What is RPA?
RPA (Robotics Process Automation) which allows organizations to automate task just like a human being was doing them across application and systems. The purpose of RPA is to transfer the process execution from humans to bots. Robotic process automation interacts with the existing IT architecture with no complex system integration required.
RPA automation can automate workflow, infrastructure, back-office processes, which are labor-intensive. These software bots can interact with an in-house application, website, user portal, etc. RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. The Robotic Process Automation is a software program that runs on an end user’s pc, laptop, or mobile device. It is a sequence of commands which are executed by Bots under some defined set of business rules.
The main goal of the Robotics process automation process is to replace repetitive and boring clerical tasks performed by humans with a virtual workforce. RPA automation does not require the development of code, nor does it require direct access to the code or database of the applications.
In this RPA tutorial for beginners, we will cover various topics about RPA Technology.
- Why Robotic Process Automation?
- Example of RPA
- Differences between Test Automation and RPA
- RPA Implementation Methodology
- Best Practices of RPA Implementation
- General Use of RPA
- Application of RPA
- Robotic Process Automation tools
- Benefits of RPA
- Myths of RPA
Consider the following scenario in a typical enterprise
- The business climate is ever-changing. An enterprise needs to continuously evolve its product, sales, marketing, etc. process to grow and stay relevant.
- A typical enterprise uses multiple and disconnected IT systems to run its operations. With the business process change, these IT systems are not changed frequently due to budget, timing, and implementation complexity issues. Hence, the business process does not map the technical process mapped in the IT system.
- To overcome this technical and organizational debt, a human workforce is hired to fill the gap between systems and processes. Example: A company made changes in the Sales process such that a mandatory 50% advance is required to confirm the booking of its product. But this is not coded in the IT system yet. A human worker will have to manually check the Invoice and payment details and process the sales order only if a 50% advance is made.
The problem? — Humans
With any change in the business process, a company would need to hire new employees or train existing employees to map the IT system and business process. Both solutions are time and money-consuming. Also, any succeeding business process change will need hiring or retraining.
With Robotic Automation, the company can deploy virtual workers who mimic human workers. In case of a change in process, a change in a few lines of software code is always faster and cheaper than retraining hundreds of employees.
Here are some reasons why Robotics Process Automation is advantageous
- A human can work average of 8 hours a day, whereas robots can work 24hours without any tiredness.
- The average productivity of humans is 60%, with few errors compared to Robot’s productivity which is 100% without any errors.
- Robots handle multiple tasks very well compared to a human being.
Consider the following example in this RPA tutorial about the Invoice Processing Business process
|Description||Can be Automated via RPA?|
|Open invoice email from the supplier and print it for records||Yes|
|Create work item in a legacy software system||Yes|
|Enter PO to retrieve Invoices||Yes|
|Check supplier name is correct or not?||Yes|
|Key Invoice, Data and Amount||Yes|
|Match PO and Invoice||Yes|
|Check if Amount is matches or not?||Yes|
|If amount match Matches Invoice, Calculate Tax||Yes|
|Complete Invoice Processing||Yes|
|Work Item Closed||Yes|
|If Amount does not match Hold, follow with vendor||Yes|
|Supplier accepts or resends Invoice||Yes|
|If Supplier name is incorrect to hold a pass to exception team||Yes|
|Flag for exception handling||Yes|
There are multiple overlaps between a Test Automation Tool and RPA tool. For instance, they both drive screens, keyboard, mouse, etc., and have similar tech architecture. But following are the key differences between the two
|Goal||Reduce Test execution time through automation||Reduce headcount through automation|
|Task||Automate repetitive Test Cases||Automate repetitive Business processes|
|Coding||Coding knowledge required to create Test Scripts||Wizard-driven, and coding knowledge not required|
|Tech Approach||Supports limited software environment. Example: Selenium can support only web applications.||Supports a wide array of software environments|
|Example||Test cases are automated||Data entry, forms, loan processing, is automated|
|Application||Test Automation can be run on QA, Production, Performance, UAT environments.||RPA is usually run only on production environments|
|Implementation||It can automate a product.||It can automate a product as well as a service.|
|Users||Limited to technical users.||Can be used across the board by all stakeholders.|
|Role||Acts as a virtual assistant.||Acts as a virtual workforce.|
|AI||Can execute only what is coded.||Many RPA tools come with an AI engine can process information like a human|
Again, RPA tools like UIPath, Blueprism can be used for test automation. Vice versa, advanced automation tools like UFT can be used for Robotic Process Automation if you have good coding skills. But RPA tools for more fit for purpose.
In this Robotic Process Automation tutorial, we will learn the RPA implementation methodology.
In this phase, you need to Identify processes that you want to automate. The following checklist will help you identify the correct process.
- Is the process manual & repetitive?
- Is the process Rule-based?
- Is the input data is in electronic format and is readable?
- Can existing System be used as it is with no change?
Next, steps in planning phase are
- The setup project team finalizes implementation timelines and approach.
- Agree on solution design for performing Robotic Process Automation processes.
- Identify a logging mechanism that should be implemented to find issues with running bots.
- The clear roadmap should be defined to scale up RPA implementation.
In this phase, you develop the automation workflows as per the agreed plan. Being wizard-driven, the implementation is quick.
In this phase, you run RPA Testing cycles for in-scope Automation to identify and correct defects.
Support & Maintenance
Provide continuous support after going live and helps in immediate defect resolution. Follow general maintenance guidelines with roles and responsibilities with business and IT support teams.
This RPA tutorial will teach about best practices to implement RPA automation.
- One should consider business impact before opting for RPA process.
