Techsplained: RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

Many jobs still have a heavy workload with tedious and repetitive tasks. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an easy to use technology that will help employees.

Techsplained is an animated video series in which we dissect current and upcoming technologies and business solutions. Episode 1: RPA (Robotic Process Automation)
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What is RPA? 

Simply put, RPA or Robotic Process Automation is an automation technology that lets robots perform human tasks, or what we call ‘user interactions’. Almost any company and job has repetitive tasks that can be automated, so RPA is useful in virtually any industry or company. 

What kind of tasks can RPA perform?   

RPA harnesses the power of rule-based automation software to create a ‘script’: a record of every user interaction the employee performs. It then replicates these exact steps, freeing the employee to do work that actually requires human skills like creativity or empathy.  

RPA is best equipped for rule-based and repetitive back-office tasks, such as moving files, extracting data from one software program to another, filling in forms etc. In general, RPA is very good at automating tasks that require interactions in different systems.  

 

Citizen development: power to the people 

In its most simple form, RPA can easily be implemented by the employees themselves with Microsoft Power Automate for Desktop, a tool that you can simply install on your computer 

Just press ‘record’ and continue to perform the task you want to automate. The RPA tool will then make a script of these user actions, and repeat them at the click of a button. It’s surprisingly easy, and you don’t need any specific IT or coding knowledge. Who said automation has to be complex?   

 

RPA in a Day

 

Advanced automation  

RPA as a citizen development tool is ideal for straightforward user interactions. In need of more complex automations like dynamic processing of data sheets or scraping a website? Usually this type of automation requires interfacing, which is part of your digital landscape. Or one of the systems involved is built dynamically and requires more advanced implementation.

In that case, it’s recommended to have an expert analyze where and how RPA can be implemented in the existing architecture. Cegeka can help you set up these complex automations within RPA based on Microsoft Power Platform  

 

When RPA for advanced automation is called for  

For more advanced automation through RPA, citizen development doesn’t apply and you need a more technical approach. But why not just automate processes through the software’s API, you ask? Sometimes this isn’t an option, because the interface is not adaptable due to security or privacy reasons and technical constraints. For instance, when medical data is involved, it is not allowed to transfer data between apps automatically.  

In short: RPA is the perfect solution when:

  • you want to automate repetitive user interactions like transferring data from one system to another or retrieving data from different systems
  • you want to automate more complex processes but the interface of the system doesn’t allow automation

Different solutions for each scenario  

Considering the amount of repetitive tasks that can be automated, RPA can add value for practically any company. But the type of automation depends on the complexity of the tasks and systems. With Microsoft Power Platform you can automate the more basic tasks. Power Automate for Desktop is the easiest way to do this, by just recording the order of the tasks on your own device.  

 

For more advanced automation, when the API doesn’t allow automation or you’re dealing with dynamic systems, you need a partner with the right technical expertise to set up the automation. 

 

RPA in a Day 

Interested in more easy wins for your company? Connect with our experts to see what’s possible. 

 

Techsplained: innovations don't have to be complicated

Discover how you can go above and beyond in the digital age with the latest technologies featured in our series of 1 minute animated explainer videos. Inspirational, crystal-clear and a relief from the dry business blogs all over the web.

Check out the entire series

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