So what is RPA?
Robotic Automation Process, or RPA, involves using robot software where the primary aim is to interact with a set of different systems in the same way a human would. These robots are mainly programmed to carry out a number of repetitive tasks that require little complex decision making. RPA solutions have been developed to connect to a company’s internal, or external, interfaces.
The robots are configured or, rather, “trained” through a series of manual steps rather than code. The point of the software is not to recreate a development platform but actually to provide a programme that is accessible to any user without the tech knowledge. So in this case, rather than an IT technician training users, we have a network of “super-users”. These are employees with in-depth knowledge of the job process and the data which has to be exploited. With RPA, humans will only have to deal with the exceptions, such as nominal cases, for instance, which fall outside the scope of RPA systems.
There are many RPA solutions available on the market today, such as Blueprism and Celaton for example. For those wanting a solution with more avatar-like functions, then solutions such as LivingActor, Amelia or DoYouDreamUp are available.
RPA – the lowdown
The innovation here involves setting up a robot to take over the human/machine interfaces, with as little intelligence and interference in the system as possible. The robot then makes it possible to access a wide range of interfaces and systems.
This doesn’t require setting up an interface in the regular sense, which is actually sometimes impossible. Instead, it means freeing up the IT system from the manual tasks which are time-consuming and irritating tasks for a non-robot, particularly because they are very repetitive with no real added value.
Installing a robot means transforming low-value tasks into 24/7 resources. This also makes it possible to accelerate response times for basic tasks such as these.
We may also note that there is a 40% cost reduction from automating back-office processes (particularly with Celaton and Blueprism), and around 20-25% when automating level 1 ticket processing.
In summary, a perfect case for these solutions would be to provide robot software, a virtual, manual worker, which can be “trained” quickly by a professional user.
What our experts say
The RPA robot is really useful in situations involving repetitive, time-consuming manual tasks, such as data input into two different software solutions. According to Patrick Meyer, architect in the North-East division, “RPA is the ideal tool when integrating and combining several sources of information without the need for writing one single line of code… We are now realising that there are solutions that can automate processes using a friendly and integrated tool.”
Robot Record Playback is also turning out to be a useful tool when it comes to accessing sensitive data, such as a customer file. Whilst the human/non-robot has to be taught how to exploit the file, RPA reveals all its best advantages when used with solutions such as BluePrism or Celaton. Damien Lecomte, Senior Manager at the North-East branch confirms: “The North-East branch has decided to invest in this more than promising subject. Our first complete job was finalising a POC for a client who is a specialist in finance and also marine finance. In partnership with the developer BluePrism, our teams are now responsible for performing demos using an RPA type solution, for showing clients how to manage a current account, for instance.
By automating processes using robots, this enables our clients to interact with their website and ERP (EKIP), such as a human might. Using the BluePrism solution meant that we would carry out a set of repetitive tasks that require very little or no complex decision making. Thanks to the success from this first POC, the client is now entrusting us with new projects to optimise their business processes. In preparation, our teams of consultants will now assist the client in selecting the most relevant, functional elements when using RPA so as to broaden its applications in operational tasks.”
On the other hand, cognitive robotics are better for extracting information from written documents or for establishing dialogues using natural language. This will be especially useful for redirecting incoming emails, summarising texts or taking notes in a meeting, for instance. This two-sided learning, both human and automated, means that the robot can undertake far more developed processes by integrating human language. Patrick Meyer underlines that “these tools are vital because they contribute to our clients’ digital transformation by enabling them to undertake short projects with high ROI.”
Depending on usage, Robot Record Playback or cognitive robotics both offer useful solutions for better efficiency and unleashing the whole value chain of your work.