Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can benefit organizations by automating repetitive, tedious tasks, enabling employees to accomplish more critical goals. However, some enterprises believe that RPA will automate extremely complicated Business Process Management (BPM) activities, which is an unrealistic expectation. To that point, we’ve put together a list of the most common robotic process automation myths to give you a better idea of what problems RPA can really solve.
RPA Will Replace Human Employees
Some employees fear that they will be replaced by an automation tool like RPA, especially as intelligent automation platforms become more popular, but this is an example of one of many robotic process automation myths. Intelligent automation combines RPA and artificial intelligence capabilities, giving it the ability to recognize the differences between documents without consulting a human. But RPA alone cannot process unstructured data because it does not have the required intelligence. Though the software is gaining intelligence, it doesn’t mean it will replace employees. In fact, intelligent automation allows employees to spend time on more complex activities after being relieved of more tedious tasks.
RPA Replaces Other Solutions
Theoretically, RPA can be utilized in almost all processes. However, Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software can sometimes be the better choice, and replacing those tools isn’t practical. It would be incredibly time-consuming to map all existing functions with RPA, and on top of that, it wouldn’t help enterprises reach their end-to-end automation goal. Many organizations still need to connect RPA to their legacy solutions so that software robots can fill the system with the data they need or match it with other applications when required. But this only works if businesses choose an RPA tool that provides the right Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), so they can connect systems easily.
RPA Completely Automates Processes from Beginning to End
RPA is the best tool for automating repetitive, structured tasks; especially if those tasks are shorter and only take a few minutes. An example of such a process would be retrieving data from one system and storing it in another. RPA is best for processes that need multiple repetitions of the same sequence and could be executed in parallel for increased efficiency. Ideally, the software robots would work in tandem with the human employees, regularly informing them of changes and retrieving figures from all portals simultaneously.
As opposed to BPM solutions, RPA is incapable of managing processes end-to-end over an extended period of time. Though a software root can support a human employee by retrieving data about a customer, choices are still made by the individual. This is why a BPM platform is usually the better overall option because the solution can integrate employees into the process. A combined RPA and BPM solution is often even more efficient, as the BPM system would take over the administration and manage employees and software robots as necessary.
RPA Works Best through User Interfaces
Though in many cases it makes sense to use existing tools in favor of replacing them with RPA, RPA is very useful when integrating different systems with each other. This can be a big challenge for many businesses as integration is costly and time-consuming. RPA can simplify this process and set up an integration between systems quickly via user interfaces.
Direct interfaces like APIs or web services are usually preferred because they are usually faster and don’t change as often as user interfaces. If the user interface gets updated, sometimes the RPA tool can no longer do its job and an adjustment is needed. A good RPA tool will work in both directions, meaning that it will allow the simple integration of direct interfaces and the utilization of user interfaces without needing to write any code.
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