In this post, I will discuss robotic process automation (RPA), exploring its latest technical tools and analyzing its benefits and weaknesses compared to a human workforce.
The 21st century has rightly been called the time of technological boom. The number of new inventions and progressive ideas has grown exponentially, all aimed to simplify work, optimize processing timeframes, and increase business productivity. Robotic process automation is one of the latest smart services to take on human functions. But could it actually replace people? Let’s examine this idea in more detail.
What is RPA?
Robotic process automation is a technological application that configures computer software to automate repeated, rules-based, non-subjective process. It changes the approach to completing tasks that involve manual input and data processing. The main principle of RPA is grounded on playing between two technological applications through an existing user interface rather than an application programming interface (API).
Technical advantages of RPA
RPA does not alter the existing IT architecture. It comprises the core to enable quick, efficient implementation without additional expenditures. Monitoring and regulatory procedures and reporting also remain unchanged.
For many companies using outdated legacy systems, RPA can offer an efficient solution that addresses most common challenges.
RPA can also be used incrementally and can be installed on individual users’ computers, enabling specific employees to run processes to increase efficiency. In such instances, RPA can easily be disabled if necessary.
Benefits of RPA
- Increased productivity reduces expenditures. RPA can be implemented for relatively little investment, especially if it is open source, which requires no license costs.
- Robots do not make mistakes. Set up correctly, RPA eliminates errors and inaccuracies.
- RPA works 24-7. It can triple the productivity of a human worker.
- RPA reduces staff training investment and saves time. When the process should be modified, the company needs only change the initially preset rules (modify the script) not to train the employee.
- RPA registers 100% of processes. Regulatory compliance is especially important in today’s fast-paced business environment.
- RPA does not require a workplace and social guarantees. According some studies, one robot is the equivalent of three to eight human workers in terms of productivity. Experience shows that RPA can reduce business process costs up to 80%.
Does RPA undermine the value of human resources?
Regardless of all the advantages of RPA listed above, the answer is unambiguous: No.
Robotic systems are best suited to work with repeated, rules-based, and non-subjective processes. They cannot be applied effectively in areas where decisions are based on fuzzy criteria such as moral principles. They are also ineffective in conditions that involve rapid changes in processing rules, or for one-time tasks.
In conclusion, while RPA has unprecedented potential, it is still far from multifunctional and cannot compete with human intellect. It can and often should be used to free people from performing mundane, repetitive functions so they can focus on more complex business challenges.
How is robotics technology being used in finance? Read Accounting Robots: How Digitization Drives Automation In Finance.