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What is RPA or Robotic Process Automation?

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Every day we have to perform repetitive tasks, whether it is data management, file monitoring, or information verification. This repetitive and regular work is in many cases particularly time-consuming, uninteresting, and above all with very low added value.

Many software solutions, particularly in SAS, simplify the management of these tasks by creating more complex views from the aggregation of data, and their data visualization. However, many treatments do not or cannot be modeled simply because they require the reconciliation of information which is managed by different software.

How to solve this problem is the whole purpose of RPA (Robotic Automation Process) whereby you can take these repetitive tasks out of your team’s workload by automating them using solutions such as UIPath, Automation Anywhere or more simply Zapier.

So under the acronym of RPA or Robotic Process Automation, there are many software solutions that perform these different tasks at the frequency you want. If the adoption of RPA solutions is now common in large companies, more and more SMEs and VSEs are resorting to them in order to relieve their employees of these repetitive tasks with low added value.

In this article we will cover the following points specific to RPA:

What is robotic process automation?

Although its name evokes the robotic era, RPA is anything but that. Historically, RPA is a “robot” software that imitates these actions by means of a computer processing, script, “mill”. Many developers carried out for their companies these macros in order to systematize the processing in series, often at night because requiring d ‘significant server resources, which could hamper the use of internal tools. So many constraints now lifted by software using dedicated system resources according to processing needs.

In addition to allocating human resources to tasks with higher added value, these robots eliminate the risk of processing errors, reduce processing times, and guarantee deadlines.

These new solutions have met with great success with companies, and many software publishers have specialized in this field, each with their own specificities, both in the type of data managed and in the sectors of activity.

According to Forrester, the RPA software market is expected to be worth $ 7.7 billion in 2020, before reaching $ 12 billion by 2023. Based on artificial intelligence, RPA tools are designed to be equipped with ” a quasi-human capacity for perception, learning, and assistance of employees, so as to support them in their decision-making. By 2030, Gartner expects 80% of project management tasks to be eliminated.

The main publishers of RPA solutions, like UIpath or Automation Anywhere, are today very well-financed by investment funds, in order to accelerate their growth. They have raised funds of several hundred million euros to reach one billion, like UIPath which has raised more than 1.2 billion dollars in just 5 years of existence, from prestigious investors such as Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, and Tencent, reaching valuations of over $ 10 billion.

How does RPA software work?

Most RPA solutions require a certain number of human interactions to function, even if some integrate machine learning building blocks in order to improve process management. Their implementation implies a configuration that can be very simple to generate the expected automation but also more complex projects, in particular, to guarantee the conformity of their executions.

To make an RPA solution work, a person must first teach it the actions that will be automated on the virtual machine or directly on their computer. Whenever an application is opened, a mouse click is performed, a new task is started, or some other action is taken in a home application or software, an RPA can learn to perform these same actions by following a set of rules. and programmable instructions. After each step is mapped, the program can perform these manual tasks, repeating each action with systematic speed and precision.

Using machine learning solutions, RPA software can actively track a person’s actions on a computer. Once enough data is collected, the bot and the RPA can begin to manage all processes on their own.

What can RPA automate?

The size of your business does not necessarily matter, the question is choosing the best RPA solution for the intended treatment. The idea is that if there is tedious IT work that you want to eliminate for yourself or your employees, RPA technology will come and do it instead.

It can therefore be a simple matter of bringing information that must be reformatted into conformity, or of associating new data present in other internal or external information systems. This, therefore, ranges from accounting, financial, and HR information tables, to product files, inventories, customer data, etc. All business departments are concerned.

How do you know if an RPA solution is suitable for your automation challenges?

Four basic criteria will allow you to identify the relevance of the project:

  • Is the process based on tangible and clearly identified rules?
  • Can the process be repeated at regular intervals or does it have an easy-to-define trigger (s)?
  • Did the process include inputs and outputs?
  • Does the task involve a volume of data large enough for its automation to be interesting in terms of productivity gain?

So RPA is typically used for specific business functions such as customer service, accounting, and human resources.

The most common uses include tasks that involve manual entry to transfer + information from one system to another. Taking the example of the management of the working hours of an employee, of which it is necessary to compile the employee hours, overtime hours, his RTT, from an attendance sheet, then group them together to finally enter them in a Payroll Software. You can transpose this example to the management of products, inventories, spare parts, maintenance time, etc.

The main solutions today cover only a tiny part of the needs of companies, and gradually develop increasingly sophisticated treatments. This is one of the main attractions of RPA, the more the processing involves manual, complex, and repetitive operations, the more RPA is the most suitable solution.

