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What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic Process Automation or RPA is one of the most talked about technologies in the business world and for good reason. It is helping businesses automate manual processes, reducing the business running costs and most importantly, empowering businesses to operate remotely.

So what is RPA?

For most people, images of robots come to mind when we talk about RPA. However, RPA is not related to physical robots. It is a technology that allows individuals to use software robots to automatically complete tasks such as entering data from one system to another.

For example, an accountant working in the finance department must tally financial information from an excel sheet into a financial software or application. It is usually a manual process that would take hours to complete. An RPA software bot could do this task of taking information from one system or screen to another automatically, allowing the accountant to do more value-added tasks.

Similarly, RPA technology can be programmed to automate various laborious, mundane tasks.

To automate these tasks, RPA works by mimicking the actions of humans. This means the ‘robot’ can interpret data and communicate with other systems to complete various tasks. Because RPA is an automated solution, it can work 24/7 while making zero mistakes.

Why businesses are adopting RPA?

The solution has quickly become very popular with businesses because of its ability to be installed very easily into existing IT systems. Businesses do not have to change their systems to accommodate the ‘robots’ and instead can add the solution with confidence that it will not disrupt their systems.

The simple nature of the ‘robot’ installation means that the solution also requires minimal investment upfront.

Once implemented, RPA can work on the various processes in the background which then frees up the time of the staff members that would usually do this job. These people can then shift their focus on to the more high-level business tasks that require constant human intervention and knowledge.

Examples of tasks that an RPA ‘bot’ can do:

- Copy and paste data

- Move files and folders

- Open emails and attachments

- Make calculations

- Log into applications

With the minimal initial cost and capability to move existing staff members into different roles, RPA can have significant financial savings for businesses. These savings can then be invested back into the business in different areas to help the organisation to continue to grow and prosper.

Furthermore, with an RPA ‘robot’ completing manual tasks quickly without mistakes, the customer experience is also improved. For example, a company that processes invoices could have the sorting and sending of that invoice completed accurately at any time rather than having to wait for staff to do it in normal working hours.

Summary of Benefits:

- Improved accuracy (zero mistakes)

- Works 24/7

- Financial savings

- Increases staff productivity

- Improves customer experience

- Easy to implement

- Option to scale

As more and more businesses continue to incorporate RPA into their processes, understanding the technology, its uses and benefits is a great way to start on your automation journey.

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