RPA is a technical application, controlled by structured input and business logic, which are designed to automate business processes. These robots are programmed to automate the work in the ERP system.
The software is designed to perform routine tasks across multiple applications and systems in existing workflows. It performs specific tasks to capture and interpret applications used to process transactions, manipulate data, trigger responses, and communicate with other digital systems. Where there are generally repeating the same task over and over by rote and complex workflow steps. There are plenty of opportunities to infuse RPA to improve accuracy, reduce processes from days to minutes, ramp up efforts to deliver mission-critical work, and dramatically improve business performance. This efficiency can ultimately save businesses important money, allowing companies to scale quickly to fully meet demand, reduce headcount to manage, or maximize speed and accuracy.
RPA bots can work independently or alongside humans. While attended robots collaborate with humans to improve speed and accuracy in the mundane aspects of their jobs, unattended robots can operate autonomously without any human intervention. For example, in a customer service environment, attended bots can be utilized to retrieve customer data faster, allowing each customer service representative to queue up more efficiently to maintain customer loyalty.
Unattended bots are deployed more frequently to automate background activities involving collecting data, processing, and analyzing. Imagine, for example, recruiting and onboarding. When a company hires an employee, the robot handles much of the “paperwork” the company does filling out and applying for various applications. Additionally, bots can be more accurate and unbiased to find applicants 24/7. After looking for applicants, the bot can also screen resumes and candidates. Apart from this, Software engineering leaders can develop bots programmatically or using the low-code/no-code GUI native to the RPA software platform.
RPA revolution: Key Features of RPA Tools
The right RPA tool for a specific process in a specific industry depends on the capabilities of that tool. RPA bots from all RPA companies can be categorized according to the functionality they provide in the following 3 dimensions:
Programming options: RPA robots need programming, and there are 5 programming methods: coding, low-code (UX support), recording, no-code tools, and self-learning tools.
Cognitive ability: Programming a robot requires cognitive ability to determine its behavior based on input gathered from other systems. RPA tools provide a range of cognitive capabilities: incompetence, built-in cognitive capabilities, and market enablement capabilities.
Usage: The robot provides specific functions. While most RPA tools can be used to build bots that provide all of these capabilities, some are better suited for attended or unattended automation: attended, unattended, or hybrid.
Advantages of RPA
OK, so we’ve listed some of the features of RPA capabilities. But what specific benefits does RPA bring?
First, RPA reduces personnel costs and human error while increasing efficiency. When there are papers, manual tasks, and complex workflow steps, mistakes are inevitable. RPA applications that handle redundant heavy lifting can free up employees for other tasks that may ultimately prove more interesting and challenging. David Schatsky, managing director of Deloitte LP, pointed to the experience of implementing RPA at a bank that redesigned its claims process by deploying 85 bots to run 13 processes, processing 1.5 million requests per year. The bank has added capacity equivalent to more than 200 full-time employees at about 30% of the cost of recruiting more staff.
Second, robots are often low-cost and easy to implement, requiring no custom software or deep system integration. These characteristics are critical for organizations to pursue growth without adding significant spending or friction between employees, Schatsky said. Companies serve their businesses better by automating low-value tasks.
Third, increase productivity. RPA works faster than humans performing the same tasks, which means faster turnarounds when dealing with customers. It’s also handy when someone higher up the corporate ladder wants to get something done.
It is extremely simple. Businesses don’t need fancy software or deep system integration to make RPA tools work with their existing legacy systems. Businesses can take their RPA even further by adding elements like speech recognition and natural language processing. RPA is an extremely scalable asset that can adapt a robotic workforce to the peaks and valleys of a company’s workflow. Businesses can also enhance their automation efforts by infusing RPA with cognitive technologies such as ML, speech recognition, and natural
So, businesses that introduce RPA are doing so to increase efficiency and speed, cut costs without sacrificing quality, increase productivity, and bring a degree of flexibility and agility. This all sounds great, but are there any downsides to RPA?
What are the pitfalls of RPA?
RPA is not for every business.
The first and probably biggest drawback is that RPA has the potential to eliminate jobs. Granted, the automation brought about by RPA has not led to the mass elimination of jobs as predicted in the dystopian novel. This presents CIOs with the challenge of managing talent, and they need to ensure that this skilled workforce can be transferred to other roles. While businesses adopting RPA are trying to move many workers to new jobs, unfortunately, Forrester Research estimates that RPA software will threaten the livelihoods of 230 million or more knowledge workers, or about 9 percent of the global workforce. According to Gartner, by 2020, automation and artificial intelligence will reduce the need for employees in enterprise shared service centers by 65%.
Another downside is the initial monetary outlay required for implementation. While RPA is designed to save money in the long term, there is no denying that some short-term startup costs must be allocated. Installing thousands of bots took much longer, was more complex and expensive than most organizations would like, and since not every RPA implementation is a success, this is a risk.
