RPA essentials or understanding robotic automation of processes

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) consists of automating certain digital tasks and processes of a company. These tasks can be placed on the user’s workstation or back-office on the company’s servers. In general, the company that decides to use the APC wants to remove manual intervention and replace it with robots. These robots mimic human intervention.

There are two types of robots in the RPA:

The autonomous robots. They do not require human intervention. These robots can operate continuously in back-end and in the background without the human having to intervene. For example, the robot can retrieve data from one database, transfer it to another system while performing compliance checks.

Semi-autonomous robots. They are triggered by human intervention. These robots are logically placed on the user’s workstation. The recognition of information on the screen and their integration into business applications is an example.

In general, the human can take control at any time and control the robot, said Mebenga Amougui, Data Science Practice Manager and Yan Saint Germes, Data Practice Manager, two representatives of the service company Umanis. The other requirement is that these robots must be monitored to ensure optimal compliance of procedures and the proper execution of automated processes. It also increases the range of the robot and improves its operation.

Because it is part of the business processes of the company, the RPA is among the technologies related to these operations, such as BPM (Business Process Management) and Case Management. RPA, on the other hand, focuses more on an activity than a process.

Which tasks can be automated

Automation must be applied only to a careful selection of tasks and operations, confirm the two managers. The eligibility criteria for RPP activities are primarily based on a good knowledge of the company’s processes. “We first tackle the volume and high frequency tasks,” says Umanis. Why ? It is on these activities that the RoI is the most important and therefore remains palpable.

The repetitive activities and where the hardness is strong, are therefore the first eligible for the RPA. The other criteria relate to the value provided by the activity: those with low value therefore fall within this approach as well as simple tasks. For example, at the British insurer Aviva, which has placed the RPA at the heart of the transformation of its ways of working, robots are assigned tasks that have no added value, ” said Andrada Covaci , in charge of Intelligent Automation & Client Experience activities at Aviva.

This is also underlined by Eric Adrian, the managing director of UiPath (a publisher of a platform for the RPA) in France. For him, the RPA target for example “a task that is performed by hand, and becomes, over time, very time-consuming and increasingly complex with the magnification of systems.”

What are the gains made by the RPA

In a general way, robots, by automating certain activities , do not make the human disappear, but increases what he realizes, explains Umanis.

On the workstation, the gains obtained relate to:

improving the quality of service,

cost reduction,

the reduction of manual errors,

and logically, a rise in revenue.

On the back-office side, the gains are somewhat different. For example, they relate to:

the valorization of work and human intelligence,

Security,

the speed of execution,

24/7 robot availability.

In the back end, companies are starting to set up robot farms for the most common tasks, say the two leaders of the company. In Europe, the United Kingdom is ahead of France.

According to Forrester, the RPA market is currently dominated by UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, Kofax and PegaSystems – just to name a few. For Grand View Research, the RPA is expected to follow an upwardly rising curve to reach $ 3.11 billion in 2025.

An example of a use case

RPA application cases can be found in all business departments. In the DSI, for example, robots can be configured to automate application deployment or test components. In the HR department, onboarding (the operation of technically welcoming a new employee into the company) is also a target activity for the RPA. This is a simple task but usually involves the intervention of several transverse departments. Without much value, says Umanis. Above all, this activity remains time-consuming. With the RPA, it goes from 80 minutes to 5 minutes.

The company details this example: the new employee enters his information online, these are validated automatically. A user account is created, then his email account, a phone order is made, then that of a PC. The control of a PC automatically triggers a request to install the PC. Finally, an email is sent to the newcomer’s staff announcing his arrival and another is sent to the newcomer to welcome him.

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