Introduction to Robotic Process Automation

Automation of processes is an increasingly sought-after trend, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology is fast-tracking industry growth with automation in many use cases. Whether the goal is a single process or several, RPA solutions are automating and optimizing processes for speedy implementation. This results in organizations realizing the value of automation to increase throughput, reduce costs and ensure compliance while scaling up.

As organizations look to automate complex business processes, they want more cognitive capabilities like RPA

If you want to extend your knowledge base to intelligent applications that add business value, take a look at this Robotic Process Automation Course. It offers an overview of RPA concepts and the value-addition for enhancing business operations across industries.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA is the use of software robots or specialized software programs to handle and manage repetitive, rule-based tasks. These robots standardize and automate tedious and recurring business processes performing the same way every time, simulating robots. RPA programs interact with applications the way humans do. So the automation they provide helps organizations achieve efficiencies of time and resources. RPA is the robotic connection of the physical world with the computer, where it can do whatever the human can do.

Rather than making people superfluous within organizations, RPA programs act as virtual assistants that help offload manual, boring and repetitive tasks. Employee time is saved and tasks completed efficiently and error-free. RPA robots can automate the processes end-to-end, enabling business optimization.

Using RPA helps to support the efforts of people in a manner that brings value to the organization. 

Some benefits include:

  • Accuracy of tasks performed with minimal human error and associated costs
  • Speed of performance, as tasks are completed 4-5 times faster
  • Reliability, as RPA bots can efficiently and tirelessly work 24/7 without silos or delays
  • Improved employee morale as they are freed from boring, repetitive tasks and can focus on productivity instead of manual processing
  • Compliance with regulations and support of audit trails 
  • Faster ROI 
  • Personalization of services and customer satisfaction
  • Scaling up
  • Ability to perform almost any rule-based task through interaction with any software application or website


What are RPA bots

What is a bot in RPA? It is a form of intelligent software. An example of an RPA bot is the Internet search engine’s web spiders that are essentially pieces of software code that sift websites to update search engine indexes. There are two types of RPA bots – attended and unattended. Attended bots use human intervention. For instance, to help workers complete repetitive desktop tasks like filling in forms. Unattended RPA bots are server-based bots that do not require human judgement.

How RPA differs from Artificial Intelligence (AI)

RPA and AI are technologies that reduce operational costs while ensuring customer satisfaction. Both enable end-to-end automation and ease employee involvement.

RPA is a process used together with people where repetitive workflows are automated by simulating the way people function. AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems that learn, reason and self-correct. RPA is considered a technology that replaces human labour and engagement with automation. 

RPA implements structured inputs, but AI implements unstructured inputs to build up its reasoning.

RPA and AI can work in tandem to present the element of human intelligence in process automation. AI technology with an RPA platform provides the robotic workforce with human-like capabilities, for instance, reading, by utilizing OCR (Optical Character recognition).


Some applications of RPA:

  • Invoice processing and management
  • Customer service
  • Payroll
  • Ecommerce
  • Fraud detection
  • Insurance claim processing
  • Document processing and archival
  • Some applications of AI
  • Image recognition 
  • Machine vision 
  • Speech recognition 
  • Chatbots 
  • Sentiment analysis

Where organizations process both structured data and unstructured data, they use both RPA and AI to fully automate a process end-to-end, and improve a robotic process after deployment.

How it works

RPA is preconfigured software that uses business logic for the autonomous execution of processes, activities, transactions, and tasks. The goal is to deliver a service with precision. RPA software thus includes a wide menu of tools and platforms to optimise and automate processes.

Automation tools such as APIs and low code development may be more scalable but are not intuitive. However, RPA replicates the way people “think and act” with software applications. RPA bots can mirror the way a person clicks or uses keystrokes when he interacts with an app. These can sometimes become the template for more sophisticated bots that simulate human tasks and workflows. 

RPA accesses information from computer systems and integrates with applications: at the back-end connecting to databases and web services and at the front-end connecting through desktop connections. Ultimately it is the ability to copy humans actions rather than the intelligence as in AI that makes it popular for cutting down manual processes in industries. The advantage of robot use in RPA means it can automatically integrate functionalities in addition to human actions. For instance, RPA uses machine vision to interpret icons and screen layouts to make adjustments when processing invoices or payroll.

RPA is process automation that allows defining a set of instructions for a robot or, as in this case, a software bot, to perform. The bots can mimic human-app-computer interactions for undertaking error-free automated tasks, end-to-end, at high volume and speed. For instance, copy-paste tasks and movement of file locations. Thus, RPA software is low-code, with even non-programmers or business analysts creating RPA software that can implement repetitive, rules-based computer tasks.

RPA tools can use initial recordings or templates to generate hybrid RPA robots that record an existing task and then automate at the back-end. In some other cases, process mining and task mining tools can capture workflows for RPA automation. For instance, process mining tools analyze logs of ERP and CRM to auto-generate maps of enterprise processes, and task mining tools use local apps embedded with machine vision to capture user interaction with apps.  In some instances, RPA tools are integrated with AI for intelligent process automation. 

Why you need RPA

RPA enables an organization to do more with less effort and staff involvement. 

Teams can spend more time on strategic work instead of repetitive manual tasks like filling out forms in spreadsheets, creating hardware repair tickets or forwarding emails. These manual tasks are critical for business operations yet take valuable time for completion. With RPA, these tasks can be automated end-to-end.


Key benefits of deploying RPA:

  • End-to-end automation of processes 
  • Freeing up employees from repetitive tasks 
  • Reduce errors
  • Operationalize AI
  • High process completion speed with the minimum time 
  • Employ RPA bots to act on AI insights and complete tasks quickly
  • Attain faster ROI



Most CXOs are turning to emerging technologies to streamline enterprise operations, and RPA’s capabilities to automate mundane rules-based tasks, is changing perceptions. 

To learn a relevant technology that is transforming small and big business operations, register for a Bootcamp that teaches you about RPA and how its centralized automation is fast-tracking the digital transformation of businesses.