simulation to estimate times and resources and then in production to ensure continuous improvement. Detecting the bottlenecks and optimizing the processes with BPM is often sufficient, and if needed, RPA can be implemented to expedite specific tasks.
AuraPortal’s BPM (Business Process Management) technology has many of the characteristics that a user could expect from a RPA system or technology. Although the BPM perspective aims at automating business processes in general (whether software procedures, personal tasks, or a combination of both), AuraPortal can be used as a software automation environment, for which it has many functionalities, including:
- Workflow control: The process logic is built in a flowchart and all necessary attributes are added.
- Complete personalization: Users have all the necessary tools to transform even their most complex ideas into real and executable automated processes.
- Databases: AuraPortal has its own databases that allow you to collect any type of information in your own repositories for future consultation or processing.
- Processing information: all data imported into the process can be processed, stored or even sent to another system or application.
- System tasks: These tasks execute actions based on the process data and are very diverse. They can perform tasks such as sending emails, generating documents, updating databases, performing complex calculations, running custom scripts, etc.
- Connectivity: enables connection to any type of device, application or external database through web services, Adapters Server, external forms, data import service, executor type system tasks and script invoker, etc.
- Native connectors: The platform also includes sophisticated channels for integration with other external software applications such as Excel, Email, ODBC, Web Services, SAP, Dynamics CRM and others.
There is no doubt that this philosophy of work can generate immense benefits in terms of company productivity and efficiency, but first it is essential to understand the company’s needs and to establish a solid strategy. Indeed, all possible bottlenecks must be identified to analyze how best to solve them using customized software applications, to finally create the logical automated processes and deploy them.