What is 'Robotic Process Automation (RPA)'

Robotic process automation (RPA) refers to software that can be easily programmed to do basic tasks across applications just as human workers do. The software robot can be taught a workflow with multiple steps and applications, such as taking received forms, sending a receipt message, checking the form for completeness, filing the form in a folder and updating a spreadsheet with the name of the form, the date filed, and so on. RPA software is designed to reduce the burden of repetitive, simple tasks on employees.

Breaking Down 'Robotic Process Automation (RPA)'

Robotic process automation is designed to help primarily with office type functions, which requires the ability to do several types of tasks in order. This is in contrast to traditional manufacturing automation that focuses on taking one portion of a workflow or even just one task and creating a robot to specialize in it. Office work often requires the same types of repetition, but it is data being manipulated across platforms and applications so a physical robot is not necessary. Instead a software robot is deployed with the ability to launch and operate other software.

Robotic Process Automation Advantages

Unlike deep learning, the software robots used in robotic process automation are programmed to do the tasks in a particular workflow by the employees with some assistance from programmers. The software doesn’t learn on its own or seek to tweak out new efficiencies or new insights like big data analysis or enterprise resource management (ERM) software. RPA works like a digital assistant for workers by clearing the onerous, simple tasks that eat up part of every office worker’s day. As such, RPA is a simpler product than an artificial intelligence driven system or enterprise software that seeks to bring all data inside the platform. This also makes it a relatively cheaper product than AI or enterprise software. This simplicity and relative cheapness can make RPA a more attractive solution for many companies, particularly if the company has legacy systems and applications. Robotic process automation is designed to play nice with most legacy systems and applications, making it easier to implement compared to other enterprise automation solutions.

Robotic Process Automation and Finance

With increasing compliance and regulatory filing requirements, the finance industry — banks, insurers and investment management companies — has been an early adopter of RPA. Many onerous back office functions such as ensuring an up-to-date Know Your Client (KYC) form is filed or a recent credit check is included on a loan application are ideal for RPA. Removing this burden from employees allows them to focus on high-return tasks. More importantly, the software can clear these basic filing and data manipulation functions faster than humans, reducing the overall processing time.

Of course, RPA is not just limited to finance. Any industry that deals in data and filing can benefit from robotic process automation. When software can reduce costs and increase efficiency without requiring an onerous and complex implementation, it will find an eager market in almost any sector.

  1. Business Software & Services Industry ...

    A business software and services ETF is an exchange-traded fund ...
  2. Automatic Execution

    Automatic execution helps traders implement strategies for entering ...
  3. Customer Relationship Management ...

    Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term for the principles, ...
  4. Assembly Line

    An assembly line is a production process that breaks the manufacture ...
  5. Certified Employee Benefit Specialist

    A Certified Employee Benefit Specialist is a professional who ...
  6. Straight Through Processing - STP

    Straight-through processing is a business process used by companies ...
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

    Collaborative Robots to Change Society

    Much ink has been spilled to describe dystopian robotic futures. But the emergence of collaborative robots may change the contours of that future.
  2. Insights

    Robots Really Do Take Jobs

    New research sheds some light on just how concerned American workers should be about losing their jobs to technology.
  3. Investing

    SoftBank Buys Google's Boston Dynamics

    The move enables Alphabet to trim expenses in "Other Bets" and SoftBank to ramp up its robotics ambitions.
  4. Small Business

    How Technology Is Replacing Workers

    Technology and robotics have advanced so much in the last few decades that human workers are now starting to be replaced in some jobs.
  5. Insights

    Why SoftBank Is Interested in Robotics

    SoftBank is investing heavily in the future of robotics. Here's why.
  6. Trading

    3 Ways to Trade the Rise in Robotics and Automation

    Bullish chart patterns across the robotics and automation segment of the market suggest that now could be an ideal time to buy.
  7. Investing

    There's a Robot Delivery at Your Door

    Idaho and Virginia have passed laws allowing deliveries by robots.
  8. Investing

    Why Robot Stocks Will Rise in the Age of Trump

    Stocks of companies that make robots will likely experience sharp gains in the coming years.
  9. Tech

    Will Robots Be the Core Cause for Reshoring in the United States?

    It is possible that advances in robotics and the increased usage of them will cause an increase in reshoring of jobs in the United States.
  10. Trading

    Active Traders Are Watching for a Pullback in Robotics and AI

    Charts in the robotics and artificial intelligence industries suggest that better entry points for bulls could be a few weeks or months away.
  1. What are some of the better types of financial analysis software?

    Discover what features make for good financial analysis software, some popular options and why analysts need to pick the ... Read Answer >>
  2. What should I look for when choosing a forex trading platform?

    A trading platform is a piece of software that acts as a conduit for information between a trader and a broker. A trading ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the best cash flow management tool?

    Understand the basics of cash flow management and which tools are most useful, both those included in financial software ... Read Answer >>
  4. What is operations management theory?

    Operations management is concerned with controlling the production process and business operations in the most efficient ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center