Furthermore, the economic outcomes of RPA implementation are far from guaranteed. The platform on which the robot interacts changes frequently, and the necessary flexibility is not always configured into the robot. RPA has some limitations and there is no guarantee that RPA will work or that it will produce the same results for every business.
Therefore, businesses need to avoid the pitfalls of RPA implementation by hiring people skilled in RPA.
RPA Market Overview — Tomorrow’s must-have technology
Despite the drawbacks we talked about above, there is no doubt that RPA is still a must-have technology for Tomorrow. The RPA market remains one of the fastest-growing segments of the enterprise software market. Revenues from the RPA software segment grew 38.9% in 2020, outpacing all other segments and far outpacing the overall enterprise software market’s 8.9% growth.
As of mid-2021, the RPA software market includes more than 60 vendors.
Every year, vendors raise the bar on the growth, relevance, viability, innovation, revenue, and vision of their RPA software products. Gartner makes some strategic planning assumptions below.
By 2023, nearly all major RPA vendors will offer broader process automation and integration platforms that combine screen scraping with APIs.
By 2023, attended forms of RPA will evolve into voice, mobile apps, and/or another user experience-driven automation. The RPA market is growing rapidly as existing vendors compete for positions and grow their products.
By 2024, they expect this market to mature and consolidate. Currently, it is still highly fragmented as vendors in adjacent markets start offering RPA capabilities.
Gartner found that the top 10 RPA vendors account for more than 80% of the market, while the three largest vendors account for 52%.
RPA revolution: Why do businesses need a PRA?
RPA offerings are expanding
RPA is moving beyond coordinated screen scraping techniques. Products are rapidly evolving into larger automation platforms with embedded process discovery, IDP, AI/ML, low-code development, and sophisticated workflow orchestration capabilities.
Many software providers are entering the RPA market with enterprise-grade automation platforms that use RPA as a key function. At the same time, vendors of independent RPA products are expanding the scope of their platforms to offer API integration, low-code development, and complex orchestration.
RPA in the cloud is also gaining momentum by offering composable automation capabilities as packaged business functions, including headless robots, serverless robots, nanorobots, and microrobots.
Organizations move beyond RPA to deliver hyper-automation
A growing number of software engineering leaders are moving beyond tactical automation to deliver greater efficiency, efficacy, and business agility through hyper-automation. Hyperautomation is a discipline that facilitates combining multiple technologies in a coordinated manner to provide end-to-end, intelligent, event-driven automation.
RPA remains critical to achieving efficiency through hyper-automation, especially for business technicians who do not work in IT. Gartner’s 2021 Hyperautomation Survey found that these business technologists use the capabilities of two vendors’ products on average, suggesting that a single tool may not be enough.
The new pricing model lowers entry barriers for SMEs
As more RPA vendors start offering consumption-based pricing, more and more small and medium-sized businesses can afford to adopt RPA. We have seen several SaaS pricing models emerge in the RPA market, including bot utilization per minute and second. Many vendors also offer unlimited bots or free RPA components as starter packs for a fixed price.
The RPA vendor landscape is evolving
Overall, RPA vendors in the Leaders quadrant still spend more than the rest of the market. However, the entry of large vendors with huge spending power is changing the market landscape — vendors such as Microsoft, SAP, IBM, Samsung SDS, NTT, Hyland, ServiceNow, Pegasystems, and Appian. Notable vendors that have yet to enter the RPA market include Google, Amazon, Salesforce, and Oracle.
Because of these new entrants, some vendors in the niche players quadrant have relatively little revenue and limited geographic distribution and may struggle to expand their business. These niche players may also be targeted by acquirer vendors looking to enter the RPA market. Nonetheless, several vendors have emerged in China and APAC that are focusing on comprehensive AI/ML with RPA and low-code development capabilities by driving innovation.
Is RPA right for your business?
Businesses are making dramatic changes to navigate this new normal, creatively finding ways to bridge cash flow in this challenging climate by creating additional revenue streams, requiring employees to move into unfamiliar territory, and cutting expenses. After reading about RPA in the above article, how should you know if RPA is right for your business?
ATech recognizes the following points as the most important factors I consider:
- Speed: Is your business struggling to keep up with demand spikes caused by the current climate?
- Productivity: Can automation increase work output per employee?
- Cost savings: Are your employees spending valuable time and energy on manual tasks?
- Facilitate remote work: Are your employees unable to effectively work from home?
- Accuracy: Does human error slow down the process and reduce quality?
- Ensure business continuity: Is a sick employee potentially putting your other employees at risk?
As the management team looks to diagnose the best way forward, ATech’s professionals can solve all the RPA issues we mentioned above — keeping the company running, fully capable of meeting demand, and increasing profits. Contact us for a professional consultation.
About ATech Communication (HK) Limited
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