Robotic Process Automation (RPA): What It Is, How It Works, and Where It Can Be Used
Updated: Nov 17
The robotic process automation (RPA) market was evaluated to be worth $ 2.65 billion in 2021, due to the Statista company report. The forecast shows market growth with a CAGR of 27.7% from 2021 to 2030. The RPA market size is predicted to be valued at $ 23.9 billion by 2030.
The RPA technology is popular in the banking, accounting, healthcare, telecom, retail, and IT sectors. Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, AT&T, and Walgreens are large enterprises making investments in RPA to drive efficiencies in their business processes.
This publication answers the main questions about robotic process automation: its meaning, business benefits, how it works, use cases, features, and comparison with AI.
What is RPA?
Robotic process automation (RPA) represents a software technology helping to build, deploy, and manage software robots. They perform human actions by working with digital systems and software to complete repetitive tasks for enterprises. Software robots can understand what is on a device screen, do the correct keystrokes, guide systems, recognize and extract data, and perform many other defined actions. RPA automation helps businesses with transaction procedures, response initiation, data manipulations, and interactions with other digital systems and software. With the help of RPA, you can easily optimise document and invoice processing and reduce document recognition time.
RPA business benefits
The implementation of robotic process automation brings valuable benefits to enterprises. It optimises workflows which makes businesses more profitable, flexible, and responsive. Automation with robots affects employees. It increases satisfaction, involvement, and productivity by reducing repetitive tasks from their work. RPA software is not invasive. You can easily implement it to speed up digital transformation.
Simplicity in usage
The main advantage of the robotic automation process is simplicity. Every user can train and deploy an RPA software robot without development knowledge or skills. Then the robot can perform productive work 24 hours a day. Process automation robotics integrates into enterprises with low risk and forecasted high return on investment (ROI).
Robot automatization leads to the improvement of business metrics and noticeable cost savings. Organisations adopt RPA by automating many processes through this technology. As the Deloitte company says, RPA software continues to exceed predictions: 59% of responders confirm cost reduction.
Speed and accuracy
Performance of repetitive tasks is not the core function of the human brain. Such work can lead to errors and reduce the engagement and initiative of employees. Due to the Deloitte report, robotic automation continues to show significant results: 90% of responders say about improved quality and accuracy.
Scalability and flexibility
Robotics for automation can ramp up fastly to match workflow spikes and respond to high-demand strikes. In the Pegassystems survey, 30% of respondents mention that the ability to fix poor processes is one of the main benefits of RPA.
RPA helps organisations to complete more tasks with the same amount of staff. The Deloitte report says that the payback of RPA was noticed at less than 12 months. Robots provided an average 20% of full-time equivalent (FTE) business capacity. In addition, 86% of responders agree with improved productivity. Enterprises believe that the robot automation process will make them more effective.
RPA technology provides full auditing capabilities for enterprises. In the Deloitte survey, you can see that 92% agree with improved compliance at their organisations.
How does RPA technology work?
RPA robots have the same digital abilities as people. They can interact with any system or application. For example, robots can copy and paste, gather web data, make calculations, move files, read emails, connect to APIs, and extract data. RPA technology adapts to any workflow or device interface. That is why there is no need to change organisation structure, applications, and systems to automate. The robotic automation process is easy to implement. If you have practice in digital device usage, you can quite easily set up, configure, and manage RPA robots. Also, it is possible to schedule, clone, customise, and share them to perform business processes across the company.
The RPA technology completes repetitive tasks by performing the transaction steps usually done by people. This work realises through orchestrated UI interactions. It maps a human process or task in RPA software language, for a software script to follow, with runtime allocated. The goal is to execute the script by a control dashboard or orchestrator. The script is usually called a “robot.” It is possible to develop robots by programming or by applying intuitive low-code or no-code GUIs native to the RPA platform.
RPA use cases
Process automation robotics brings new perspectives and efficiencies to people. RPA software frees them from repetitive and exhausting workflows across different industries and departments. Enterprises in sectors like financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, have already integrated RPA. This technology has become useful for finance, legal, sales, compliance, operations, and customer service departments.
RPA is perfect for automating tasks that involve legacy systems that do not have APIs, virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs), or access to databases.
Automation RPA became widely distributed because of its easy implementation. This software can automate almost every high-volume and repeatable process. Some organisations even apply RPA in cognitive processes that need higher-level AI skills.
Features and capabilities of RPA
To realise the transformative RPA program, enterprises need a software solution that provides automation of not only a single process. Businesses require a proficient RPA platform that helps to create and orchestrate new digital possibilities. It leads organisations to a fully automated enterprise level. Multifunctional RPA software must support business end-to-end. It starts from a search for automation opportunities and ends with the fast construction of high-performing robots and the management of many automated work processes.
You can divide robotic automation into two groups: attended and unattended. Attended RPA robots work locally on workstations and perform front-office tasks. They work alongside people but can still be triggered by system events. Speaking about unattended robots, they can manage enterprise data on backend servers. These robots can do their work without human involvement. Unattended RPA can be triggered by events or programmed to work on a schedule.
RPA and artificial intelligence (AI)
Important to mention that RPA and AI are two different technologies. They can be combined and provide strong possibilities to enterprises. Robotics automation allows the insertion of modern AI functions in the form of machine learning models, character and image recognition, natural language processing (NLP), and others in RPA robots. AI skills help robots to perform cognitive processes for the following tasks:
Invoice and receipt recognition (different languages and types, even in bad quality)
Passports and personal IDs recognition
Document recognition (to create a quote or sales order)
Visualising screens (even virtual desktops)
Understanding and participation in conversations
Artificial intelligence helps discover a wide range of robotic automation opportunities and construct an effective automation pipeline with RPA software.
Forcing an integration process of AI into a business workflow, many organisations recognise that RPA can work as a delivery system for AI technology. Companies can configure robots to apply machine learning models to automated decision-making processes and analyses. It adds machine intelligence to daily operations.
Summarising this publication, robotic in process automation makes business processes clear for management, effective in revenue volume, and satisfying for employees. RPA brings significant benefits to a day-to-day work routine. Organisations can apply it to more advanced technologies for great results. Though the initial cost of robotic process automation is high, it helps companies efficiently manage their processes, reducing expenses in the end.
The Graip.ai platform is an AI assistant that combines the power of rules-based robotic process automation and self-learning artificial intelligence. Our clients can implement in their business processes the following solutions: Sales Request Automation for sales tasks and Invoice Automation for accounting. The first solution reduces document processing time by 85%. It allows your sales team more abilities for customer-related activities instead of manually entering data from incoming documents. At the same time, the Invoice Automation solution provides 99% accurate invoice processing with document recognition and speeds up the work with vendor invoices.