Constant development of software causes an increase in the number of applications for multiple business processes. The need to switch between those applications, to log in and to download data is both time-consuming and tedious. Daily execution of repetitive steps turns out to be a considerable effort. It’s all due to the fact that instead of repeating the same actions which require no intellectual effort whatsoever, we are rather willing to perform more creative and ambitious tasks with a potential to bring us satisfaction.
In order to address these inconveniences, one should consider RPA tools. As it turns out, repetitive processes, not necessarily short and trivial, may be executed by numerous kinds of robots, in this case software robots.
WHAT IS RPA?
The term RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation which implicitly relates to business processes. The approach assumes the use of a dedicated software – a robot to perform repetitive, multi-series activities instead of having an employee who has so far been processing these tasks “manually”.
A good example of process that may be automated is the work of an operator whose job is to once a week download a detailed online store’s sales report via an internet browser. Next, the operator modifies the report so that it is clearer for the end user (e.g. by hiding columns containing data which is considered “too detailed”), and saves it to a specific catalogue on a shared drive or sends it directly to the recipient via email.
Another example might be the process within which the operator takes care of a mailbox which receives invoices from business partners providing services for a particular enterprise. As their first step, the operator verifies whether the email contains an attachment in a required format, and whether the content of the attachment includes all required information. Next, depending on the verification’s result, the operator sends a confirmation of invoice receipt or information about missing data in the invoice.
Naturally, more complex processes may also be automated.
A significant upside to this class of solutions is the fact that their implementation does not require introducing modifications in the existing IT systems (especially interfaces). There is also no need to modify the form of the existing processes within the organization. RPA tools operate at the level of user interface (GUI), just as a human operator would. Consequently, business logic sown into the automated applications is used, which eliminates the problem of its restoring and adjusting.
RPA solutions are increasingly being equipped with selected AI mechanisms and machine learning capacity (described as RPA II). All this contributes to this kind of solutions being increasingly widely applied and having the potential to effectively execute more extensive and complex processes.
Tomasz Pytlak, Quality Assurance Engineer / UiPath Developer