Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to the use of software to perform repetitive, routine tasks that are considered monotonous and uninteresting to humans.
In its simplest definition, RPA is:
- Robotics: The use of software to imitate human actions and perform distinct operations
- Processes: A series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular end or conclusion
- Automation: The execution of any given task which can be performed without human intervention
RPA can recreate business processes after simply observing the mechanics of the particular action performed by a human. It doesn't refer to any physical robot or a machine interpreting with a series of commands, but rather to software with an efficient approach that can interact directly with any business applications. When properly implemented, it has the potential to reduce costs and provide greater success rates by eliminating human errors.
The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence and RPA
Many people mistakenly consider RPA as being a part of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution. RPA has been in use for more than a decade, quietly maturing from a service that required specialization to a self-service application that can now be used by everyone. The fundamental difference between AI and RPA is that RPA completes simpler types of task that are rules-based whereas AI uses data to perform an action based on cognitive reasoning; generating a representation of the problem and using learning based on past events to inform future decisions.
Use Case for Financial Institutions
The functionality and operational availability of RPA systems is flourishing in today’s competitive business world where RPA can assist financial institutions with AML (Anti Money Laundering) and other regulatory compliance.
RPA systems can be implemented in data generation and interpretation and customer service sectors to implement an efficient use of digital resources. As the software performs the predetermined tasks, it records and stores detailed audit trails of the actions performed. Business groups and audit departments will have to ability to review these logs to ensure the software is performing as per the business objectives. The software can also identify errors and implement corrections where necessary.
RPA technology can also improve a financial institution’s regulatory compliance program by maintaining the organization’s ability to follow guidelines and restrictions in an efficient but strict manner. Regulatory compliance often comes with a zero-tolerance for errors. It can strictly fulfill this requirement because it works with specified scripts and does not deviate.
Benefits of Implementing RPA
An organization can use RPA tactically for cost savings, or as a broader strategic tool with exponential benefits. When it comes to the use of RPA systems, the possibilities are limitless, and so are the extended benefits associated with it:
- Cost savings
- Decreased cycle times and improved efficiency
- Flexibility and scalability
- Improved accuracy
- Improved employee morale
- Detailed data capture
How to Implement RPA
Organizations planning to implement RPA should consider a multi-step approach to develop a strategy that looks beyond the initial deployment and defines how automation will grow within the organization. Below is a high-level framework to use when planning RPA implementation:
- Identify and categorize processes
- Map each process from start to completion
- Assess automation opportunities
- Determine the optimal operating model
- Identify your automation partners – Internal and External
- Build a roadmap for automation