“Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – Does that sound like engineering to you? What is next to autonomous mobile robots? Manufacturing automation or Robotic Systems Integration?
It could be, if it was a project related to robotic software design — but RPA does not have to do robotics in its traditional sense. It is misleading to call it RPA. David Essex, a freelance journalist and TechTarget editorial strategy calls RPA “software robotics.” He also mentions some of its common uses:
RPA, at its core, is software robots that work in the background to automate routine tasks. This allows human developers, designers and engineers to focus on more creative and impactful work.
Our Software Director Sean Patterson was able to come up with an innovative use case based on his extensive practical experience.
“By using RPA, I was able to create a program which takes every email and sends it through Microsoft Cognitive Text Analysis. It returns a mood score and confidence score. Any emails with a confidence score of 90% or higher and any emails with mixed-to-negative reviews scores (for clients, team members, third-party vendors having trouble with something) would be sent as an alert to our customer engagement team. We could then develop a plan to address the concerns and improve our relationship. I would normally have to contact the person to discuss this, while also doing all of my sentiment analysis.
The cognitive text service could be used again to extract key phrases and then upload the confidence score and sentiment and phrases into an SQL database for further data processing. RPA would allow me to engage customers faster and provide deeper analysis which gives me greater insight into the topics (key phrases), that need to be addressed in my organization moving forward.
RPA does not have to be about robotics in the traditional sense.
Sean’s example shows that one of the core elements of robotic process automation (of many kinds) is business analytics powered by AI, machine learning. The technology behind RPA is complicated, but the concept itself is simple.
RPA has been around for some time. It automates repetitive, time-intensive tasks and workflows. Robotic process automation allows human workers to perform higher-value tasks, which require more creativity and are not possible with robots.
Let’s take a look at six benefits that Sean has highlighted, which show the intrinsic value of RPA solutions.
Harbor Wholesale contacted us to help unify and consolidate their systems and workflows in order to create a software platform for seamless inventory management. Harbor Hub was created, an RPA-powered ordering system and inventory system. It improves the customer and employee experience at convenience stores.
Software robots are able to organize millions of data points for decision-making and daily operations, while store owners focus on creating a customer-friendly experience in their physical locations.
RANDYS Worldwide: streamlined ecommerce
RANDYS Worldwide is America’s largest distributor and supplier of differential gears and axles. RANDYS required an e-commerce platform with a robust back-end database in order to make thousands of their products easily searchable by customers and to allow their 200 employees to catalog their products. They have seven distribution and warehouse facilities.
A platform that integrated WordPress and WooCommerce was created. It implements a scalable filtration system to allow users to shop for a wide range of automotive products via the RANDYS website. Software robots work in the background to ensure that every detail of the order process is taken care of.
RPA refers to software robots that work in the background to automate repetitive tasks. This allows human developers, designers and engineers to be more creative and impactful.
Ben Bridge Jewelers: a simplified sales process and customer experience
Ben Bridge Jewelers is a leader in the high-end jewelry industry thanks to their easily recognized brick-and-mortar location. Their e-commerce experience was not as intuitive or efficient as they needed in order to compete in the increasingly complicated consumer digital retail market.
The Ben Bridge team asked us to partner with them to create an elegant front-end and a technical backend to enhance online sales workflows. We also integrated PayPal and Amazon Checkout. Ben Bridge employees can continue to be the leader in luxury jewelry retail by being empowered while software robots manage data and sensitive payment operations.
The RPA system had key outcomes, including a record 48% year-over-year increase in website traffic over four-years and a 370% rise in online transactions after launch.
What are the future prospects for RPA?
McKinsey Digital has included robotic process automation among their top tech trends, citing the key enablements RPA provides for:
Let’s go back to Sean’s email. This is a great premise to use natural language processing, business insight, and machine learning for creating an autonomous platform for customer emotion analysis. It is scalable and frees people to do more valuable work.
Other RPA solutions are also available. The possibilities are endless. Robotic process automation is a great way to automate routine tasks that software robots can’t do.