Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Questions
Apr 14 2021
I'm interested to hear your opinion about the future of the open source automation framework when it's used for robotic process automation (RPA).
What about using Robot Framework with Python?
Apr 14 2021
We have 20 to 40 branch office locations that receive email requests for submissions or price quotes for insurance products - both commercial lines and personal lines.
I'm researching RPA to help with processes such as Rate, Quote, Bind, Issue, Policy Admin., etc.
Can anyone comment on the benefits of RPA within the insurance industry with these types of processes?
Mar 22 2021
I want to learn more about the capabilities provided by Kofax for attended bots. What are the deployment strategies of attended bots, and how do they work? I will be more interested if you have detailed documentation of the same from an infrastructure/program stand point.
Oct 27 2020
I work at a company that uses IBM iSeries. I would like to know what are the best tools for RPA integration?
I'd like to find out about benefits of using RPA in marketing and sales.
What are some positive ways that RPA can contribute towards the manufacturing industry? What problems does RPA solve for this industry?
I'm a senior consultant at a Tech Services Company with less than 1,000 employees.
I'm needing to not only review testimonials of multiple RPA tools out there, but I would also like to get a cost list to set up of of the tools.
I would also like to know what are the requirements to set up each tool.
The market leaders seem very entrenched. Who are we going to be talking about 3-5 years from now? Still the same few companies? Is anyone doing anything innovative in this space that could be a real game-changer?
What are some security implications to be aware of before adopting RPA? What measures should businesses put in place to mitigate these security risks?
RPA Security Risks and Challenges
Even top RPA tools that have been used by our members aren't without some challenge if not mindfully implemented. There are a lot of benefits of RPA for your business, especially the ROI for RPA. In addition to security, there are some other drawbacks to RPA, although many of our reviewers boast about the advantages. Take careful consideration when implementing to mitigate any of the risks.
RPA software bots require access to certain systems and tools to carry out their tasks. They may be logging in to ERP or CRM tools, for example, or be integrated into a process using RPA and AI. To gain access, the bot will be coded so it can carry out it's tasks. This aspect makes them susceptible to hackers looking to retrieve credentials or passwords. Also, data that bots collect can also be compromised during the transaction process or storage. Follow best practices and standards so you're not opening yourself up for unnecessary risk.
RPA Security Best Practices
Our members have shared their best practices when implementing RPA, and we're summarizing as a form of RPA standards and an introduction to a RPA security framework.
Use access and password controls. Animesh Jain, Head of Robotic Automation, says to "ensure that the access of the bot is controlled through enterprise user auth system." David Pereira, an IT Transformation Advisor, says "do not leave passwords used by robots in the source code...put them in a safe place"
- Use a rules-based access control. David says you want to be able to define and "evaluate carefully what a robot can do and what it cannot." Sunilkumar, a RPA Solution Architect, says to "ensure all the control checks are implemented to each of the RPA steps identified".
- Give bot it's own credential. "Ensure that bots have their own set of credential, especially when it's connecting with external systems for traceability", says Aminesh. David says "do not use another user's login." Giving a bot it's own credential will allow you to distinguish between activities carried out by a bot versus a human.
- Encrypt bot data. "Ensure that [your] bot vault is encrypted and all sensitive information is stored in its vault", says Aminesh.
- Keep transaction logs. David says, "every good tool has a log to show what was done by an RPA tool. This log is essential for an eventual audit."
How do RPA and IA differ in the processes that they can automate?
There are many benefits to RPA, especially when the differences between intelligent automation (IA) are known and each technologies strength is utilized to complement the other. Many of the top RPA tools have enhanced the ability of the technology, although process improvement could require intelligent automation.
IA is an "automation system that can sense and synthesize vast amounts of information that enable it to automate entire processes and workflows", defined by Vivek Mishra (AVP of Technology and Solutions). IA is a broad term used to describe various technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), NLP, Intelligent OCR, and BPM - RPA vs AI, RPA vs BPM.
RPA vs IA
RPA is the "hands" of the operation, while IA is the "brains" of the operation, based on Erwin De Leeuw's comment. Vivek goes on to explain RPA is best for "automating rules-based activities or just mimicking human action." Tasks like "reading data, entering data, passing data along from one system to another, and extracting data are great for RPA, says Scott Francis, while IA is better suited for "streamlining the processes from end to end", says Mohammad.
Both technologies, RPA and IA, can work together and leverage each other's strengths. IA can optimize processes while RPA can be utilized for more structured and repetitive tasks. Sriram provides great insight by highlighting that "the sophistication of the decision making however depends on the depth of the AI engine itself and the adaptive capacity depends on the functionality of the defined bot." Nonetheless, both IA and RPA working together can automate and optimize your business from both a process and tactical perspective.
I am currently evaluating RPA solutions. What are the total costs involved for attended and unattended robots?
Thanks! I appreciate the help.
What processes can't be automated just yet? What improvements to those limitations can we expect in the next 5-10 years?
Most importantly - what are some things that RPA cannot do?
