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What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and where is it already used

20 November 2021, Saturday By M. Konwar
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Let's talk about Robotic Process Automation (RPA), but not about the one in which humanity will flee to flee from mechanical dogs with machine guns on their backs, but about robotization in the business environment, which is actively used in various fields of activity today. 

What is RPA

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation, which can be translated into one simple term - robotization. But in this abbreviation, each word has its own role:

  • Robotic - means a software robot that can take over the solution of certain tasks.
  • Process is directly work that can be transferred to robots.
  • Automation is the process of automating the described processes. That is, creating an environment for transferring tasks to robots so that they can perform them automatically. 

Using RPA technologies, users can create special automated bots that can take over the lion's share of routine business processes. Moreover, they are configured by a person and can follow clearly specified algorithms. Roughly speaking, this is a set of functions that are tightly implemented into the business environment and are automatically launched when necessary to process some data (analyze, transform, etc.). 

robotization

RPA bots work seven days a week, are always punctual and strictly follow algorithms without making mistakes. This excludes the human factor, which can be critical for many areas of business. 

In what areas is RPA applied?

The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) of technical processes is involved in many areas where you can entrust the processing of data to a machine. 

  1. Insurance. Insurance companies send customers' claims for processing using artificial intelligence. He uses a simple machine learning model and immediately identifies potential cases of attempts to deceive the insurance company.
  2. Banking. Banks use software robots for both paperwork and maintenance.
  3. Healthcare. Clinics around the world automate routine paperwork tasks. It uses machine learning models to do paperwork so that healthcare professionals can focus more on patient interactions.
  4. Construction companies and other businesses. Corporations increasingly trust software robots to verify checks, analyze the contents of warehouses and stores. Sometimes even the first HR specialist for potential employees is a bot.
  5. The science. Robotization helps scientific institutes to shift "paperwork" to neural networks and devote more time to research.

What tasks does RPA solve?

The tasks solved with RPA differ from business to business. In the world, this technology is used by industrial organizations. Moreover, their goal is not just to use software robots in their work, but to achieve specific profits, reduce costs or increase the number of suppliers. 

RPA

When you can dump the routine onto a robot, there is a lot of room for hiring more qualified people and access to new resources that can be invested in expanding the business. There are many ideas. 

Around the world, corporations are actively introducing robotization in order to reduce the workload on their employees and give them more time to solve less routine tasks. 

So RPA has a positive effect on both the work environment in companies and the overall health of the business, allowing you to focus on more creative tasks.

It turns out something in the spirit of the utopian scenarios of the last century, when people wanted to adopt robots so that they plow, and mankind was calmly engaged in creativity. Now they don't really dream about this, but the idea has come true in some form. 

What are the benefits of RPA?

Globally, RPA helps businesses become more efficient. Software robots can be thought of as a digital workforce. They are a replacement for people who previously performed some kind of routine work at the computer. But robotization makes these processes more efficient. 

RPA speeds up work because the bot always performs the same algorithm, regardless of external factors. And he does not make mistakes, since he is not distracted and does not get tired. RPA frees incumbents from having to do things that a machine can do. There is still time for those tasks where a person is required to solve. 

You don't have to hire additional employees or spend money on training people. Having the same team, you can significantly increase the overall productivity of the company, because software robots will take on an impressive set of tasks. In addition, the staff of bots can be expanded at any time, easily adapting to a rapidly growing business.

Performing the functions of technical support or basic workflow, neural networks form a more positive user experience. People get the information they need faster and are less likely to encounter errors in the work of business and various departments. 

What can robots do?

We have already discussed the areas of activity of RPA and realized that the technology covers a very impressive range of tasks. But this is just the beginning. Software robots are increasingly replacing humans when it comes to communicating with customers. Making an appointment for a consultation at a bank, contacting technical support, analyzing documents at an insurance company, etc. All these tasks are successfully performed by robots. And often much faster than living people. 

technology

For example, artificial intelligence can itself analyze the data of a potential borrower and decide whether he can approve a loan. 

In industry, bots have taken full control of warehouses. They know how much goods are left, where they are, etc. This allows large suppliers to avoid mistakes and additional human error costs. 

With the advent of new technologies, robotization is gradually spreading, taking new positions and performing more and more tasks that previously required human intervention.

Can RPA completely replace human labor?

Unlikely. The widespread adoption of robotization is hindered by a number of factors:

  1. The robot cannot process those types of data that are not prepared in a "special way". Roughly speaking, if a person writes an application in a free form, and does not issue it according to strictly defined criteria, then the bot will no longer cope. You will need advanced neural networks, but they are not a fact that they will be able to process data. We'll have to attract again. As in self-checkout counters.
  2. Technical support almost always has an impressive list of customers who are unable to present the problem by following a clear algorithm.
  3. The content is still not all digital. People can send paper letters or make phone calls. This is even more difficult for the robot. 

robot

In addition, the field of robotization is experiencing a serious shortage of personnel, and this also has a detrimental effect on its growth and widespread use. There are not so many specialists in this area so far to talk about a more or less serious expansion into the human labor market. So we are still far from a utopia in the spirit of Wall-e, and there is no need to worry about the robot taking your place in the office. But it would be nice to think about training for the specialty of a developer who creates RPA systems and software robots.

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