What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is computer software configured to operate other software. It provides automation to replace humans performing repetitive tasks. The software (robot) is able to capture and interpret existing applications to process transactions, manipulate data, trigger responses and communicate with other digital systems. RPA enables the automation of a large percentage of business processes without requiring expensive IT integration. Many workflows simply require data to be transferred from one system to another.

Robots typically perform a number of functions (tasks) in completing a business process. Typically a robot will perform one or many of the following:

  • Extract structured data from documents using its own inbuilt OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capabilities, or managing an external OCR application.
  • Monitor mailboxes/open emails and attachments.
  • Follow if/then/else decision rules (building complex decision trees).
  • Fill in forms, save forms to files, lodge forms with agencies (IRD).
  • Connect to system API’s.
  • Make complex calculations.
  • Read and write to databases.
  • Log into web and enterprise applications (RPA operates through the user interface).
  • Copy and paste.
  • Manage workflows.
  • Monitor manual processes and learn how to perform them better (machine learning).
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