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Robotic Process Automation. Part 2. what is automated and what is not

Previously we’ve figured out what Robotic Process Automation is. Now let’s try to determine which processes are possible and should be robotized, which is not very advisable, and which – robots, in general, do not lend themselves.

To the business process succumbed to software robotization, it must meet three basic criteria.

Be definable. That is, the scope of the business process can be clearly defined and allocated among the stream of tasks. For example, for accounting you can identify the process of calculating wages.

Be repeatable. The business process must be performed on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) and activated according to a schedule or as a result of an event (for example, the receipt of a letter in the mailbox or the appearance of a file in the folder). In the example of wages, the process occurs according to a schedule determined by law.

Be rule-based. The business process must be amenable to description by clear rules that exclude fuzzy logic. In our pay example, its charging implies adherence to clear accounting rules and does not require the adoption of decisions from the field of ethics and morality.

Good news: robots are equally well suited to any industry. But some businesses are particularly predisposed to software robotics, because they use a large number of man-hours for tasks that can be assigned to software robots. First of all, these are banks and financial organizations, insurance companies and medicine.

Here are the classic examples of business processes in the banking sector, recommended for automation through Robotic Process Automation:

  • establishment of information on the client in banking systems
  • update customer information
  • financial monitoring
  • cleaning and reconciling data
  • consolidation of financial statements
  • process of encumbrance in the register
  • processing of incoming / outgoing payments
  • loan administration

We figured out the areas in which robotization is feasible. And now we will describe the signs of processes, for automation of which there is no sense to start implementation of Robotic Process Automation.

First of all, processes in which there is no manual selection, processing and re-entry of data. If in your IT environment all applications exchange data without the participation of business users through the API or integration bus, you do not need to emulate using robots to perform tasks by the user (and in general, you are very lucky with the IT department).

Processes that require automation from the beginning to the end. Robotics is not a substitute for automation, but complements it, speeding up the processing of individual manual steps and eliminating the inevitable human errors.

Processes in which decisions are made on the basis of fuzzy criteria (beautiful / ugly, morally / immoral). At this stage, such processes will not be possible to robotize, although the forecast is that in 5-10 years robots will be able to solve these tasks using the tool of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Processes whose validity period is limited. If you are audited before M & A (Mergers & Acquisitions), then the collected data will be needed once, when deciding whether to buy a business. However, if the M & A takes place, then the transfer of data during the merger of business systems can take a considerable period of time (up to 1-2 years), and robotics will greatly speed up this process.

Not very large-scale business processes, the rules of processing which change too often. In this case, the reprogramming of robots can become a separate, costly process that negates the economic effect of the introduction of RPA.

In the third part we will analyze the moral aspects of Robotic Process Automation.