Upcoming automation technologies, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), are expected to have an economic impact of almost $6.7 trillion by 2025. This data does not come as a surprise as the rapid pace at which RPA is growing; it is bound to emerge as one of the leading tech platforms and might also become a benchmark for measuring business performance. RPA is touted to be a game-changing technology by many experts, but there is also a raging debate going on, i.e., whether RPA is a new technology or is merely an extension of some existing technologies
While standard automation has been there for some time but how does RPA compare to them? Are there any similarities between RPA and existing technologies? Which factors have contributed to the rapid growth of RPA platforms? To answer such questions, it is therefore extremely important to analyze the previous technologies that have eventually created the pathway for RPA and what lies ahead for RPA
Evolution of RPA Technology
Like all other technologies, RPA also did not emerge out of the blue. There has been a rapid evolution process that has ultimately taken RPA platforms to their present state. Three of the most important predecessors of RPA include: –
- Screen Scraping: – This technology has been around even before the advent of the internet and acted as a bridge between existing systems and legacy systems that were not compatible. But the inherent limitations of screen scraping, like compatibility issues and difficult HTML code, led to companies asking for more versatile technologies.
- Workflow Automation: – This technology helped businesses in processing orders through certain automated processes related to interacting with customers. This helped eliminate the need for manual data entry and ushered in speed, accuracy, and efficiency in corporate functioning.
- Artificial Intelligence: – This technology is currently one of the most important technologies of present times. AI has been helping with the completion of tasks that were earlier entirely dependent on humans due to their ability to make informed decisions. With better accuracy, AI has been helping in the automation of tedious tasks that required manual intervention earlier.
The latest RPA platforms can refine, combine, and re-purpose several aspects of these technologies. This capability has made RPA platforms some of the most impactful technological platforms of modern times.
Types of RPA
Robotic process automation can be categorized into the following types: –
- Attended automation: – Herein, human intervention is required while performing the automation processes.
- Unattended automation: – Herein, the automation processes do not require any human intervention.
- Hybrid automation: – Herein, the automation tools exhibit combined capabilities of attended and unattended automation tools.
Applications of RPA
The versatility and excellent features of RPA have helped with its applications in multiple domains. Some of the noteworthy applications of RPA are as follows: –
- Banking: – Different entities in the banking sector utilize RPA to enhance work efficiency, data accuracy, and data security. This helps boost trust and reliability in the banking systems.
- Healthcare: – In the healthcare sector, RPA has been helping automate routine tasks like allocating appointments, data entry and updating, billing and payments, and insurance claim processing.
- Insurance: – A large number of insurance companies are using RPA for the management of important work processes, including customer data entry, claim filing, and submission of applications.
- Telecom: – In the telecommunication industry, RPA processes help with essential functions like monitoring the systems, fraud data management, and updating customer data.
- Retail: – In the retail sector, RPA processes help with routine operations like tracking shipments, processing returns, updating orders, and sharing other important details.
Best RPA Platforms
For an RPA platform to perform all the desired functions, it must have certain capabilities like decision-making, programming interface, and communication with other systems. As no programming skills are mandatory for using RPA platforms, organizations of all sizes can use these tools for automating different routine tasks.
Some of the leading RPA platforms presently are: –
- Automation Anywhere: – It is a leading cloud automation platform that delivers automation solutions to multiple industries globally. It has been helping rapid enterprise transformation by automating end-to-end business processes. This platform combines RPA with AI, Machine Learning, and analytics to enhance the organization’s agility and freeing up human resources for other important tasks.
- UiPath Business Automation Platform: – It is a platform that enables robots to acquire the latest skills through Machine Learning and AI. The hyper-automation platform being offered by the organization combines RPA with several interesting capabilities that help companies scale their digital operations at a rapid pace.
- IBM Robotic Process Automation: – This platform helps businesses with the automation of different administrative and IT operations at scale. Bots powered through RPA are able to complete tasks quickly based on useful AI insights and help with the digital transformation of the enterprise.
The development of RPA technologies has already come a long way since the times of screen scraping. Experts suggest that RPA solutions will continue to combine with the latest technologies to accelerate adoption across multiple industries.