- Define and focus on the desired ROI.
- Focus on targeting larger groups and automating large, impactful processes.
- Combine attended and unattended RPA.
- Poor design, change management can wreak havoc.
- Don’t forget the impact on people.
- Governance of the project is foremost thing in RPA process. Policy, Corporate, Government compliance should be ensured.
Here are some general use of Robotic Process Automation:
1. Emulates Human Action:
Emulates human execution of the repetitive process using various application and systems.
2. Conduct high-volume repeated tasks:
Robotics process automation can easily simulate rekeying data from one system to another. It performs tasks like data entry, copying, and pasting.
3. Perform Multiple Tasks:
Operates multiple and complex tasks across multiple systems. This helps to process transactions, manipulate data and send reports.
4. ‘Virtual’ system integration:
Instead of developing a new data infrastructure, this automation system can transfer data between disparate and legacy systems by connecting them at the user interface level.
5. Automated report generation:
Automates data extraction to develop accurate, effective, and timely reports.
6. Information validation and auditing:
Resolves and cross-verify data between different systems to validate and check information to provide compliance and auditing outputs.
7. Technical debt management:
It helps to reduce technical debt by reducing the gap between systems, preventing the introduction of custom implementations.
8. Product management:
It helps to bridge the gap between IT systems and related product management platforms by updating both systems.
9. Quality Assurance:
It can be beneficial to QA processes which cover regression testing and automating customer use case scenarios.
10. Data migration:
Allows automated data migration through systems which is not possible using traditional mediums, like documents, spreadsheets, or other source data files.
11. Gap solutions:
Robotic automatic fills the gaps with process deficiencies. It includes many simple tasks such as password resets; System resets, etc.
12. Revenue forecasting:
Automatically updating financial statements to predict revenue forecasting.
Here are important applications of robotic process automation.
|Manufacturing & Retail||
|Travel & Logistic||
|Banking and Financial Services||
Selection of RPA Tool should be based on following 4 parameters:
- Data: Easy of reading and writing business data into multiple systems
- Type of Tasks mainly performed: Ease of configuring rules-based or knowledge-based processes.
- Interoperability: Tools should work across multiple applications
- AI: Built-in AI support to mimic human users
Popular Robotic Automation Tools:
1) Blue prism
Blue Prism is a Robotic Process Automation software. It provides businesses and organizations with an agile digital workforce.
Download link: https://www.blueprism.com/
2) Automation AnyWhere
Automation Anywhere is a developer of robotic process automation (RPA) software.
Download link: https://www.automationanywhere.com/
Learn more about Automation Anywhere.
UiPath is Robotic Process Automation software. It helps organizations efficiently automate business processes.
Download link: https://www.uipath.com/
Learn more about UiPath.
Some benefits that RPA can provide to your organization:
- Large numbers of the process can easily have automated.
- Costs are reduced significantly as the RPA takes care of the repetitive task and saves precious time and resources.
- Programming skills are not needed to configure a software robot. Thus, any non-technical staff can set up a bot or even record their steps to automate the process.
- Robotic process automation support and allow all regular compliance processes with error-free auditing.
- The robotic software can rapidly model and deploy the automation process.
- The defects are tracked for each test case story and the sprint.
- Effective, seamless Build & Release Management
- Real time visibility into bug/defect discovery
- There is no human business which means there is no need for time for the requirement of training.
- Software robots do not get tired, and it increases, which helps to increase the scalability.
Disadvantages of RPA:
Let’s not forget some cons of the RPA process:
- The bot is limited to the speed of the application
- Even small changes made in the automation application will need the robots to be reconfigured.
- Coding is required to use RPA softwareThat’s not true. To use Robotics Process Automation tools, one needs to understand how the software works on the front-end and how they can use it for Automation.
- RPA software does not require human supervision, and this is an illusion because humans are needed to program the RPA bot, feed them tasks for Automation and manage them.
- Only large big companies can afford to deploy RPA Small to medium-sized organizations can deploy RPA to automate their business. However, the initial cost will be high but recovered in 4-5 years.
- RPA is useful only in industries that rely heavily on software
RPA can generate automated bills, Invoices, telephone services, etc., which are used across industries irrespective of their software exposure.
Most frequently asked RPA Interview Questions and Answers to help you prepare for your RPA job interview. –Click Here
How do design tools build robots for robotic process automation (RPA) applications?
There are a few ways that design tools can build robots for an RPA application.
- One way is by using a programming language to create the robots. This approach is used when the design tool has access to a preexisting robotic system or when the programmer is familiar with the robotics codebase.
- Another method is by using an off-the-shelf robot builder. These tools allow designers to drag and drop objects onto a screen, and the robot will automatically create the corresponding code for you. This approach is useful when there is no preexisting robotic system or when the programmer does not access robotics code.
- Finally, some design tools include built-in robots that allow users to prototype and test their designs with robots quickly. This approach is useful when there is already a robotic system available.
- RPA meaning or RPA full form is Robotic Process Automation
- Robotics Process Automation allows organizations to automate task just like a human being was doing them across application and systems.
- The main goal of Robotics process automation process to replace repetitive and boring clerical task performed by humans, with a virtual workforce.
- The average productivity of human is 60% with few errors as compared to Robot’s productivity which is 100% without any errors.
- One should consider business impact before opting for RPA process
- There is multiple overlaps between a Test Automation Tool and RPA tool. Though they are still different
- RPA implementation has 4 phases 1) Planning 2) Development 3) Testing 4) Support & Maintenance
- RPA is used in wide range of industries like Healthcare, Insurance, Banking, IT etc