Robotic process automation (RPA) can play a key role in a successful digital transformation. RPA software enables organizations to offload repetitive tasks to technology that can complete them more efficiently.
As a concept that contains both the promise – robots will do all the drudge work! – and the fears – robots will be taking our jobs! – it’s not hard to understand why RPA gets so much attention.
But despite the unending stream of commentary around it, there is still a lot of misunderstanding around what RPA can and cannot do. These misunderstandings lead organizations into time-consuming, and often costly, mistakes. Here’s an overview that will help you recognize and avoid them.
What is RPA?
To get the full advantage of RPA capabilities, you need to first understand what robotic process automation really is. RPA is built around three common types of robots: Web, Process, and Content robots.
With these, you can automate the acquisition and integration of data from websites along with any repetitive, data-driven activities across your business. You can even automate the migration of content and data from legacy enterprise content management (ECM) systems.
RPA works best when it:
- Replaces repetitive, rules-based tasks
- Acts as a software robot
- Automates manual, outdated business processes
- Acts on clearly defined processes
In short, RPA can reproduce the repetitive human tasks associated with applications like opening email attachments, completing e-forms, data entry and integration.
However, RPA does not have the learning capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning (ML) technology. This is a common misunderstanding that leads to some of the most common errors we see around the use and expectations of RPA technology.
How Not> to Use RPA
It’s not surprising that RPA is often confused with AI or ML. The key difference lies in the core function of the technology. RPA does not read or interpret data but replicates manual actions to expedite redundant tasks.
Given the specificity of its function, there are several mistakes organizations often make when using RPA technology:
Mistake #1: Using RPA for Flawed Processes
Is your process clearly defined? Use RPA for proven processes that are rule-based and information-driven. If there is an error in your process, you do not want to automate this error with RPA technologies. Instead, use RPA with proven processes like Market Data Aggregation or Supply Chain Automation.
Mistake #2: Using RPA for Frequently Changing Processes
Tasks that are frequently updated or changed should not employ RPA. This will create more, not less, work for you and your team. Instead, use RPA with consistent processes like Compliance Monitoring and Reporting or Brand Monitoring.
Mistake #3: Using RPA for Small Processes
If you’re going to invest in RPA technology, don’t just use it to automatically archive emails. Instead, migrate and sort content across your entire organization and scan thousands of documents into the cloud in record time. Use RPA to integrate with Excel, websites, web portals, databases, and legacy applications as well. RPA works particularly well for Accounts Receivable and Government Data Aggregation.
Mistake #4: Using RPA for High-Risk Processes
Processes that contain high-risk or require human intervention should be avoided in RPA. For example, don’t attempt to fully automate your taxes or your employee performance reviews. However, you can automate Background Screening or Financial Account Aggregation.
Mistake #5: Using RPA for Non-Repeatable Processes
RPA only works with rules-based, repetitive tasks. If a clear-cut rule doesn’t exist, the technology will be unable to automate the process. Choose replicable tasks, such as IP and Fraud Detection or Shipping Data Aggregation.
When used correctly, robotic process automation is an incredibly powerful tool. From processing over 18,000 documents per day to monitoring competitive intelligence, RPA can acquire, enhance and deliver information from virtually any application or data source.
Getting the Most Out of RPA
Successful implementation of RPA technologies means finding a partner who will take the time to learn your processes. The ideal partner can customize the technology to your needs and provide you with a plan to scale as your company grows.
At MetaSource, we work closely with clients to create holistic automated solutions. Hopes and promises are nice things, but you need a partner with the resources and expertise to get you where you need to be. We can help you eliminate bottlenecks, increase data visibility and improve productivity with customized RPA solutions that deliver what you need. That’s a promise.
To learn more, give us a call or click on the link below.