Evolution of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Over the years technology has helped us to make our works easier. In business, many tasks are repetitive and require a lot of time to do. The company has to keep several employees engaged in these repetitive tasks and later suffer a lack of employees for doing more creative jobs. These tasks take a long time to complete and can affect other business activities. The discovery of robotic process automation (RPA) has made it possible to complete these repetitive tasks quickly. This has allowed companies to become more productive and also engage employees in better job roles.
Though we see the application of RPA in recent times, the concept is more than a decade old. Screen scraping software is considered to be the foundation of RPA. This software was used to extract data from the website. However, it had limited capability. The software relied on the website’s underlying HTML code and its compatibility also varied from one system to another. So, people were looking for software that was adaptable and easier to use.
Then came the workflow automation software and it turned out to be very helpful. The software could process customer orders by identifying specific fields like contact information, total invoice amount, items ordered, and other important information needed to process the order. This reduced the workload of the employees and resulted in fewer errors during order processing. Orders were also processed faster as there was no manual intervention.
Artificial intelligence was the next progress in RPA. Using artificial intelligence it was possible to do tasks that need human decisions. Things like fraud detection and financial planning can be easily accomplished with artificial intelligence. In the early 2000s, researchers came up with the term ‘robotic process automation (RPA)’. Till that time, screen scraping software, workflow automation, and artificial intelligence laid the foundation of RPA and the modern RPA still depends on these technologies.
In the case of screen scraping software, it was necessary to enter code. But for RPA, you don’t need any code. You can simply manage workflows through drag and drop mechanism. RPA combined with AI can perform more complex tasks that need decision making. So, RPA is not limited to the tedious and repetitive tasks anymore.
In the past, smaller companies couldn’t adopt RPA due to the huge infrastructure development cost. Nowadays, these companies can afford to incorporate RPA in their businesses. As a result, you will see a lot of front offices are being automated. RPA has helped businesses to streamline processes, making them more productive and cost-effective.
The developers are trying to replicate the complex human thought processes to make RPA more beneficial. So, instead of accomplishing rule-based processes where no deviation is expected, RPA can be used for more complex processes that require judgment. RPA is evolving fast and it will bring big changes to businesses in the future.