RPA and IT Automation Are Making Waves in the Enterprise

By: Esther Shein - Leave a comment


IT automation, sometimes referred to as robotic process automation (RPA), is meant to make our lives work a little easier by automating interactions we just don’t always have time for.

Don’t underestimate the hype surrounding RPA, which is defined as a software development toolkit that nonengineers can use to quickly create software robots to automate rules-driven business processes. Forrester Research predicts the RPA market will reach $2.9 billion by 2021 from a base of $250 million in 2016.

IT Automation Changes Business

In a broader business context, IT automation will affect parts of almost all jobs to some degree, depending on the type of work. RPA is no longer under limited manufacturing activities but also applies to health care, finance and other industries.

In retail, for example, automation can be used to collect or process data, interact with customers and set up merchandise displays. Global banks are using IT intelligent automation to improve regulatory compliance processes by monitoring all employee electronic communications for signs of noncompliance.

Processes that are ideal candidates for RPA typically have repeatable and predictable interactions with IT applications, including those that may require moving between multiple applications. These software robots can perform routine business processes by mimicking the way people interact with applications through a user interface and by following simple rules to make decisions, as opposed to requiring process redesign associated with IT-driven transformation.

A routine business process could be the retrieval of information from one system and entering the same information into another system. When automated, it can save time and reduce costs.

RPA Enhances Human Talent

Sometimes, employees can’t go it alone. IT automation is at its best when it can enhance and augment what humans can do with platforms that utilize cognitive technologies. When artificial intelligence is added to RPA, systems can go beyond routine tasks and make intelligent, autonomous decisions.

Robot-based process performance is designed to be more predictable, consistent and less prone to errors than a human. The goal of software robots is to perform tasks faster than a person can, with greater accuracy, and enable operations to run 24/7 without oversight while improving throughput and reducing cycle times.

RPA is not meant to replace all the work done by humans, nor is it supposed to be the solution for every process. However, industry leaders should expect to see IT automation become a widespread enterprise technology that will free employees from mundane, repeatable tasks and enable them to take on work that adds greater value to the business.

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About The Author

Esther Shein

Freelance Writer

Esther Shein is a freelance writer and editor specializing in technology, business and education. Her work has appeared in several online and print publications, including Inc., Computerworld, NetworkComputing, InformationWeek, BYTE, CIO, CMO.com and The Boston Globe. She has written thought leadership whitepapers, customer case studies and marketing materials in addition to news and feature articles.... Read More