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RPA, or robotic process automation, is an emerging technology practice designed to streamline business operations and reduce company costs. It can help automate simple processes, giving staff the ability to serve customers on more complicated tasks or complete higher-value work. Others might see RPA as a means to an end, a stand-in as enterprises look ahead to intelligent automation (IA) via machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

It is the fastest-growing enterprise technology and also the core of hyper-automation, which has been the #1 strategic technology trend for 2020.1 To better understand this industry game-changer, we will analyze what RPA really is, look at its uses and benefits, and highlight RPA services from Lanshore.

Technology has advanced the human experience. We live and work in a digital world. Little things, like how a form auto-fills, or how an insurance claim processes faster with fewer errors – those little actions, accomplished by a thinking, calculating RPA system, make everyday tasks easier, less daunting and less time-consuming. This is why RPA is a highly-appreciated technology.

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a software that can be programmed to perform rule-based tasks across multiple applications and processes without human intervention. It is governed by business logic as well as structured inputs, and aimed at automating processes which would be handled by live persons. RPA tools can be used to configure software or a “robot” capable of several actions, including but not limited to transactions, triggering responses, manipulating data, and communicating with other digital systems both within and connected to the primary company.

So, RPA enables organizations to use software bots to automate tasks, but what sort of tasks can those bots complete? Using a combination of integrations, cognitive processes, and advanced technologies, RPA can mimic or surpass many human user actions within a business or IT process. These actions vary in complexity.

An RPA bot can log into applications, fill out forms, move files, copy and paste data, extract information, and more. Those scenarios most people take for granted, like sending an automatic response to an email, are completed by an RPA bot. RPAs can also deploy hundreds or even thousands of bots, each programmed to automate a job in an ERP system. An ERP, or enterprise resource planning, system is an integrated system of software applications that standardize, streamline, and integrate processes across multiple departments, including finance, human resources, distribution, and more. If RPA can assist with all these actions and essential business tasks, imagine the benefits it provides to companies that use it.

RPA technology is heavily sought after and coveted by businesses worldwide. It helps organizations streamline operations and, as mentioned before, can copy most if not all human user actions. This, in turn, can reduce human error and staffing costs. This year, with the rise of the pandemic, several hundred businesses had to transition operations to a digital platform to stay relevant in the public eye.

Banks are a great example, as so many implemented RPA to redesign claim processes and move customer banking capabilities online and to mobile applications. By deploying RPA bots, banks could add capacity at less the cost of recruiting more staff. Bots are easy to implement and do not require deep system integration nor custom software. This proves beneficial as more companies look for ways to grow without adding significant expenditures to the books or making friction among workers. Simply put, RPA systems can add breathing room to companies so they can better serve their business.

By improving business practices with RPA, companies can enjoy short-term and long-term benefits. By replacing personnel tasks, RPA offers a reduction in resource cost and time, manual errors and operational risks. Automating processes can improve employee productivity and work satisfaction, as well as improve the customer experience. Bots can be used to gather data which in turn can help enterprises draw meaningful analytics and insights into customer demands and needs. RPA systems can also help ensure government compliance, as businesses stay aware of and take steps to comply with both federal and industry rules, policies, and standards.

As technology efforts continue to advance, RPA will also evolve. Automation efforts may be enhanced by injecting RPA with cognitive technologies, such as speech recognition or language processing, to automate high-order tasks that previously required human perception and judgement. These implementations would be part of a value chain that allows companies to deliver better services to their markets, and it would be a leap towards the adoption and adaptation of IA.

In 2021, as enterprises embrace automation and even AI, there could be a reduction in employee requirements. This could threaten jobs, particularly for knowledge workers, but at the same time, new jobs will be created, as staff train up and assume new roles within their companies. RPA will also provide a need for personnel who understand domains and can manage knowledge bases for applications.

For now, bots operate off of business logic rules, but if they can become smarter, they may be able to handle more complex operations. If they are paired with cognitive technologies, and are capable of extracting information via audio, text, or images, these bots can identify patterns and pass information along for next steps in an essential process. Only time will tell how far RPA will go, but its future seems hopeful.

RPA Services and RPA-as-a-Service are not the same terminology. RPA-as-a-Service refers to the method of consumption, how a company employees RPA software and its availability in the cloud. RPA service providers provide and help manage RPA services within a company. At Lanshore, we have made it a priority to innovate and deploy RPA in forward-looking organizations who wish to embark on digital transformation initiatives. Lanshore has kept pace with leading vendor developments, staying well-informed of RPA advancements and growth. We have the skills and knowledge to select the best RPA tools for your company so as to enhance your process-based performance. Contact us today to inquire about our RPA services and to discuss how RPA can revolutionize your business practices.