What is RPA?

Posted: 09/28/2017 - 07:45

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a critical component of developing a digital operations strategy that can yield impressive results. If you’re early in your discovery journey, you may be wondering what the term actually means. This article will help you understand RPA and the ways it can add value to your enterprise.

A Definition of RPA

Symphony Ventures defines RPA as any capability that allows you to perform processes within any IT application or website typically in the same way a human would.  RPA takes complex, rules-based work and automates the processes through software and/or services. In other words, RPA software allows complex automations to be tailored to a company’s processes. When an RPA robot is at work, it performs tasks just like a human would: logging in, operating applications, entering data, performing complex calculations and logging out.

What Can RPA Do?

Because RPA is software-based, it can be used to perform various tasks. These include maintenance of records, queries, calculations and transactions. Additionally, any application commonly used by your company can be operated by RPA. For example, Citrix, .NET, HTML, and Java are all technologies commonly supported by RPA. Compatible systems include Mainframe Terminals, SAP, Oracle, Blackline, and many more. Programmable automation means that RPA can be configured to perform almost any rule-based task.

Benefits of RPA

RPA can yield benefits not only to the business itself but also to customers and employees. Some of the most common benefits include:

  • Greater Compliance: Business processes can be set to operate in accordance with the necessary regulations and standards.
  • Increased Speed: Processes can be completed within faster durations.
  • Increased Agility: Reduced overhead and more flexible business resources.
  • Comprehensive Insights: Improved efficiency by digitizing and auditing process data.
  • Reduced Costs: Manual or repetitive tasks are carried out by RPA software at a fraction of the cost
  • Higher Quality Services: Improved accuracy and customer service.

Employee Experience: Increased staff productivity and reduced attrition

The above factors can provide vast improvements to many sectors within your organization where RPA is deployed. As you progress in your RPA journey, it is important to align process automation goals and coordinate end-to-end processes for the maximum outcome rather than chasing the latest fad or promising to implement robots that don’t deliver sufficient value.

Ready to Learn More?

Check out our blog with RPA tips and insights from our experts.

Symphony Ventures

Symphony is a consulting, implementation and managed services firm passionate about transforming the world’s leading organizations.

About The Author

Ian Barkin's picture

Ian Barkin is chief strategy and marketing officer for SYKES. Ian co-founded Symphony Ventures, a managed services firm specializing in intelligent automation (IA) and robotic process automation (RPA) acquired by SYKES in 2018. Ian hosts  OneTAKE, a series on emerging technology, the future of work, and more. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA in Economics and Psychology from Middlebury College. Along with Pascal Bornet and Jochen Wirtz, Ian is the co-author of the best-selling book, Intelligent Automation: Welcome to the World of Hyperautomation.   

Connect with Ian on LinkedIn.