Last updateThu, 17 Sep 2020 8pm

RPA in the fact check

Alexander Steiner, Chief Solution Architect of meta:proc GmbH, explains the most common myths surrounding software automation:
"Process management and everything that goes with it is currently undergoing a real renaissance. For too long, decision makers and executors clung to tried and tested processes - new methods that have undergone optimisation were rarely revealed.

The reason given by some was the supposed incompatibility of new technologies with existing processes and experience with solutions already implemented in the backend. However, as traditional solutions have now almost exhausted their potential in many places and continuous development is looking for new ways, this attitude is currently changing. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with its various further developments in the direction of holistic automation opens up a comprehensive new orientation for process management, in order to allow individual processes or complete procedures to run independently and thus save a lot of time and money. In view of these advantages, it is not surprising that the trend is currently finding its way into many German companies. But every hype about technological progress is always followed by a good portion of half-knowledge. The following article is intended to dispel these myths, which persist in people's minds".
Myth 1: Saving and nothing else
"It goes without saying that RPA is quite capable of significantly reducing a company's costs. However, as is often assumed, the benefits do not end there: by relieving employees of unloved standard tasks, the general working atmosphere improves. Human error sources can be minimised within these processes in the future, which leads to increased quality in this area. Moreover, if processes, once correctly set, always run in the same way - adapted to guidelines or legislation - this will facilitate compliance and avoid possible sanctions. Last but not least, this simplified processing and the faster, qualitatively better service increases customer satisfaction".
Myth 2: Just not too complex
"But software automation is not limited to one-dimensional processes. It is true that processes that follow clearly defined rules can be automated most easily with RPA, and usually also consistently. The standard tasks mentioned above can also be much more complex and, in exceptional cases, may even involve different procedures. The implementation effort is certainly less in the case of a standardised, narrowly defined process, but this generally applies to the expected results. However, the potential of software bots is even more evident when it comes to complex requirements - especially when individual bots are networked with each other through an orchestration layer, or can even be linked to other automation environments of the company in this way. Therefore, RPA is not just an extension of the classic macros, but a solution that acts autonomously but can be embedded in an overall context. The latter, on the other hand, need constant new impulses outside their short code sequences".
Myth 3: RPA replaces employees
“Intelligent automation as a job killer can be described as the most persistent of all myths. In this respect, however, both decision-makers who want the implementation of job cuts and employees who fear for their jobs are wrong. In truth, RPA does not take work away from people, it assists employees. It thus simplifies the prevailing conditions and ultimately increases the quality and quantity of the results. Employees can be freed from time-consuming routine tasks and thus gain more capacity for creative and demanding tasks. This allows them to focus specifically on their core competencies, which in turn benefits the company. "
Myth 4: IT department is not needed
“Indeed, advanced RPA solutions make it possible for the employees in the specialist departments to automate their processes themselves and for the technology sections to be less involved than in previous implementations. Centrally operating IT departments still have to manage these automations centrally and approve them with a view to the entire company structure - this is the only way to guarantee the high quality of the optimized processes and their efficient use. Modern RPA solutions therefore require the involvement of IT not only during installation and regular maintenance work. In order to enable the already mentioned convergence of different automations in the company, the cooperation between IT and the specialist area is proving to be necessary in the medium and long term. It ensures that the individual islands grow together to form a single solution. In addition, the configuration of robots still mostly requires both programming knowledge and skills in the area of ​​controlling. "
Myth 5: Completely flawless
“Even apart from RPA, there is a misconception that intelligent bots are infallible. In truth, software robots only turn out to be as smart as their programmers and, like employees, have to work with the quality of the data supplied. They do what someone has previously taught them. If faulty processes or data creep into the automation, RPA also implements them. In extreme cases, this faux pas increases a thousandfold. This risk can be eliminated by meticulously checking the respective processes. Once Robotic Process Automation runs error-free and decision-makers and users have got rid of all myths, illusions and half-truths, the company can benefit from the many advantages and significantly improve its processes in the long term. "


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