RPA has arrived! What this means and how this impacts you

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has long been foreshadowed as the sign of the labour apocalypse. Critics have wailed about the proliferation of superior autonomous robots that could wipe out people’s jobs and radically alter industry, government and the economy. But with RPA’s arrival, are we really in the end-times? Or are those doomsayers missing the point – that an almighty opportunity for efficiency has emerged and could be the next big leap in business productivity. To understand this, we need to examine what the advent of RPA really means, what does it look like and what can we expect.

What is it?

Broadly speaking, RPA refers to the emerging technology base that enables people to create metaphorical robots that can perform activities autonomously. Like a digital assistant, a robot can be programmed to automatically perform the most mundane and repetitive low-value tasks, thus freeing up people to devote more time to profitable activities. For a business, the benefits are twofold:

  1. Increased productivity from workers who are spending more time on high-value tasks, and
  2. A reduction in costs attributable to human error, offshoring or legacy process inefficiencies.

A simple concept, it is now only realistically possible thanks to the powerful capabilities of modern RPA technologies such as UiPath.

What does it look like?

RPA involves educating a robot on specific tasks that a human already does. Typical tasks include controlling desktop applications, gathering and manipulating data, entering data into processing systems and saving/sending pieces of work to relevant destinations. Perhaps the best way to understand RPA is to look at an example. Using UiPath, we can create a robot that is capable of utilising Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to locate and read the name and ABN of a supplier from the image of an invoice received via email:

Once it has identified the name and ABN, the robot then opens ABN Lookup in a web browser, and cross checks these details to what is in the Australian business register. If the details do not match, the supplier is flagged and an alert is sent via email to the finance team to review. If the details match, the robot then creates a supplier in the ERP system with these details, and a confirmation notification is sent to the finance team.

This robot is performing a typical administrative process of this business, completing the exact same tasks, with the exact same logic that a human would. Moreover, this robot (and many others) is being centrally managed by the business via the UiPath Orchestrator web application. This means that although the robots are autonomously executing the tasks, the business is still managing the original process, maintaining control and monitoring their operations.

It’s obvious that RPA requires human interaction to operate. Indeed, human involvement in business process is still, and forever will be, a necessity. What RPA is doing is redefining that relationship, such that the strengths of robot and human can be better utilised in business process. For robots, that is the ability to complete a multitude of activities without failure. For people, the ability to interpret information in complex scenarios and make key decisions that a robot is incapable of doing.

What can you expect?

Business is built on process. They are the fundamental procedures by which an organisation is able to function. The strength of RPA is that it does not remove those processes, nor introduce new ones, but rather enhances existing processes through intelligent automation. Put simply, RPA is the natural evolution of business process. It increases efficiency without risking disruption to existing business rhythms.

Areas where RPA can easily transform business process include:

  • Communications – A robot can continuously monitor an email inbox, and automatically draft business-approved appropriate email responses depending on the nature of the received email.
  • Application processing – When prospective customers fill out an application form, a robot can read the form, pull the relevant data, and send it for further review.
  • Statement reconciliation – For the accountant, a robot can read bank statements and prepare an Excel reconciliation that can be saved for review.
  • Customer profile update – If a customer sends in a change of address form, a robot can take those details and input them into the CRM and all other systems where details are maintained, thus ensuring information is captured consistently.
  • Software installations – When a new hire starts, their IT on-boarding procedure can be automated to install the appropriate applications, and grant the appropriate level of access.

What happens now?

It’s clear that that the ‘robot apocalypse’ prophecy was only partially correct. Where critics have said that intelligent automation will cause industry Armageddon, they have in fact misplaced where that devastation will occur. It is not in people’s jobs and livelihoods, but rather in the businesses who fail to keep up with the change in technology. As more and more businesses implement RPA solutions and extract value, the doomed organisations who resist will likely suffer, and face the ever-increasing challenge to stay relevant in an already unforgiving economic climate.

Expect to see a dramatic uplift in RPA implementation in the next year. Already, resourceful businesses who have implemented RPA solutions are reaping the rewards. As others begin their own RPA journey, more will follow to maintain the pace required for market competitiveness. So the question is, are you ready? Or will you be left behind?

To speak to an expert about how RPA can be implemented in your business, please contact us for more information.

Gartner RPA Magic Quadrant 2019

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Gartner RPA Magic Quadrant 2019

Gartner has released the RPA Magic Quadrant for 2019 and there is no surprise in who are the three top vendors:

The full Gartner RPA Magic Quadrant 2019 is below:

Gartner RPA Magic Quadrant 2019

Gartner RPA Magic Quadrant 2019

Which is the best RPA Vendor?

Full disclosure – Talos is a UiPath Partner and so the below commentary needs to be reviewed with that in mind. However most of the below is simply an interpretation of Gartner’s comments and is a bias free as possible. Each product has its strengths and weaknesses and the best one for your organisation will depend on those. However Gartner also note that there may not be one “best” solution for your organisation and a multi-vendor strategy may be advisable.

Automation Anywhere

Automation Anywhere positions itself as an innovator, and uses an extensive partner ecosystem to deliver on that. It also has a high degree of pre built integrations and is designed to scale. It generally has positive feedback from customers.

A downside is it is a developer intensive solution to implement. Comments are that it is not end user friendly in terms of dashboarding, troubleshooting and training. There is also a lack of clarity on product direction and AI usage is limited.

BluePrism

Blueprism is IT friendly in terms of management and monitoring. It also maintains a strong partner ecosystem which it uses to extend the platform. They also have clear industry solutions that provide delivery acceleration.

It focuses on unattended automation, meaning use cases where user involvement is required is a weakness. It’s scalability and management is a weaker area, which is key in enterprise deployments. Its smaller employee base has led to some criticism of sales and technical support levels.

UiPath

UiPath is again a strongly partner led organisation, and supports this through active communities and extension marketplaces. It’s customer satisfaction is in part driven by its high standard user interface which promotes adoption.

It is weaker in its management interfaces and cloud services. Further its degree of integration is not as strong as its competitors.

Summary

So, based on the Gartner RPA Magic Quadrant 2019, there are three strong contenders for “best” RPA vendor. If UiPath appeals to you – please contact us today.

 

Build Your Own Bot

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UiPath Event Oct 3 Melbourne

Today’s RPA- driven business world is moving fast and evolving rapidly. It’s time for enterprises everywhere to figure out how to put RPA in the driver seat or be left playing catch-up with the status quo. At the UiPath Event Oct 3 Melbourne you can find out how it applies to you.

Build your own bot

You can join UiPath on 3rd October, 2019 in Melbourne for an UiPath Academy Live session where you can explore, learn and accelerate the work of the future – towards an automation first era. This event is perfect for non-technical managers, CoE leaders and executives. This comprehensive session aims to help those of you looking to better understand UiPath’s impressive capabilities and inspire you to be the catalyst for the transformation of your business with automation.
Academy Live is an experience that provides non-technical users with a fundamental understanding of how to model automations visually using UiPath Studio, without scripting, without code. Step-by-step instructions for the RPA processes, and optional challenges that extend each lesson will give you a chance to closely watch automation in action.
This hands on interactive session, gives you the opportunity to get your queries answered directly by UiPath’s RPA experts. Not just that, we also get hands-on, helping you build your very own bot to see how automation works for you with the aid of UiPath instructors.
Contact us via the form below to find out how to attend – or check out our RPA Kickstart if you are ready to being your journey.