According to Gartner, “The Robotic Process Automation software market will grow by 41% year over year to 2020”. The big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are investing heavily in machine learning and RPA. Thus, for the last couple of years, robotic process automation has been deployed extensively across many industries such as retail, utilities, finance, government etc. Despite this growth, RPA is still shrouded with many myths around its potential and working. But before busting these myths, let’s first understand-
What is Robotic Process Automation?
In simple terms, RPA is a software robot with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, aimed at automating high-volume and repeatable business processes. It is one of the best cutting-edge technology that saves time and resources by automating routine and rule-based tasks just as humans would. Still, having doubts about RPA?
Here are some myths surrounding RPA that we need to end them for all.
1. RPA Means Humanoid Robot
One of the strongest myths out there that still persists is that- RPA is just physical. Upon hearing the term “robots” or “robotic”, we often tend to imagine a metal humanoid structure with mechanical body parts. This isn’t surprising, considering the imagination brought to us by Hollywood and Bollywood movies, where robots walk and talk just like humans taking over the world. But that’s merely their imagination.
The term robotic process automation not only includes “robotic” but also “process”. RPA refers to a software robot or code that streamlines business processes and performs manual tasks without human intervention. RPA automates processes that are highly structured, repetitive, often labour-intensive. For example, complete business invoice processing can be automated from searching for invoice email from supplier to calculating tax and getting it printed.
2. RPA is Expensive
The cost of implementing RPA software undoubtedly comes with a high price. This makes it reluctant for companies to adopt RPA and weary of costs. However, what companies generally miss out while just worrying about the initial cost, is the ROI associated with it.
As RPA automates complex and high-volume business processes, it results in high internal cost reductions and increased ROI. Moreover, bots work 24/7, thereby increasing your business capacity. Thus, considering the long term benefits and returns, RPA has the ability to recover the investment cost within the first few months or years depending upon the company size.
3. RPA Can Cause Unemployment
Another common misconception about RPA is that it will take over all the jobs, specifically frontline ones. This is both true and untrue. Whenever a new technology comes in, humans tend to perceive it as a threat to themselves. However, RPA is actually meant to reduce human efforts and complement them.
RPA automates boring and repetitive tasks, thereby reducing workload from employees. This enables them to fully utilize their “core skills” and improve their efficiency. Many business processes that involve rule-based tasks such as data entry, customer support, invoice processing etc. are now being automated with RPA. Thus, as far as the concern of losing jobs is considered, RPA will only replace employees who require less/no intelligence to complete their jobs. Furthermore, job opportunities will certainly evolve due to new and emerging technological roles.
4. Programming Knowledge Required for Using RPA
Considering RPA a tech-based solution to automate business processes, many people think it’s a complex interface which requires coding and programming. RPA does require programming skills but only for the developers who build the back-end of the system.
RPA is as user-friendly as other business software and applications. Your team members only need to get trained on how the software works on the front-end and how to troubleshoot in case of any problem. The RPA interface follows drag and drops feature to link steps in a process. Thus, code is automatically generated at the back-end when a user drags and drops any new task in a process. It is however beneficial for a company to have employees with knowledge in “scripting language” for critical RPA modules.
5. RPA Does Not Require Human Involvement At All
We often misunderstand the actual meaning of RPA and its scope of working. RPA does involve automation but it’s not a completely automated system. Human involvement is necessary in order to insert automation tasks, program bots and manage them accordingly. Various tasks are automated and performed by RPA as programmed but still, sometimes humans have to finish it off with a final touch. Automation with RPA has other benefits like efficiency in business operations, time management and high accuracy in performing tasks.
Robotic Process Automation has been the most hyped-up business technology in recent years. Though it is surrounded by a lot of myths, there’s no doubt in its rapid adoption due to its scalability, accuracy and faster deployment. It is a technological advancement that has received criticism due to lack of knowledge and fear of automation. Thus, companies can only benefit from RPA, if they understand what this technology can and can’t do.