Robot Process Automation

Robot Process Automation (RPA) as a technology group enables the automation of repetitive manual human tasks.

Imagine how much easier Excel Macros make an accounting process whereby a multi-stage process can be automated with the push of a button. Now imagine a multi-stage process where a human has to take data from Excel, or worse a paper document, and move it to another application such as a web site. RPA can do that for you.

– RPA can do that –

In an idea world where every system has a beautifully architected API integration layer, every system would be able to easily and quickly talk to every other system. In reality this is far from the case and a sleek and effective integration is either impossible or prohibitively expensive. RPA can do that for you.

Examples
Many companies have to go through a process of converting paper based data to electronic format. Whether it is incoming invoices, logistics documentation or even waste disposal profiles, there are thousands of people who’s role is to type data from paper into a website.

Through a relatively simple process of connecting the dots, a Robot can be configured to be responsible for:

  • Collecting the data from an Automated OCR process
  • Open a web browser and log into the ERP system
  • Map the data from the form to fields on a web form
  • Submit the web form

Reducing Risk
RPA Robots aren’t error prone. Robots will do exactly what is expected of them. In an business, mistakes cost money and in especially heavily regulated environments the consequences of putting the wrong value in fields can be significant.

Increasing productivity for everyone
Robots are also quicker than people, reducing the time taken for process completion. This then also frees up the people to be able to work in other areas of a business and bring their experience to bear in other ways.

There are many vendors in the RPA space, and Microsoft has entered the foray by extending their Microsoft 365 Power Automate platform to include UI-Flows. https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/ui-flows/ I am going to write about Power Automate and ui-flows specifically as I believe it will be a significant game changer for our client in the future.

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