Introduced in the early 2000’s, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software designed to enable business process automation (BPA), an approach to streamlining business processes for maximum efficiency. Often called a software ‘bot’, RPA allows you to create scripts to automate tasks and processes such as form filling, sending messages, or extracting data from one program or file to another, for example, to create weekly reports.
RPA follows a strict script so that if ‘X’ occurs, then ‘Y’ happens. For example, if a company needed to create weekly reports based on new customers in the system, data could be extracted from places within a customer-completed form and added to another document or spreadsheet. By the end of the week, the report will be populated with information about every new customer. Another example is the use of customer service chatbots that answer customer queries by reacting to the terms or phrases used by the customer and returning answers based on those phrases.
The increased accuracy enabled by RPA has meant that many industries, particularly paper-heavy and highly regulated companies such as financial, insurance, and healthcare, have relied on it to speed up the execution of services, while ensuring compliance. Retail, banking, and other companies have deployed ‘chatbots’ to answer simple customer queries over apps and web sites, relying on these ever more heavily in 2020 when call centers were forced to cut capacity because of social distancing in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
In fact, a recent report cited the COVID pandemic as one of the reasons that demand was growing for RPA as businesses look for new ways to increase efficiencies. The report released in June 2020 by P&S Intelligence predicted that the global RPA market size is set to increase from $1.6 billion in 2019 to $46 billion in 2030. It’s not just the need to improve processes that is driving this growth, but the addition of new technology advances that are ‘supercharging’ RPA to enable even greater benefits.
Benefits of RPA include:
While RPA allows you to automate specific tasks and processes, it will only complete the tasks it’s programmed to do. That’s great for individual task accuracy and reduction in errors, but companies should incorporate RPA integrated within business process automation (BPA) to understand which workflows can and should be automated to enhance efficiency and achieve business goals.
Moving beyond just following a script, companies today want to unlock the value of the huge amounts of data created within their organizations to make it work for them. And that’s where artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities such as machine learning, come in – simulating human intelligence to learn patterns within the data and apply logic based on past events or templates to make informed decisions.
The use of artificial intelligence extends RPA and BPA to enable intelligent automation (IA). This allows you not just to use bots to complete simple individual tasks, but to automate complex tasks, processes, and workflows – the ones you’re already well versed in – such as spinning up a server in the cloud or automating password resets.
To automate known process and workflows, companies should integrate intelligent automation and RPA. But what about the unknown? You need to find a way to automate workflows that implement changes within your enterprise IT environment. For that, you should turn to a digital platform conductor.
The rise of the Digital Platform Conductor
Gartner describes a Digital Platform Conductor tool as enabling I&O leaders to strategically manage across their infrastructure, regardless of environment or location.
A DPC sits above your tools and systems to cut through the growing complexity of your IT landscape. It does this by connecting to and orchestrating those tools to analyze your entire IT environment and provide you with an accurate, real-time view. It then uses that data to make intelligent decisions about how to automate your workflows and processes to help you achieve your goals.
For example, at the data gathering stage of any IT program, you need to organize and analyze data from multiple tools, databases and systems. A DPC tool will orchestrate and conduct all those tools to deliver that information, while leveraging intelligent automation, AI and machine learning to apply logic and structure that data, or to decide, for example, how to close gaps by looking to other sources. With a full view across all program dependencies, a DPC tool will make intelligent decisions enabling you to automate project wave planning, and dictate and automate workflows to reduce the risk, time, and effort of any IT transformation program.
Learn how you can leverage a DPC tool to move beyond process automation and accelerate your enterprise IT transformation. Schedule a demo today.