What is RPA?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that automates repetitive tasks and rule-based processes using algorithms. Tasks which people once performed manually. Often on a daily or routine basis.
Trend with a promising future
Various research bodies see this technology as something positive. According to Forrester, RPA has already demonstrated its value as a tool to help businesses achieve their goals. Research bureau Gartner estimates that worldwide spending on RPA in 2021 will amount to around US$1.89 billion, i.e. growth of almost 20% relative to 2020. And this growth is expected to continue. Double digit figures are expected over the coming years, with Deloitte predicting that 93% of organisations will be using some form of RPA in 2023.
From manual labour, financial and HR tasks to company-wide applications
Automation began with manual labour and has since been implemented in financial services and HR. Given the many repetitive tasks involved, these areas were ripe for automation. The types of tasks involved could include administrative work, such as processing invoices, entering orders, creating personnel files and compiling financial reports. However, its application will soon spread well beyond these specific functions as RPA starts to permeate almost every area of organisations. And that could well be a blessing for both employers and employees.
The benefits of RPA
As noted, both the employer (business) and the employee (who performs the tasks) can benefit from RPA. Because automating various administrative, financial and IT support activities not only saves time and prevents errors, but also enables employees to focus on other, more enjoyable matters that actively contribute to customer satisfaction. So job satisfaction increases and employees feel more involved, on the one hand, while efficiency and reliability increase, on the other. Greater job satisfaction is all the more important when there is a desire to have an impact and do meaningful, useful and challenging work.
By eliminating repetitive work, such as overtyping data and entering forms, employees often become more focused and engaged. RPA also means that people can focus on the things they are good at and where they can add value. Examples could include personal interaction, activities which require creativity and human insight, as well as strategic tasks. The human brain does not operate at its best when required to carry out trivial or repetitive tasks.
On top of which, continuity is guaranteed because RPA provides round the clock support. This means that standard, repetitive and routine processes will always be carried out.
Another aspect is the cost saving. A study by Gartner showed that the average amount of avoidable reprocessing done in accounting departments can take up to 30% of the total working hours of a full-time employee. For someone working 40 hours a week this amounts to a saving of 25,000 hours a year.
RPA and AI
Alongside the continuing growth of RPA, it will also become increasingly integrated with complementary technologies. One of which is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Even greater efficiency and accuracy can be achieved by adding AI to RPA solutions. But above all, this will make the automation of more complex tasks possible.
What more can we expect?
As the technology continues to grow in scale and scope and is deployed in more areas of business, it will gain access to an increasing number of systems and volume of data. This means that a sound policy on matters such as security and privacy will be needed to prevent incidents such as data leaks. In the coming years RPA as a Service (RPAaaS) will become mainstream and it will be integrated with various other innovations, such as Blockchain and Advanced Data Analytics, thereby further advancing the automation process.
Microsoft Power Automate
As the sector expands, so more and more RPA solutions are becoming available. Forrester has been studying the international RPA market and evaluating the key vendors since 2017. In The Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q1 2021 Microsoft is named as ‘leader’. The technology company from Redmond has doubled its investment in RPA over the past year through the acquisition of Softomotive; the general availability of the Microsoft Power Automate Desktop; and by making the desktop available cost free to Windows 10 users. Using Microsoft Power Automate – cloud-based software which is part of the Microsoft Power Platform – work flows can be created and tasks automated.
Microsoft offers five reasons why customers choose Power Automate:
- They benefit from having a single cloud-based automation platform.
- It is simple to use and easy to get started. The low code RPA means that anyone – regardless of their technical background – can get started on automation.
- Its integration with cloud flows means that customers can make use of the more than 400 built-in connectors that give access to third party services and applications.
- The AI builder enables them to build robust AI solutions.
- Through process mining they can increase their productivity.
How can you get started with RPA?
For companies wanting to automate and introduce RPA it can be difficult to make a decision. The concept implies certain technical requirements, the range of vendors is wide and every business has its own specific goals. During the Macaw RPA in a Day Workshop you will learn all about process automation and the best way to implement it with the help of Microsoft Power Automate.
Our experts would be pleased to help you turn your goals into a practical automation and optimization strategy, and with building a modern RPA solution to save time and money, and retain your in-house talent. Interested? Contact us or register for our RPA in a Day workshop and get acquainted with the technology.