RPA is a software robot or application/tool that can be configured to perform tasks normally performed by a human, using rule-based processes.
[EXTRACT] The “tool” can be configured to capture and interpret actions of existing applications used in various business processes, just as a human operator would do. These tools can mimic human actions without associated errors. The most important attribute of these tools is audit and logging. Any action or step taken by them can be logged and audited. Human resource can watch and perform a surveillance of each steps and actions of these tools. This feature also differentiates RPA from Straight Through Processing (STP) tools where there is no visibility to human eyes of the steps/action taken by a automated process.
Currently, human actions and steps are monitored by automated surveillance mechanisms. Converse will happen in a RPA process.
At its highest and simplest level, RPA software essentially comprises a range of tools used to interface with existing applications at the presentation layer. These are then combined with a rules engine which is customised to the respective process being automated.
Once the RPA tool has been trained or configured with well-defined business rules, it can then perform the functions being automated exactly as a human operator would. These may include processing bulk transactions, manipulating data, triggering real-time alerts or responses and creating audit trails, as well as communicating seamlessly with other enterprise systems.
RPA systems are non-intrusive applications which do not require technical integration with other systems. They work at the graphical user interface level and do not need much, if any, IT support. And by replacing significant human error, they deliver substantially enhanced productivity.
RPA technology is best suited for highly repetitive, rule-based activities and processes which are typically associated with high volume, transaction oriented back office processes. RPA platforms have the capability to automate a broad range of processes in key functions including finance and accounting processes, HR, procurement, logistics, customer experience management and supply chain.
RPA platforms can be categorised into four phases or “waves”.