What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) - key facts

This post provides a short introduction into RPA and will be the first one in a series, which will also include some tips on how to estimate automation potential in your organization and show some practical examples.

Robotic Process Automation = software that mimics a human in front of a computer

RPA uses graphical interfaces. In contract to other workflow automation approaches, RPA can work with the same graphical interface (windows, mouse, keystrokes) as an employee. This means that no costly integrations are required, existing systems do not have to be modified, and even legacy applications can be automated.

RPA is capable of powerful logic and extensions. It supports complex decision logic (if-this-then-that) and can utilize application programming interfaces (APIs) to various internal and external services to automate even complex and demanding processes.

RPA learns from human actions and new data. It observes how human employees perform processes and records their steps, automatically creating its own robotic code. This can be compared to recording a Macro within MS Excel, but smarter and not confined to any single application. If augmented with machine learning, RPA can also learn from the information and documents it processes and improve its decision-making capabilities.

RPA is trusted by global leaders

Thousands of leading German companies such as Lufthansa Group, Deutsche Telekom, Commerzbank, Henkel, Audi and Schwarz Group, as well as municipal and federal governments, are benefiting from RPA initiatives.

The adoption of RPA has been growing by ~50% yearly for the past decade. Efficiency and compliance benefits offered by RPA have contributed to explosive growth of its adoption. RPA has been among the fastest-growing enterprise software segments.

RPA provides full control and transparency

It features predictable and transparent exception handling. Business exceptions (process situations outside the ordinary) and technical exceptions (application malfunctions) are processed in orderly fashion, notifying superiors and providing information to resolve the case.

Automated processes are fully auditable. Every step of the bot and every result can be documented and saved for audit purposes and compliance reports.

The data is safe. RPA robots can be deployed fully behind the client's firewall - no business data is leaving the client's systems.

RPA + cognitive capabilities = intelligent automation

Optical character recognition. OCR capabilities are included with many RPA solutions, enabling the bots to extract information from scanned documents.

Machine learning and other AI capabilities. The robots do not have to be limited by strict rules. Training on real business data enables them to become progressively more independent and self-sufficient. Further technologies, such as speech recognition and speech generation, can be integrated as required.