RPA (robotic process automation) tools are great solutions for automating boring, expensive and repetitive workflows. Built to follow a pattern of user interactions, an RPA can free up valuable human resources by allowing software to carry out tedious tasks related to business processes or software testing. In essence, RPA gives an organization the capability to build a virtual workforce that can run around-the-clock, continuously performing tasks without needing to take a coffee break.
Integrating an RPA into a company’s existing set of tools begins by identifying workflows that involve significant amounts of human effort to carry out multiple, repeatable tasks. Whether it’s data entry, report generation or QA testing, these processes should be easily replicated through repetitive sequences. Once the workflow is identified, the RPA tool can be used to build a sequence that allows for the automated completion of the task.
Take the example of customer relationship management (CRM) software. Relied upon throughout the world by businesses and other large organizations, a comprehensive CRM makes it possible to keep track of customer information and interactions. Traditionally, CRM tools have relied on manual data entry that is prone to human error. When linked to a database, an RPA can streamline the data entry process by logging information into the CRM on a user’s behalf, accurately placing information in the correct fields and solving for common human mistakes like typos.
RPA tools can be integrated into any application workflow that follows a pattern that’s able to be re-created. In the arena of software testing, for example, RPA tools can be deployed to execute a series of user interactions to fully vet an application before its release. Even if the application is brand new, the RPA can ensure it’s completely functional while bypassing the steps where human software testers would traditionally carry out the tedious task of checking every possible workflow.
It’s worth noting that an RPA is only as powerful as your applications. If there is a slow, cumbersome piece of proprietary software within a particular workflow, the RPA can still be programmed to follow any number of given tasks, but it won’t be able to speed up the application itself. But the process, of course, can still be run without human interaction.
For organizations seeking to incorporate RPA capabilities, any workflow that’s repeatable across any number of applications can be ready for disruption. As soon as a tedious task requiring the same sequence of monotonous clicks is automated with a robot that’s happy to do the job, companies often wonder how they ever lived without incorporating RPA.