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Article

15. 02. 2022

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – what is it actually?

Reading time: 4 Min.

In today's highly competitive business environment, optimization is one of the most important keywords. Improved cost efficiency, process optimization, procedure optimization, increased customer satisfaction, marketing optimization and much more - there is an endless list of business components that require constant adjustment to become more efficient, productive and powerful. In this complex area of business, one technology has emerged in the last years that is now used as a standard method in many companies.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is able to continually provide new answers to the questions of thousands of entrepreneurs across a wide range of industries, such as, "How can I achieve more in the same amount of time with the existing number of employees?" RPA is the core technology that provides a wide range of solutions.

In this article, we first create a basic understanding of Robotic Process Automation. Once the first step is taken with RPA, exciting new possibilities follow with Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition and cognitive AI components.
But for now, let's start with the main component on the journey to a digitized and fully automated business: Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology or collection of techniques that makes it possible to imitate human input and actions on computer applications. Specifically, it means that with the help of an RPA tool, we can have a digital assistant perform all the inputs on the computer that you or your employees would otherwise do with a mouse and keyboard. Thus, this bot, which runs as a software on the computer, can execute entire process chains. Unlike simple macros, an RPA bot is not limited to a single application. It can switch back and forth between any programs and applications and enter and read data almost anywhere, perform calculations and also make simple decisions. For complex decisions (but not limited to those), an RPA bot can interact with humans to, for example, make a request or take one last look at the processed operation before it is completed.

The possibilities are endless! In short, it can be said that an RPA bot can operate a computer just like a human. For monotonous, repetitive tasks, an RPA bot shows its strengths. For creative tasks and complex decisions, it prefers to leave it to your employees.

What are the benefits of RPA?

In addition to some obvious benefits - such as faster, error-free and high-quality work results - the use of an RPA bot also brings advantages that may not be immediately apparent. For example, as a company, you can continuously improve your Data Quality and achieve higher customer satisfaction through faster response times. But your employees can also benefit from the RPA bot. The bot can perform time-consuming and, above all, monotonous tasks for you, so that your employees have more time for complex, strategic or creative topics. The bots can also be designed to act as personal assistants to your employees and support them in their work.

Our clients are already benefiting from these advantages. With RPA, we have raised their Data Management to a new level of quality and efficiency. And security is also improving due to the accuracy and reliability of RPA bots. Data never leaves its clusters and is automatically encrypted, making data leaks a thing of the past.

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Automate inefficient processes efficiently?

Automating a process does not mean simply handing it over to an RPA bot. Even if this is still the thought of clients from time to time, experience shows that it makes sense to put a little more effort into planning one's process optimization. After all, a lean and efficient process increases the aforementioned benefits of automation by a multiple. It is not uncommon for people to include process steps to make their work easier or to use assistance programs for orientation. A bot does not need these either to achieve the same result. This can often be seen in "evolved" processes. In addition, an RPA bot also has different possibilities than a human. It can request and process an entire dataset via an API call, or it can search for an intermediate result from a gigantic Excel spreadsheet buried in the vastness of the SharePoint.

Such circumstances and many more should be considered individually for each process during a prior process optimization and, if necessary, shortened or changed before sending the your digital assistant to work.

The future of RPA

The future of RPA is actually the future of software automation. This is because, as explained at the beginning, RPA is "only" the core of a technological development that is currently summarized under the term "hyperautomation". The goal of this development is to expand automation into more and more application areas, to scale faster and to make automation methods even more intelligent.

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Today, we can roughly assume that there are 4 maturity levels. The first two levels are technologically already fully developed, but level 3 and in particular level 4 are still being researched and are not yet very differentiated or in some cases not even standardized. Most companies are at level 1 or 2, where RPA bots take over processes in collaboration with human employees or do their work completely autonomously - without anyone having to take care of it - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Some companies have already gone one step further and handed over processes entirely to their digital assistants - so-called end-to-end automation. This means that the bots can "estimate" the nature and scope of work to be done and scale their "manpower" accordingly. In this way, the tasks are completed independently and fully in perfect quality, even in a dynamic environment. The robot setups are usually managed in the Cloud.

Level 4 also includes cognitive capabilities, often referred to as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Here, for example, the bot is supposed to grow beyond its abilities in simple text recognition (optical character recognition (OCR)) by improving its pattern recognition via advanced Machine Learning algorithms. It learns from past results to perform even better. This way, software robots are already able to interpret voices or structure data to then perform contextual analysis or make decisions.

How can you now use RPA successfully and effectively in your company? We have put together a free guide for you, which you can download here!

Free Guide

RPA erfolgreich und effektiv im Unternehmen einsetzen (470.9kb)

Download PDF

So, are you interested in learning more?

Contact our consultants today. They will be happy to show you what opportunities RPA offers for your company - competently and without obligation.

Questions? Want to know more? We're happy to help!

Thank you

We will contact you as soon as possible.

Dr. Merve Cim

RPA Analyst @ Adastra Germany

Dalia Paul

Head of Sales & Marketing

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