Robotic process automation (RPA) is one of the most trending technologies of our time, as many enterprises have either adopted RPA in their enterprise processes or consider adopting it as part of their strategic agendas. According to a recent research report, the RPA market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 33% during the period 2019-2025 i.e. reaching a total value of more than $6 billion by 2025.
RPA is a programmable software process that can be configured to perform repetitive tasks across different enterprise applications. RPA programs are usually characterized as “software robots” that can launch and interact with other software modules to complete enterprise tasks. Hence, they are associated with rule-based digital tasks such as filling in multiple forms across enterprise applications or copying and pasting information across different programs. In practice, RPA robots take over simple, manual, and procedural tasks that were previously carried out by human workers. These include typical office automation tasks such as moving and organizing files, copying and pasting information, as well as processing structured and semi-structured data from various documents. RPA programs automate such tasks without a need for tedious programming and without a need for accessing the code or the data stores used by the processes that are being automated.
The main value proposition of RPA software lies in its ability to deliver cost-savings through automation. Specifically, it automates routine processes, while facilitating others like regulatory compliance. Nevertheless, these are not the sole benefits of RPA. The latter benefits are summarized as follows:
RPA processes are currently deployed in a variety of use cases across different industries. Some use cases with proven Return on Investment (ROI) follow:
The benefits of RPA software lead enterprises to consider how to adopt RPA processes in the best possible ways. Nevertheless, the successful deployment of RPA systems and processes presents challenges as well. As a prominent example, designing error-free and useful workflows is not always a straightforward task. It might entail a significant business process reengineering effort. As another example, there is always a need for managing human factors (e.g., employees’ reluctance and resistance), as RPA changes employees’ roles and pushes them outside their comfort zone. Another challenge relates to the pace of RPA adoption. Enterprises must start small and focus on processes that can lead to a tangible ROI. This means focusing on well-defined processes that can be automated end-to-end.
Despite these challenges, enterprises should consider the adoption of RPA in their short- and medium-term plans. Many companies are already enjoying the business benefits of RPA. This is a very good reason why an enterprise should plan for deploying RPA. Besides, in many cases, RPA is a first and solid step to a company’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) journey i.e. a way to start this exciting journey with the right foot.
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