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3 minutes on… RPA

Author: Sarah Finch

3 Minutes On... RPA
  • Service Data and AI
  • Date 25 February 2022

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses software to automate business processes, relieving employees of repetitive, manual tasks.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses software to automate business processes. RPA is highly effective at completing multi-step, repetitive tasks such as extracting information from documents, transferring files and data entry. The aim of any RPA solution is to replicate the keystrokes and digital processes carried out by a human employee. Yet while a human might find this work mundane and time-consuming, the RPA bot can process high volumes of these tasks quickly and accurately.

From humble beginnings in the early 2000s, when it automated the simplest of tasks and still required some human intervention, RPA has now become much more advanced. AI and machine learning can now be integrated with RPA systems, creating an automation tool that is able to carry out much more complex functions. Where standard RPA would be incapable of processing anything outside of its programming, for example, Intelligent RPA (also known as Intelligent Automation) benefits from a level of decision-making and analytical capability. This makes it far less reliant on human oversight, and much more efficient.

RPA is containerised, meaning that it doesn’t have any knock on effects on other computer systems. This is a huge benefit of the technology: it seamlessly integrates with existing applications, interacting with them in the same way a human user does — all it needs is a username and password.

The benefits of RPA

  • perfect for repetitive and manual digital tasks
  • integrates seamlessly with existing tech
  • frees up human staff to add value elsewhere
  • improves efficiency and employee job satisfaction
  • AI and machine learning can be applied to create a much more powerful tool
  • easy to demonstrate return on investment

Sarah Finch's avatar

Sarah Finch

Head of Content and Insights


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