What are the benefits of robotic process automation?

Along with reducing repetitive tasks and being able to free up your people to be productive in other areas of your business, RPA has other inherent benefits that any business would find valuable.

RPA is a key factor in reducing the cost of operating your data.

Simplicity, consistency, and compliance are the main strengths of RPA. In addition to lowering input costs, RPA dramatically reduces the risk of data processing errors. It also makes it possible to guarantee processing times despite their variability, on the one hand by systematizing them, and on the other hand, by indicating to you any processing overrun compared to what can usually be expected.

RPA is a factor in the engagement of your employees.

No more repetitive tasks for hours which can be an exhausting experience and source of disinterest in their jobs for your employees. Implementing an RPA bot to handle boring tasks allows your employees to work on more engaging activities that increase their focus, boost morale, and improve your customers ‘and suppliers’ experience in the interactions they take. you can talk to them.

Its implementation is often simple despite the complexity of the tasks performed.

Since RPA mimics a person’s actions while performing tasks, their programming can be relatively easy. Many solutions involve little or no coding knowledge.

A key advantage is their interoperability with existing systems, whether internal or external

While no RPA solution replaces your software, they allow them to communicate better by centralizing the actions carried out in each of them. They make it possible to use the advanced functions that many employees do not know how to operate or that you would have to train and keep up to date with each evolution of the software.

What RPA solutions are available on the market today?

As we indicated in the preamble, the RPA software market is relatively recent. For 5/7 years, solutions have multiplied from the most complex to the simplest. There are now solutions adapted to most problems, and business needs, whether in terms of treatment but also price.

We offer a selection of 5 RPA software among several dozen existing on the market. Future benchmarks will be offered to you, to keep you informed we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter dedicated to new tools.

Some of the key players in RPA include:

Best RPA Tools list :

ANYWHERE AUTOMATION

Automation Anywhere was founded in 2003 in San José, USA by Ankur Kothari, Mihir Shukla, and Neeti Mehta. 

Automation Anywhere claims more than 1,400 user companies in sectors such as financial services, insurance, healthcare, telecoms, logistics… “ Like the introduction of the PC, we see a world in which every employee office will work alongside ‘digital workers’, amplifying human contributions. Today, employees need to know how to use a PC and very soon they will need to know how to create a bot,  ”says Mihir Shukla, CEO, and co-founder.

Among its clients, the company cites LinkedIn, Google, Tesco, ING, and Whirlpool.

UIPATH

Founded in 2005, in Romania by Daniel Dines and Marius Tirca, UIpath is now based in New York and faces its competitor from San José Automation Anywhere. Since its creation, UIPath has raised more than 1.2 billion dollars in funding for a valuation that exceeds 10.2 billion dollars.

”  We are creating a future where employees in every organization will be able to automate tedious and time-consuming tasks, allowing work to refocus on solving problems requiring creativity and reflection, ” said Daniel Dines, co-founder and CEO

AISERA

Founded in 2017 by Muddu Sudhakar in Palo Alto, AIsera tackles the market opened up by UIPath and Automation Anywhere.

Among its clients, it includes Autodesk, McAfee, and Ciena. “ At Ciena, we want our people to be productive. This means that they shouldn’t try to figure out how a ticketing tool works, or wait for technology to solve their problems. We believed that 75% of all incidents could be resolved with Aisera’s technology, and we believe we can apply it across multiple platforms, ”said Craig Williams, CIO at Ciena.

Discreetly launched in 2017 by  Muddu Sudhakar, the American start-up has just completed a funding round of $ 20 million in series B led by Norwest Venture Partners. This operation brings to 34.5 million dollars the total amount raised by the company since its creation.

LAIYE TECHNOLOGY

Laiye Technology,  a Chinese player in robotics process automation (RPA), announces a high of $ 35 million led by  Cathay Innovation which joins Sequoia China, Lightspeed China, and Microsoft as existing investors.

Very well established in China,  Laiye Technology claims customers such as Walmart, McDonald’s, and Nike.

BLUE PRISM

UK-based Blue Prism is another company-level RPA provider. It currently serves more than 1,800 customers including Google, Siemens, Jaguar, Microsoft, and Walgreens.

ZAPIER

A different player due to its market approach, the latter directly targeting end-users, Zapier, which publishes a saas solution for automating tasks. The service offers a free offer to test its solution then packages ranging from $ 20 to $ 600 per month depending on the number of tasks performed.

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