Rock, Robot Rock

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) delivers quick process benefits without elaborate and troublesome re-engineering  

The robots are amongst us… though they sure don’t look like robots. Rather, they emerge as powerful software solutions that target the mechanistic and repetitive processes of the human workforce, typically interacting with screens and applications. Robotic Process Automation looks at this interaction and aims to automate it as much as possible. The mission of RPA is not to fix underlying technical problems, or flawed process and application logic. It is simply to maximize the efficiency of process execution, in spite of inherent shortfalls. So, while RPA may not involve shiny robots that walk around and carry your stuff – it’s more like R2-D2 – it sure will speed up your routine business activities, 24/7/365. Robots rock.

What

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) utilizes a software system to mimic the actions ofa human worker interacting with the user interface of a computer system.
  • This ‘software robot’can be trained to work with the user interface just as a human would; virtually initiating actions – such as mouse clicks and keyboard inputs, interpreting display output and automating activities according to predefined rules.
  • Cognitive technologies make a robot’s operation easier and more accurate through enhanced identification of the user interface elements to which they operate, supported by the cognitive power of AI for the assessment and consistency of results.
  • Robots can operate much faster when Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used in the discovery phase of business processes performed by humans.
  • Additional RPA management software manages resourceallocation, systems usage, and compliance.
  • RPA solutions can carry out actions much faster- and more reliably – than their human counterparts, especially when cognitive certainty measures are included.

Use

  • Process implementation and transformation becomes simplified and more accurate with the reduction of unnecessary activities using RPA deployment.
  • The Russian gas giant, Gazprom used RPA to automate verification of meter readings. In the first two weeks after the automation went live, an employee was able to validate about 130 invalid meter reads, saving 10 hours of work per employee.
  • The UK’s largest water utility company, United Utilities recently tested an AI platform to analyze large data sets on factors such as weather, demand for water, pump performance and electricity prices. The information helps to make decisions on the most cost-effective and efficient ways to run the pumps. The trial saw energy savings of 22%.
  • US-based electric and gas utility, Xcel Energy, uses data from sensors on wind turbines to develop high-resolution wind forecasts through predictive analytics and AI, resulting in a cost reduction to end consumers by $60 million.
  • A large services organization automated its cash collection management process using RPA, reducing the manual work of 650 full time employees to 45 software robots, reducing the average handling time with an 85% cost reduction.
  • RPA is used extensively within a government department to automate clerical tasks, resulting in a 40% improvement in the average handling time for customers and an 80% reduction in processing application costs.

Impact

  • In the future, RPA can be used for fuzzy logic, machine learning, deep learning and NLP to achieve top-level simplicity in implementation and processes.
  • Creative management of the augmented workforce, where RPA robots cooperate with humans, to deliver fast and more accurate services.
  • Routine human tasks are executed more simply, quickly and reliably across a multitude of applications, saving time, money and resource.
  • Due to its non-invasive nature, no applications need to be changed. Benefits are delivered quickly, effectively and without additional risk.

Tech

 

Featured Expert

Miroslaw Bartecki

AI, Intelligent Automation, software development, operations and innovation