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Function and applications of Robotic Process Automation

This technical tool mimics the process in the same way as the employee would. However, the robot is able to perform the same actions faster, at any time and without error. In the IT sector, for example, a large number of standard processes are suitable for automation using RPA, including processes for password reset by the service desk. If an IT user contacts the Service Desk because he has forgotten his password from one or more systems, the Service Desk Agent executes the corresponding manual password reset process. To do this, he must work with various heterogeneous systems that query user data, enter it manually in various systems in order to access internal key figures or user names, which in turn must be copied manually so that he can carry out actions such as password resetting in other third-party systems - a complex process.
The more governance and compliance are involved in these business processes, the longer and more tedious the manual work for the executing employee becomes. Such a standard process is basically relatively simple, but at the same time also frequently recurring and can therefore still take a lot of time overall. The process before and after the actual password reset is ideal for automation. The software robot behind RPA can automatically switch back and forth between the different systems on the graphical user interface, just as a human would to pick out, copy and paste the information. It can also automatically trigger actions in all participating systems to perform the necessary steps to reset the password and, if necessary, create and complete a documentation ticket at the same time.
RPA has the greatest potential in standardised, rule-based processes that rely on structured data and in which various endpoints play a role. These can be successfully automated with RPA. Wherever different endpoints are involved, to which humans must turn, RPA can be used without having to adapt these internally or externally located endpoints or third-party systems or program interfaces. But what can RPA actually automate? Basically, any process that is standardised and/or rule-based and can be executed by a human already now. This includes, for example, any copying and pasting of data, triggering or performing actions, calculations and checks, rule-based decisions, communication between multiple systems, automatic login and combination of information from internal or external endpoints or third party systems (so-called «Unified Desktop») and much more.
The automated process is defined in advance by a process sequence and can be triggered either automatically by a certain action (so-called «trigger») or manually by an employee by an action.In technical jargon, this is referred to as «attended» and «unattended» automation. Unattended RPA is a fully automated process that requires no human intervention and is therefore active 24/7 in the background. Attended RPA must be triggered by a human action and is used to support the computer of the executing employee.


Further advantages of automation technology

With Robotic Process Automation, efficiency and quality of work processes can be increased and compliance ensured. Processes are accelerated and quality is increased through the automation of error-prone processes. Employees are relieved of the repetitive, monotonous routine tasks and can concentrate on other, higher-value and more complex tasks in the time gained. The software robot can execute the automated processes at any time and without pause. To ensure compliance, confidential data can be automatically processed by RPA. All work steps are also documented and can therefore be traced at any time. The major advantage of automation with RPA, as already mentioned, is that there is no need to interfere with existing programs and systems. Companies can therefore save themselves the trouble of programming costly application interfaces and intervening in the IT infrastructure. Some companies use external endpoints and third-party systems that cannot be adapted at all. These can, however, be integrated and automated into the internal system landscape using RPA. Process flows can also be adapted to new requirements again and again without great effort.


Conclusion

The many advantages of RPA mean that more and more companies are relying on it and automating routine processes. However, the negative aspects of the software robot should not be ignored either. On the one hand, the automated processes must always be worked on, they must be optimided or further developed. On the other hand, the new situation is also a challenge for the employees, since certain previous tasks are no longer necessary for them. Therefore, employees should be sensitised to this topic beforehand and accompanied through the change process. All in all, however, RPA is a sensible technology if it is used correctly and, above all, properly planned and accompanied. A proof of concept in the sense of an RPA assessment can help to decide whether RPA is right for your own requirements and can also support you in developing the right strategy. As with any major change that affects people, proper planning before and after implementation is very important.