What is robotic process automation and how is it useful?
There had been a lot in the press over the last 12 months around robotic process automation (RPA) and its uses within the process and operational excellence functions. Most of this information seems to be trying to put fear into everyone’s minds that we are all going to be out of a job soon. Many of us could have been asked what RPA was 6 months ago and we would just stare back with a blank expression on our faces. With this in mind here are some of the key insights into RPA and why this is an exciting area for many industries and that there is no need to be scared of it!
What is RPA?
RPA is the application of a technology in order to automate certain functions within a business. This is done through configuring computer software so that it is able to receive and analyse existing applications and then either process a transaction, manipulate the data, trigger a certain response or communicate with other systems. As this is done by a computer the ability to complete all these actions can occur in a fraction of a second, as opposed to someone manually doing the task.
How is it useful?
Many businesses struggle with time. Almost any business in the world will have a set of tasks that are very time consuming such as data entry and manipulation. By implementing RPA into your business you can program a computer or ‘robot if you prefer, to run these tasks autonomously increasing the efficiency of the business and allowing the members of your team to concentrate their efforts on other more important areas of the business.
But we will lose our jobs, won't we?
If you look at RPA at its most basic level ,then I can see why there is an argument that people will lose their jobs. Essentially you are programing a computer to do some of the tasks that would have otherwise been done by a human. However when you start to really think about the implications of RPA and the impact it will have on a business then you start to realise that in the main this will not be the case.
Most business do not want to suddenly get rid of most of their employees, but if they had the option to bring in a computer that could very quickly and efficiently take over some of the more time consuming and less important jobs wouldn’t you do it? It then allows that businesses employee to focus on the work that is more important to the business and that will actually drive the business on.
One side of the argument I heard in support of RPA was that everyone should be encouraging its expansion, the argument for this was that by business implementing RPA into their everyday work you will actually increase the moral of your staff. It is an interesting point based around the fact that by taking away some of the (lets be frank) boring parts of our jobs we are more likely to enjoy our work an inevitably become more productive. This provides an extra added benefit that many businesses are not considering when they are thinking about implementing RPA.
At present RPA looks set to be here for the long haul and it is something that employees at many businesses are going to have to come to terms with. All I can say to that is don’t just think about it as a ‘robot’ taking a job away but more a ‘robot’ allow us to do the jobs we would all rather be doing when we have been sitting in front of that excel spreadsheet for the past 3 hours!
I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them as I would love to hear your thoughts on RPA and the impact it is or may have on your business.
RPA & Artificial Intelligence Live 2017
The PEX Network has recently launched a new digital RPA event that begins on the 26th June 2017. This complimentary online event is a selection of hand-picked a series of case studies and thought leadership presentations regarding Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). You can watch these live from anywhere in the world on almost any device and also back on demand if you miss any sessions. Places for this fantastic event are limited so sign up soon to avoid disappointment: www.RPA-Live.com