The top RPA tools in the industry strive to reduce limitations by expanding RPA capabilities and engineer their products to more greatly integrate with complementary products, like AI and ML, but limitations still remain. Although there are some disadvantages, the benefits of RPA certainly outweigh them and can contribute to a positive ROI for RPA when considered and implemented thoughtfully.
We've summarized our members' experiences and insights to surface the most important points. One limitation not mentioned is RPA security, which is not necessarily related to task completion and our members have recommended approaches to mitigate any security risks.
What RPA is not
Before we get into the specific drawbacks of RPA, we should first define what RPA is not in comparison to other related technologies. Defining it in this way clearly shows this technology's limitations and when not to use RPA.
Our members have looked at RPA vs AI and they have also looked at RPA vs BPM, and clearly stated that RPA is neither. RPA is a more simplified technology meant for repetitive, rules-based activities and not the "automation of entire processes or workflows, which learn and adapt as they go", says Vivek Mishra, AVP of Technology & Solutions at Cygnet.
RPA Drawbacks and Limitations
- Process improvement or cognitive capabilities. "RPA is not a cognitive computing solution", says Reddy Subramanyam, who works at a Tech Services Company. Instead, it's "best suited for rules-based vs judgement-based processes", as Gaston Mbonglou sees it. To workaround this limitation, Nilesh Pawar, a Principal Solution Architect, recommends using "smart AI and ML integrations that understand exceptions and can provide recommendations."
- RPA requires structured data. Michael Grant, an Account Executive, says that "RPA requires structured data but 80% of enterprise data is buried in unstructured documents: emails, letters of credit, invoices, passports, sanction lists, etc." Catherine Berten-Gutch adds to those limitations to include "voice and callback processes and processes that require human subjectivity." Although unstructured data is an issue for bots, other tools can be used to structure the data before using RPA bots.
- Reading and interpreting image or graphic data. Anurag Vishnoi, Head of RPA at Nokia, shared an experience where it wasn't possible to "read a network topology or some machine drawing."
- Handwritten documents. One of our members, Dedan Kanyuira, says that handwritten documents present a challenge but it "is slowly being addressed and hopefully in the next few years we will see more intelligent 'handwritten notes' recognition."
How has (or will) robotic process automation revolutionized the banking industry?
What processes are already being put to good use? What's in the pipeline?
Jan 11 2021
Many members of our community are looking to understand how to calculate the ROI of an RPA deployment. Is it based on cost reduction, revenue impact, compliance, experience enhancement for employees and/or customers, or something else?
What's the best way to measure the success of RPA?
Here's what we've found:
Evaluating top RPA tools, our members shared their insights into the cost benefit analysis and success measurements they believe are worthwhile to anyone evaluating using RPA for their business. Undoubtedly, there are many benefits of RPA, ROI and cost savings being the main factors. We've summarized our members points on how to calculate ROI and success.
Shrippad Mhaddalkar provides a itemizes potential elements needed to calculate ROI, which includes items such as effort saved, improvement of the output quality, gain in productivity, etc.
Return (i.e. savings)
- Automation. Automation is intended to complete a task with a bot rather than an employee. Using the amount of hours the automation will save the employee and applying their hourly wage will give you the savings of that employee not doing that task. There are some limitations of RPA in what tasks it can accomplish, but careful task evaluation should align the task with the capabilities of bots. Additionally, RPA and AI can be used together to accomplish tasks and improve processes for a very automated business system.
- Quality. Since bots conduct tasks very effectively and minimize errors, your business can see savings if quality is improved. Use cost per error and errors per hour as means for coming up with quality savings.
- Productivity. This refers to the number of employee hours that are replaced by a bot can be aligned with other relevant business activities.
- RPA software cost
- Implementation cost
- Annual maintenance
- Training for experts
A Program Manager at Yokogawa, an Industrial Automation firm, adds that there are also qualitative returns as well - customer satisfaction, data quality, and increase in task volume completion.
How to measure RPA success?
Gabriel Bold talks about measuring success by measuring the "benefits you are looking for", which one could infer more quantitatively matches the metrics that were used in calculating your savings and investment (as shown above). For example, if you think you should see efficiency or productivity gains, you should measure those areas to ensure the RPA implementation and processes are yielding the benefits you're expecting.
Sabrina Mahmood mentions measuring success at a much higher level - cost savings and efficiency savings.
Apr 05 2021
When evaluating Robotic Process Automation, what aspect do you think is the most important to look for?
Let the community know what you think. Share your opinions now!
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- When evaluating Robotic Process Automation, what aspect do you think is the most important to look for?
- How should I calculate ROI for RPA? How should I measure RPA success?
- What are the limitations of RPA?
- What are the total costs involved for attended and unattended robots?
- Where have you seen RPA benefits within the Insurance Industry?
- What is the difference between RPA and intelligent automation (IA)?
- What are some RPA security risks to be aware of?
- What are benefits of RPA in the marketing and sales space?
- What are the potential uses for RPA bots in the financial industry?
- Which lesser known RPA vendor has the best chance at unseating today's market leaders?