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What is RPA? How Does it Work? What Are the Best RPA Tools of 2020?





Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is capable of performing routine tasks that are typically performed by human workers. This cutting-edge technology can be applied across multiple business units, sectors, and industries. It is equally efficacious in IT, HR, and Finance, with widespread applications across the spectrum. Any business unit, department, or division that finds itself bogged down in mundane tasks will invariably benefit from implementing dynamic RPA systems as part of an integrated framework of operations. RPA technology does not need to supplant existing legacy systems; it can be used as an adjunct for smoother and more efficient functionality.


RPA Technology is Growing at a Steady Clip


According to Gartner, RPA remains one of the fastest-growing software segments in the world. RPA technology performs according to a strict rules-based framework; it automates tasks which are reliant on digital data. This encompasses a broad range of activities including cutting/pasting, creating records, updating records, completing forms, creating reports, invoicing functions, customer support, and other transactional tasks of a high-volume nature. RPA bots (robots) utilize software scripts for automating other software. This smart technology effectively copies the actions that are performed by humans (clicks and keyboard strokes) and completes tasks much quicker than a human.





As a user-friendly, full service system, RPA technology is powerful enough to manage all aspects of employee onboarding and employee offboarding. There is tremendous demand for RPA technology nowadays, thanks to its automated functionality. By dint of the fact that RPA provides a clear trajectory towards digital transformation, many companies are adopting these software systems. It is expensive, disruptive, and time-consuming to eliminate legacy systems. To this end, RPA technology fulfils an important purpose. It neither requires nor demands the replacement of legacy systems; it can easily support them and it can be combined with a high-end technology such as OCR (optical character recognition) and NLG (natural language generation) to great effect.


RPA technology falls under the umbrella of BPA (Business Process Automation), which is the all-encompassing term for technology that requires a minimal amount of human participation and relies largely on technology for executing workflows. However, RPA technology is unique in the sense that specific skills are needed for automation tasks. For example, engineers and technical experts may craft code for use in the underlying computing infrastructure. By contrast, robotic process automation systems usually copy the users’ actions while they are performing tasks in the GUI (graphical user interface). Once those actions have been copied, they are simply repeated without any human participation required.


How Does RPA Technology Really Work?


RPA technology is as transformative for back-office operations as industrial robotics are for the factory floor. These rules-based systems automatically mimic employee actions. This includes copying/pasting, inputting data, managing data, opening files, et cetera. The quintessential unit of automation for RPA technology is the ‘bot’. Many powerful systems currently exist, with complimentary bots available to companies on a trial basis. Among others, these bots comprise programming interfaces, including code-free methods of programming RPA bots to perform routine human actions. Other integrations include screen scraping, compliance with legacy systems, desktop applications and web applications too. RPA technology can allow for different levels of user access, with powerful analytics capabilities in the offing.


There are many different types of RPA systems currently available, including bots which are designed for targeted functions, bots with cognitive abilities, and RPA bots with various levels of programming options. These bots can be used in an integrated sense with a variety of enterprise tools for reading/writing to databases, and connecting to system APIs. Other options include transferring files and folders, logging into apps, merging, extracting, inputting, and copying data, and even performing calculations. Compared to traditional process automation, RPA has the lowest levels of disruption and the highest speed and predictability of execution.


What Are the Top RPA Tools for 2020?


The rapid advancement of RPA technology has resulted in a virtual tidal wave of RPA tools being brought to market. Robotic process automation has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with Forrester predicting that the market will grow to $12 billion by 2023. Statista, the leading stats portal, forecasts that the RPA market will reach $3 billion by 2022, and Gartner studies show that RPA revenues grew to $846 million in 2018, a substantial uptick for the year. There are many top RPA tools available on the market, including Kryon RPA technology which has been shown to generate 80% faster adoption, with 0% human error, and up to 70% increases in employee efficiency. This RPA technology is already being used by a variety of top tier companies including Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Verizon, TATA and Allianz. The cloud-based RPA platform is fully integrated to allow for maximum scaling at enterprise level.


Other popular RPA tools include Microsoft Power Automate, NICE, and KOFAX. All of these RPA tools are designed for automating routine activities in SMEs. Back-end systems benefit immeasurably from this advanced technology. Deloitte expects 72% of businesses to begin their transition towards the implementation of RPA technology this year. The company has found that 53% of organisations have already initiated RPA programs, with many of them generating a return on investment within 12 months. The same study found that 78% of companies with RPA technology programs in place will increase their investment in such technology in 2020 and beyond. Looking ahead, it is clear that greater RPA spend will be taking place through 2021. From a rather humble figure of $250 million in 2016, this figure will reach $2.9 billion by 2021. In terms of efficiency, RPA will allow businesses to be fully equipped with digital assistants to decrease the burden on human workers and improve organizational efficiency.