Robotics process automation and the robotised enterprise

Over the last twenty years, there has been an ever-increasing buzz around the robotics industry and the media attention surrounding it.

The revolutionising technology can contribute to the supporting applications for the processes in an organisation, so it is not surprising that it is being adopted throughout businesses at an increasingly rapid rate.

In fact, Frances Karamouzis, research vice president and analyst at Gartner, has recently been quoted claiming that “RPA tools are not as sophisticated as the larger market but play a very important role. One of the benefits of most of the RPA products on the market is that they are quite heterogeneous across lots of other software applications.”

She continued: “Gartner refers to RPA tools as ‘gateway technologies’ or ‘surface tools’ because they just begin to skim the surface of the larger intelligent automation services market. The attraction is the RPA tool just sits on top of the legacy system such as enterprise resource planning and there is no need for any special integration.”

“They’re also easy to use and have a relatively low cost. For all those reasons [RPA] has by far the highest adoption of automation tools that we’ve seen.”

>See also: RPA and the role of the CIO

Yet industry professionals across sectors are still all too unaware of the benefits of this technology: 97% of those in shared services appreciate that robots can automate manual data entry tasks.

However, only 52% agree they can “understand basic finance processes”, recent Redwood Software research conducted with Shared Services Link revealed.

Only 51% believe that they can replace human activity from end-to-end, and less than a third think it is possible to automate more than 80% of the finance processes in their companies. These myths need to be busted.

And while the most part of the industry focusses on the way in which RPA facilitates the elimination of repetitive and rule based tasks to gain a higher level of efficiency and consistency, none are looking at the bigger picture.

2017 will be seen as a pivotal year for the evolution of process robotics and the robotised enterprise – evolved versions of RPA, with various marked differentiations.

It essentially comes down to Digital versus Analog robotics.

>See also: Automation technology to the rescue

The key difference between the two is that the robots interact directly with the ERP and other enterprise applications, and not with the user interface.

Process robotics knows how to be configured, whereas regular robots imitate human actions in a process.

There is also no limit to process robotics’ scalability, whereas RPA is confined to a virtual desktop infrastructure.

And finally, most importantly, process robotics can deliver 70-100% automation consistently, as compared to those traditional RPA tools that only deliver 10-30% automation.

It doesn’t stop there though. Certain process robotics solutions available today are held by independent analysts to be more superior than most solutions in the market, and differentiate themselves in how they are controlled, made, kept, instructed, and as previously established, how they are scaled.

Another key element of process robotics is that it is created to be implemented in businesses, and not just to be used by IT programmers.

>See also: Automating the finance department

In fact, it is actually more precise to state that the robot software is configured rather than programmed. For that reason, we are updating prospect users with the ‘robot workflow’, which is essentially instructions to robots that comprise a process, for example the period end close.

The robot workflow is kick-started by a user with just one click, to begin the process.

The robots then take on escalations based on limits defined in the robot workflow. They are then surveyed and the relevant users are notified so no deadline is missed.

The secret is out and process robotics can deliver significant benefits to UK businesses today.

In 2017 expect to see an acceleration in the uptake of this technology to truly transform many business-critical processes.


Sourced by Neil Kinson, chief of staff at Redwood Software

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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