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Robotic process automation (or RPA) is a form of business process automation technology based on metaphorical software robots (bots) or on artificial intelligence (AI)/digital workers. It is sometimes referred to as software robotics (not to be confused with robot software).
In traditional workflow automation tools, a software developer produces a list of actions to automate a task and interface to the back-end system using internal application programming interfaces (APIs) or dedicated scripting language. In contrast, RPA systems develop the action list by watching the user perform that task in the application's graphical user interface (GUI), and then perform the automation by repeating those tasks directly in the GUI.
This can lower the barrier to use of automation in products that might not otherwise feature APIs for this purpose. RPA tools have strong technical similarities to graphical user interface testing tools. These tools also automate interactions with the GUI, and often do so by repeating a set of demonstration actions performed by a user. RPA tools differ from such systems that allow data to be handled in and between multiple applications, for instance, receiving email containing an invoice, extracting the data, and then typing that into a bookkeeping system.
Robotic Process Automation is transforming how companies maximise their efficiency across all industries. Using AI robots and software, businesses are able to replicate the behaviours of a human worker with a near 0% defect rate. However, for companies practising Operational Excellence, there is a fine line to walk between streamlining to maximise efficiency, and quality of the product/service - for example, in the case of areas such as Customer Experience.
Robotic process automation is designed to carry out tasks, processes and services in a way that is identical to a human being. The steps are carried out in exactly the same way, but through Artificial intelligence and repetitive programs, rather than human logic. In many ways, Robotic Process Automation is the 'next stage' to traditional Automation, which typically would involve IT professionals in the team running a code, requiring programming skills.
The goal of Robotic Automated Processes is for them to be 'trained' in a step by step process, rather than through running a particular script. This means these new automated processes can be dictated and used by any Business User, rather than just the IT team.
Infographic courtesy of AutomationEdge.com
Robotic Process Automation has a massive amount of potential in every industry - however, Financial Services, Healthcare & Insurance are a few in which it has the potential to make the greatest impact. See below for 15 examples of how Robotic Process Automation can be utilized.
Autonomics and multi-agent systems in healthcare allow for the growth and development of definable, repeatable, and rule-based processes. In this sense, Robotic process automation serves as a competitive advantage, not replacing humans in the care-giving/healthcare delivery process, but enabling them to focus on more personalized treatments, and higher-level research/processes.
Further to this is the introduction of robotics in Healthcare. A robot can be defined as any mechatronics device that is designed and functional in executing tasks which may be repetitive, unsafe, difficult or impossible for a human. Robots in healthcare may also be utilised if they are capable of executing tasks better, or more efficiently, than a human. Key focus areas for development and implementation of Robotics in the Healthcare industry include Precision Surgery, repetitive tasks such a blood sampling and heartrate monitoring, robotic assistance for those needing care, and even the development of Exoskeletons and further innovations.
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