What Is Robotic Process Automation and How Can It Benefit Employees?

Imagine a service desk specialist who has lots of manual data entry responsibilities. In enterprise businesses, this isn’t an efficient use of their time. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software enables that person to reclaim that time. RPA emulates an end-user’s actions, interacting with a system, utilising user interfaces, capturing data and undertaking tasks - just like a human would.

robotic process automation

Gartner predicts that by 2022, over 90% of companies will have adopted some form of RPA as it’s a key driver of digital empowerment. So in terms of productivity, process optimisation and employee experience, what’s the true value of RPA?

How Does RPA Technology Work?

RPA interprets data, triggers responses and communicates with other enterprise systems, such as the software stack your IT service management (ITSM) specialists use. When implemented, RPA software mimics end-user actions. It can:

  • Move files.
  • Copy and paste data.
  • Fill out forms. 
  • Scrape browsers.
  • Extract semi-structured and structured data from targeted documents. 

RPA software integrates with your existing IT ecosystem in different ways. For example, a software may connect to databases and enterprise web services in the back-end of applications. Ultimately, the way your RPA connects to your IT depends on the software you use and your business needs. 

“This technology has the potential to revolutionise customer service and back-office functions alike,” said ISG partner Andreas Lueth. “The decision to deploy RPA should be treated as a strategic business initiative, with defined objectives and measures.” So this software can reclaim time for employees usually working on manual responsibilities and have a deeper impact on employee experience across the board. 

Admin or repetitive tasks take time and resources - especially if the data involved is input incorrectly. RPA takes over those tasks, running automatically, 24 hours a day. Utilising RPA means your employees can focus more on the work that matters. 

What Differentiates RPA From Other Automation Tools?

Intelligence. That's the differentiator. RPA software is capable of deciding whether a process should occur. When given logic parameters, RPA analyses and commits to certain actions depending on the circumstances.

It’s also versatile enough for businesses of any size to implement it. For instance, there are two common types of RPA available:

  • Intelligent bots: Using AI capabilities, intelligent RPA bots analyse historical and current data to learn how to automate human users’ tasks. The bot can then complete the process itself.
  • Programmable bots: These are defined by sets of rules and parameters which need to be decided and implemented before any work can begin. 

For businesses looking to automate without drastically changing their underlying IT infrastructure, RPA tools are the best option as they’re non-invasive and leverage your existing IT ecosystem. This is great for your employees who don’t have to get used to new IT systems and for your bottom line as there are no new costly implementations.

The Benefits of RPA for ITSM

When using new technology, you want something to enhance your employees’ working environment - alongside the obvious strategic goals such as improved efficiency or reduced ticketing costs. RPA takes a lot off our plate, helping us to work better.

“The key driver for RPA projects is their ability to improve process quality, speed and productivity, each of which is increasingly important as organisations try to meet the demands of cost reduction during COVID-19,” stated Fabrizio Biscotti, Research Vice President at Gartner. “Enterprises can quickly make headway on their digital optimisation initiatives by investing in RPA software, and the trend isn’t going away anytime soon.”

So what are the benefits?

No Need for New IT

RPA integrates into your existing IT infrastructure, connecting to front-end interfaces and using the same tools employees use. This means your IT landscape doesn’t have to change for you to experience the benefits.

Reduced Errors

Humans make mistakes. It’s a common and ever-present state - and nothing to be worried about. However, if there’s the option to reduce errors, there’s no harm in taking it. 

Long, repetitive tasks, such as manual data entry, are tiresome and not exactly compelling. This means staff have a larger chance of making a mistake - an issue RPA will never encounter. Through RPA, work is more accurate, timely and consistent across the board. It also means you don't have to to spend time and money fixing mistakes.

Automated Work

Repetitive administrative processes take up valuable time and effort that could be spent elsewhere, doing something more critical, more engaging and altogether more meaningful. It’s the high-value work that really elevates businesses and RPA unlocks more time for your employees to focus on it.

To summarise, think of RPA like a virtual workforce, always working consistently and reducing the taxing nature of long, repetitive tasks. It gets the same work done at a fraction of the cost of an employee.

RPA is a popular service within automation that in turn enriches our working lives by allowing us to focus on the work and the moments that matter. To explore more on the links between automation and a better employee experience, download our guide.

Our Guide to Automation and Employee Experience

In our line of work, we see the benefits of automation every day, but the most compelling is the positive impact it has on the employee experience. When processes are automated, employees can rely on infallible IT and see their decision-making and work supported by data. 

In IT service management, capabilities like these are crucial for maintaining a productive and proactive digital environment - an environment that benefits your employees to no end. To see what we mean and explore automation in more depth, click this link.