RPA or Robotic Process Automation is the name used to describe the use of software robotics to automate repetitive tasks. These tasks are usually time-consuming and have to be carried out manually by employees.
RPA software sits on top of an organizations IT infrastructure rather than being a part of it. In this sense, RPA can be used to mimic human actions, logging in to applications, reading/writing data, carrying out calculations and completing tasks before logging out. This is in contrast to traditional automation that requires access to the backend infrastructure of a company’s network. In practice, these simple changes make RPA solutions much easier and faster to implement.
While this description might imply that the introduction of RPA is solely to replace full-time employees with robots; here is a quick rundown of how RPA can be used to benefit you, as an employee.
Everyone has manual, repetitive and linear tasks that they carry out on a daily/weekly/monthly basis; they take up valuable time and always result in the same output whether that is entering time in to a time tracking tool, pulling reports, filling out the same form or going through the same internal processes… I bet you can think of some more in your own role!
If a robot could handle all of these small, admin type tasks for you this would free up your time to do the work you’re supposed to be doing. It is inevitable that as a company grows, internal processes can become overcomplicated, sometimes without very much documentation. RPA looks to take the pain out of these processes and provide marginal gains in productivity for you. If we take these seemingly insignificant marginal gains and multiply them by the potential thousands of employees a company has, that translates to a serious increase in productivity which will lower costs for their customers which will result in an increase to how competitive a company is in the market which is something every employee should be striving for.
As far as I’m concerned, automation is happening, no matter your personal opinion on it, and without a considerable automation effort, non-adopting companies will slowly become less and less competitive. Automation needs to throw of its negative associations and be thought of as something positive that can assist every employee and therefore businesses as a whole.
Sara, Consultant, Leyton UK.
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