Robotic Process Automation explained | Robotics
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a type of business process automation related to the next level of artificial intelligence (AI). It can increase the efficiency of an organization by eliminating manual repetitive tasks, among other benefits.
Furthermore, Global consulting firm McKinsey & Company reported on the subject: “There are benefits for employees, too. In every case we looked at, people welcomed the technology because they hated the tasks that the machines now do, and it relieved them of the rising pressure of work. Every organization we have studied reports that it is dealing with bigger workloads. I think there will be an exponential amount of work to match the exponential increase in data—50% more each year. There is also a massive increase in audit regulation and bureaucracy. We need automation just to relieve the stress that creates in organizations. One online retailer measures the success of RPA in terms of the number of hours given back to the business. So it’s not just the shareholders, the senior managers, and the customers who benefit, but also employees.”RPA doesn’t necessarily mean job cuts or extinct careers. In fact, Enterprise RPA company UIPath described working with an organization, which utilized RPA and “freed up its employees to now focus on more customer-centric activities.”
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The complexities behind RPA can be daunting. To find out more, I spoke with Stan Leong, Engineering Leader of BPS Emerging Technologies at DXC Technology.
Scott Matteson: Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, and Robotic Process Automation as a Service (RPAaS) are recent buzzwords in the industry. Can you explain what they all mean?
Stan Leong: AI has become an umbrella term for technology that helps software think and act like humans, encompassing everything from cognitive computing and optical character recognition to natural language processing.
RPA is the application of technology that enables a human to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, leveraging data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.
RPAaS is a unique digital service offering a set of flexible solutions to improve the efficiency of a client’s finance, administrative, human resources (HR), procurement, and back-office processes, delivered through a consumption-based model.
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Scott Matteson: So, what are the differences between traditional IT automation and RPA?
Stan Leong: Traditional IT automation relies on and leverages only programmatic interfaces, such as APIs. RPA leverages user interfaces, as well as APIs, to automate a business process from end-to-end. RPA can combine the abilities of a human user with the abilities of the software (robots) to provide a greater range of service capabilities.
Scott Matteson: I’m told DXC now provides a platform to enable a new hybrid (human + digital) workforce called Automated Process Automation (APA). Can you tell me more about this?
Stan Leong: DXC’s robotic process automation integrates individual robots, self-service apps, tools and enterprise systems to create scalability, resilience, flexibility, and efficiency. The DXC APA platform consists of a unique cloud-based RPA as a service (RPAaS), with a set of digital capabilities, powered by artificial intelligence to rapidly build out automation in a consumption-based model to drive digitization of business processes.
APA effectively manages the dynamic infrastructure used by industry-leading companies across an architecture designed to run across multiple cloud vendors. DXC’s APA solution unlocks access to virtually unlimited robot capacity, which can be used to address seasonal or unpredictable transaction peaks.
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Scott Matteson: Can you provide me with an example of RPA in use?
Stan Leong: “APA Powered by DXC Bionix” entails a digital generation services delivery model providing a comprehensive approach to intelligent automation at scale for the world’s top companies. This enables enterprises to leverage cloud-based RPA as a service and put AI and self-learning robots to work whenever and wherever they are needed.
It resulted in greater performance, fewer business disruptions, reduced human error and operational risks, and lower costs. Some company performance results included: Up to 71% of incidents auto-resolved or auto-diagnosed without human intervention; up to 25% reduction in testing costs; and up to 65% reduction in business process transaction time with assisted robotic process automation (RPA).