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What is RPA? A revolution in business process automation

More CIOS are turning to robotic process automation to eliminate tedious tasks, freeing corporate workers to focus on higher value work. But RPA requires proper design, planning and governance if it's to bolster the business, experts say.

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Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is an emerging technology that allows businesses to streamline enterprise operations to reduce costs. With RPA you can automate every-day tasks to free up employees so they can spend time on higher-value work.
How does RPA work?
RPA uses business logic and structured inputs to automate a pre-determined business process. It allows businesses to configure software that will process transactions, manipulate data, trigger responses and communicate with other digital systems.
What are the benefits of RPA?
One significant benefit of RPA is the ability to reduce staffing costs and human error. By automating low-value tasks, employees are free to work with customers and to focus on their career growth. It also helps eliminate human error in processes that are repeated multiple times a day across the organization.
What are the pitfalls?
RPA isn’t for everyone and it has the potential to replace or eliminate jobs for humans. Forrester Research estimates that RPA stands to threaten the livelihood of 230 million knowledge workers, which is about 9 percent of the global workforce. Companies that embrace RPA need to balance talent management with automation.
What companies use RPA?
RPA is popular with large banks and retail organizations like Walmart, AT&T, Vanguard, Walgreens, and American Express Global Business Travel. It’s used to help answer customer’s questions, automate ticketing systems, issue refunds and to automate expense management tasks.
Tips for effective RPA
To implement an effective RPA strategy, you’ll have to set and manage expectations, consider the business impact and involve IT early in the process. A badly designed or poorly managed RPA strategy can backfire on your business, so stay focused on specific goals. You’ll need to plan for errors, setbacks and challenges – including any compliance regulations for your industry.
RPA has its pros and cons, but businesses are embracing the technology at a rapid pace. To implement a strong RPA strategy, you’ll need to consider how RPA can positively impact your business, without ignoring any potential negative side effects.