Robotic Process Automation Benefits & Challenges

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Robotic Process Automation is the technology that allows anyone today to configure computer software, or a “robot” to emulate and integrate the actions of a human interacting within digital systems to execute a business process. It is a computer coded software programmed to perform repetitive rules-based tasks.

RPA has fair share among benefits and challenges. To completely realize the benefits, overcoming the challenges is important. Benefits of RPA include:

  • Real Savings (Improve P&L)
  • Improved Operations (Move to Excellence)
  • Motivated Employees (Leverage talent)

The key challenges include:

  • Employee resistance
  • Process variation
  • Complexity
  • Bot Ownership
  • Strategic Direction.


Types of RPAs

There are two types of RPA Attended & Unattended. Attended bots are used for the tasks that need real-time human-system interaction, augmenting employees’ day to day work & enabling them to do it faster and better and help employees understand and embrace automation.

Unattended automation is used for the tasks that are structured and can be fully mapped, replacing entire roles where possible and to gather, process, analyze and distribute large amounts of data

Both the types can be used individually or together for giving the business a distinctive advantage

The RPA platform core architectures are of two types Script based and Object oriented.

Script Based tools generate a single end to end code for configured workflow including the screen elements and integrations whereas in Object oriented tools "business objects" that interact with the user interfaces to perform the automation are created. An additional effort is required to create the objects but once done they are easier to use.

Industry as seen multiple phases of business process improvement and automation, through the phases and results of use of multiple technologies RPA emerged in 2000s when Blue Prism launched its product and UiPath & Automation anywhere released their automation libraries.

  1. Blue Prism was focused on creating a Digital workforce from the start by enabling an outsourced robot to do and schedule the work. It has a Microsoft Visio like interface to configure the tasks for the bots which can be deployed & controlled by an admin console. Blue Prism now tends to morph into a technology platform to provide access and foundation for intelligent automation - across multiple industries, companies of all sizes and across every geography, calling it “Connected-RPA”. Blue Prism is an Object-orient tool and doesn’t have a recorder and is built on the Microsoft .Net Framework.
  2. UiPath began with building automation libraries & development kits that were used by big companies like IBM, Google and Microsoft. The shift from libraries to product came when UiPath discovered BPO world & tried to solve the repetitive work with their product. Hence, it launched its first Desktop Automation Product specific to RPA market and started building a platform for training and orchestrating software robots. The platform, the UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform has UiPath Robots which are designed in a UiPath Studio and are centrally managed from UiPath Orchestrator. It is based on Microsoft Workflow Foundation (.Net technology).
  3. Automation Anywhere Enterprise earlier known as Tethys Solutions visions to make business process automation as ubiquitous as water. With their product "Automation Anywhere" they focus on supporting all aspects of end to end business processes. It is efficient in creation of business process automation designed by the user. Their core product works like any other RPA tool with a studio to configure workflows and a "Control Center" to deploy and manage the bots. They have another product "IQ bot" which is RPA plus AI and reads unstructured data. Automation Anywhere is also built on Windows .NET framework.

Value of the RPA tools is increasing with more investments flowing in. Hence, in near future we'’ll see Wider Adoption, Added Intelligence, Process Discovery, and Bots as a service.

We’ve created a cheat sheet outlining the key concepts and tools for RPA, click below to download the sheet.



CTO & CO-Founder

July, 2019

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