Frequently Asked Questions: Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA

If you’re considering Robotic Process Automation (RPA), also known as a digital workforce, for your organisation, you might have a few questions that need answering before you go ahead with the investment. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about our RPA solutions. If you’re still unsure or have questions, please get in touch to speak to one of our experts.

Q: What can a digital worker do?

A: A digital worker (also known as a bot) can do most of the routine tasks that are carried out by human workers. They access applications by taking over the keyboard and mouse of a computer, similar to the way a human would interact with them. Of course, a digital worker’s cognitive capabilities are lower than a human worker’s and they are therefore better suited to routine, repetitive and rule-based processes.

Q: What are the various cost components to consider when deploying a digital worker?

A: There are three components to consider when deploying a digital worker:

  1. UiPath, the software platform’s license costs;
  2. Infrastructure to run the software: this cost is similar to the cost of giving a human worker a laptop;
  3. Training cost (in other words how much it costs to configure the software): this depends on complexity but is comparable to training a human worker on the very same business process.

In our experience, costs for deploying a digital worker can be recovered within a few months, while benefits like improved customer service and higher accuracy are available immediately.

Q: Do RPA projects typically take long to implement?

A: With UiPath, RPA projects can be deployed in as little as a few days and up to a few weeks. The best approach is to begin by enabling smaller processes or tasks and then growing from there.

Q: How do we monitor and manage digital workers?

A: Management of digital workers is best done through the digital team lead, called the UiPath Orchestrator. Orchestrator has a user-friendly interface which is used to monitor and manage the digital workforce. It has the functionality to schedule tasks, manage configuration, maintain queues, allocate tasks to the digital workers, and so on… basically, everything you would expect a human manager to do.

Q: Are my processes suitable for RPA?

A: Most routine, repetitive processes are suitable for RPA. Evaluate if a process is suitable or not by considering the following:

  • Can the process, especially the exceptions, be documented?
  • How many times a day, week or month does the process run?
  • What effort is needed each time the process runs?
  • What are the benefits of automation: for example, improved accuracy, reliability, response times, better scalability, productivity?

Q: Is much ongoing support needed for my digital workforce?

A: In most cases, ongoing support is negligible.

Digital workers are trained to provide feedback on their work via email or logs. On occasions when an application is unreliable: for example when response times vary or there are inconsistencies in the business processes, human intervention might be needed. In these cases, intervention can be managed by a support team or an individual’s input can be planned into the digital workers’ processes.

Q: What is the difference between AI and RPA?

A: AI and RPA are complementary.

AI is a broader field that deals with how computers interpret and analyse data. It is more analogous to how the human brain thinks. RPA, on the other hand, is automating processes as a sequence of tasks or defined steps similar to spreadsheet macros. For some tasks, such as extracting data from an invoice or scanned document, a digital worker needs capabilities similar to that of a human. At this point, AI would step in to provide the cognitive capabilities needed and would need to be trained over a number of iterations. On the flip side, an AI algorithm needs to fit into a business process to be of value. RPA can provide the surrounding infrastructure such as sourcing data and taking action on the output of the AI algorithm.

Q: What training do my staff need to collaborate with digital workers?

A: The simple answer is No; staff collaborate with digital workers in the same way they collaborate with a human team or team member. Digital workers provide their process updates for example through email or an updated file and receive instructions through the digital team lead a user-friendly web application called UiPath Orchestrator.

Q: How will digital workers complement my human workers?

A: Digital workers will enhance human workers lives by automating routine and repetitive tasks freeing them to focus on more cognitive tasks and in providing greater direct customer experience. Eventually, when all computing applications seamlessly talk to each other, all routine tasks will be automated. In the meantime, there are gaps between applications which need to be filled by humans. Digital workers are typically taking over tasks that humans don’t want to or shouldn’t be doing.

Q: Does the deployment of digital workers require changes to computing applications?

A: No, it doesn’t. One of the biggest benefits of digital workers is that they are non-intrusive and don’t need any application changes. They are very good at linking standalone systems without the need for expensive interfaces.  Digital workers interact with applications just like a human would – by providing keyboard and mouse input and reading the screen. This makes digital workers as versatile as humans and quick to deploy.

Q: Are digital workers scalable?

A: Scaling a digital workforce, either for a single robot or hundreds, takes only a few hours to do. Buy a license, allocate infrastructure, create application access and add to UiPath Orchestrator to enable it to start allocating tasks. Some of the activities such as infrastructure and application access are similar to recruiting a human worker. Beyond that, it is much faster!

Still have questions? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to speak to one of our experts.

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