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What is RPA?

Those routine tasks that we have to do so often in the workplace? We’re not a fan. They are time-consuming, boring and always run according to the same pattern. They prevent us from spending our time in a more efficient way and making full use of our potential. Thanks to Robotic Process Automation (RPA), we can use virtual robots to free us from repetitive tasks.

What is RPA?

RPA automates simple business processes by means of virtual software robots. These processes or subprocesses require manual intervention and steal unnecessary amounts of our time. If these processes always follow the same procedure and little or no interpretation is required, then RPA offers the right solution for you.

Software robots are perfect for workflows that consists of multiple steps and are spread over different screens and/or applications. Software bots imitate the work of your employees: they log in, read and capture data, enter that data and migrate it to other systems. RPA bots release us from the tasks we would prefer never to do again. Moreover, they work 24/7, they’re four times faster than humans, they’re error-free and they’re fully compliant.

How do you start out with RPA?

Since you don't have to adapt your existing legacy applications, you can get started with RPA very quickly. First you will look for the processes or subprocesses that are likely candidates for automation. You do this by gaining insight into the different tasks of your employees. You divide these tasks on the basis of their complexity, likely time savings, and possibly other factors such as a high margin of error or night work.

Once you have identified a potential RPA process, you can start scripting the different steps in that process with robot software. The three largest market players – UiPath, BluePrism and Automation Anywhere – have built innovative toolkits that make that scripting easier and cheaper. Once the RPA has bot been adequately tested after scripting and its value has been demonstrated with a demo, it's ready for deployment.

Tip: start with a less complex case that clearly demonstrates the value of RPA.

Who can use RPA as a solution?

Studies show that some 40% of all our manual tasks could potentially be automated by RPA. This is only logical: administrative tasks such as onboarding, invoicing, entering data are simple and structured and thus typical candidates for RPA. Many of these types of tasks can be found in departments such as finance, HR, customer service and logistics. RPA can therefore be a solution for companies in just about every sector: from the banking and insurance world to the telecom industry, from healthcare to transport and retail etc.

In short: it is truly worthwhile for organisations to discover the added value of RPA.

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