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Robotic Process Automation: The Future of Automation Industry

Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay 38

Due to the failure of handling automated lightweight data and processing tasks, people can’t spend enough time on value-added activities. They keep on using forms to fill in information, creating spreadsheets to collect, analyze, report data and so on which actually have the negative impact on productivity of the industry. Automation aims to change the workplace as rapidly as the machines of the industrial revolution period changed the factories in the 18th century. According to a study on the western economy, automation can save around $2 trillion in wages, and has impacted over 130 million jobs with the highest level of productivity [1]. In order to reduce the operating costs with high operating efficiency and support growth through automation, the organizations want to prefer ‘Process Automation’ as an optimal solution. ‘Process Automation’ requires less or no human intervention and ‘Information Technology’ (IT) is the prime enabler of that. Among the traditional methodologies of ‘Process Automation’, ‘Enterprise Resource Planning’ and ‘Business Process Automation’ are mentionable. While these traditional methods have their own limitations, process automation can be achieved using two genres of tools: Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Automation (IA).

According to the report of ‘The Institute for Robotic Process Automation’ (IRPA), RPA is an application oriented technology which permits employees of organization to make configuration of computer software, or a ‘robot’, for capturing and interpreting existing applications to process a transaction, manipulation of data, triggering responses as well as making communication among other digital systems.

According to the leading newspaper of India ‘The Hindu Business Line’, Robotic Process Automation created 2 lakh jobs in India by 2021 [2] ! The global RPA market was $271 million in 2016, and was $2.5 billion in 2020 [3], which demonstrates the huge demand of RPAin current market.

Let’s try to explore RPA in a brief manner.

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) deals with automating manual and repetitive tasks. RPA, therefore, provides us a tool that we can use to automate all the clerical tasks and saves time followed by making it free from human made errors. With this tool, you have more time to spend on innovative strategy making with your team where RPA can be deployable at a large scale [4].

Example: Suppose we want to automate the process of invoice generation in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). In that case, we have to configure these task sequences to create a “bot”. After completion of creating the bot, it can carry on the same tasks automatically which includes automatic logging in ERP followed by executing the tasks. Hence, we do not have to involve ourselves in such types of repetitive work.

RPA is not only beneficial for automating the ERP transactions. Let’s explore the other benefits of RPA in the following section.

Benefits of RPA: The benefits of RPA are as follows [4]:

  1. Better productivity: With the proper use of RPA, repetitive efforts of employees can be reduced at a margin of greater than 60% to 90%.
  2. Better quality and accuracy: Bots can perform assigned work with 100% accuracy that can reduce any chance of reworking on that area.
  3. Lesser startup costs: The bot licenses are cheaper than the software tools and these bots are capable of performing the work of three full time employees. Hence the startup costs are pretty low.
  4. Lesser processing costs: The overall processing costs are pretty lesser such that a cost of the bot can be one fifth of the employee depending upon the job location.

Features of RPA: Processes that can be automated using RPA must have following features like ‘Repetitive’, ‘Template driven and Rules based’ and so on. Here it can be mentioned that RPA tools do not store any data. The features in details as follows [5]:

  • Rich-analytical Suite.
  • Security.
  • Simple Bot Creation Interface.
  • Source Control.
  • Hosting and Deployment Option.
  • Rules-based Exception Handling.
  • Debugging.
  • Less Script or Script Less Automation.

Applications of RPA:

RPA is being applied in following domains in order to achieve better accuracy, easier integration and high-quality services [3].

  1. IT Management and Support.
  2. Financial Services.
  3. HR Management.
  4. Supply Chain.
  5. Retail.
  6. Banking.
  7. Telecom.
  8. Manufacturing.
  9. Healthcare.

RPA Vendors and Marketplaces

Some of the leading RPA vendors in the market are: ‘Automation Anywhere’, ‘Blue Prism’, ‘UiPath’, ‘WorkFusion’ [4]. Let’s discuss some of the marketplaces from the top RPA vendors:

(a) UiPath Connect Marketplace: A rich library consisting of reusable RPA components.

(b) Blue Prism Digital Exchange (DX): A central repository for finding and including pre-built “skills”.

(c) Automation Anywhere Bot Store: Includes digital workers or bots for automating the tasks.

Conclusions: There is a rapid advancement in the RPA domain and is a part of a template driven approach. It leads to a huge movement to user friendly and faster deployment in comparison with traditional coding. Hence, nowadays IT industries are adapting with these emerging technologies, for instance, process mining, artificial intelligence (AI), and analytics for enabling end-to-end process automation. Even during COVID-19 pandemic period, RPA played a significant role in automating the core processes. Due to the huge demand of ‘Robotic Process Automation’ in MNCs like TCS, it is better for students to pursue online training on RPA in order to explore careers in the Automation industry.

References

[1] https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603465/the-relentless-pace-of-automation/

[2] http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/robotic-process-automation-will-create-2-lakh-jobs-in-india-by-2021/article10040270.ece

[3] https://www.impactmybiz.com/blog/blog-7-uses-robotic-process-automation-rpa/

[4] N.Mullakara, A.K.Asokan (2020), Robotic Process Automation Projects, Packt.

[5] https://www.clariontech.com/platform-blog/11-powerful-features-of-rpa-that-matter-most-to-businesses