What Is Robotic Process Automation

Automation technology is taking the world by storm, and for good reason. It involves delegating tasks to machines and software that have been typically done by humans. What mechanisation did to manual labour, automation aims to do for intellectual labour.

Robotic process automation involves using computer software programs call ‘bots’ that can be designed to perform useful work. These little programs involve extensive work and can be put in to two major categories: ‘dumb’ bots can be designed to perform mundane and repetitive tasks, for e.g. data entry and scheduling; work that does not require much decision making and is subject to pretty straightforward rules and criteria. On the other hand, ‘smart’ bots are also there which can often perform work that has involved ‘intelligence’. These programs can actually learn from observing past inputs and their outcomes and over time, tailor their work to more suit a desired goal or outcome. They are the manifestation of various cutting edge technologies and breakthroughs in the fields of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data mining and neural networks.

Robotic process automation is not some technology dreamed up by science fiction writers; it is the here and now. Automation bots have been developed that can write and compose music, manage traffic, even write software programs themselves. Widespread adoption of such robotic process automation can indeed render many human based services obsolete.

Businesses are just beginning to understand the scope and utility of robotic process automation technology. Replacing human workers by software programs saves a large amount of costs and increases efficiency and productivity. These programs can work continuously and do not need salaries or benefits or life insurance. Also being investigated are the possibilities of automating entire business processes. Traditionally, businesses have always looked towards outsourcing as a means of reduction of costs and availing of quality work and services. But robotic process automation opens up an entirely new avenue that offers all the benefits of outsourcing with none of its disadvantages, viz. inefficiency, communication delays, time issues and integration of services. When products can be developed in house and with minimal cost, it is always a more prudent decision to go for it instead of opting for outsourcing.

For the longest period of time, automation technology was in the domain of academia and educational interest. Now, it has proven to be of commercial value. This is one of the reasons why companies are increasingly choosing to opt for robotic process automation. Adopting such disruptive technology, however, does require some upfront costs (which definitely pay off in the long run) and needs the businesses to modify their existing workflow and organisation to best integrate this new avenue in the overall venture.

With the grossly rising costs of outsourcing work and automation software getting better and better, robotic process automation is now a viable enterprise of immense industrial and commercial value. Most businesses that employ some amount of human talent stand to benefit immensely from the adoption of automation technology, and all because of the benefits that it brings with it.

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Bringing the next horizon in efficiency and growth, Robotic Process Automation just might be the miracle technology of the 21st century that sparks a new industrial revolution. While the present manifestation of Robotic Process Automation technology is only a sign of what is to come, the projected benefits are definitely promising. With faster and more efficient and accurate work available at a cheaper cost than has ever been possible, it will really set up a tremendous rate of growth and prosperity.

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