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Robotic Process Automation

A Quick Introduction and How it Complements Low-Code Application Platforms

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the hottest enterprise technologies today. What is it all about? This article will provide a simple introduction to RPA, and explain how it complements low-code application platforms.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a form of business process automation which deploys “robots” or software agents that mimic how users interact with computers. These robots are programmed or configured to manipulate a user interface (UI) instead of humans. Modern RPA platforms include artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks and transactions. For example, an RPA robot can log into an application, enter data, perform some calculations, complete some tasks and then log out.

How is RPA Different from Macros or Scripting?

At this point, you might be thinking that this sounds familiar. Aren’t these similar to old-school macros (for example like those used in Microsoft Excel), scripting, screen scraping or desktop recording? In a sense, yes, but you could think of RPA robots as next-generation macros that are extended for enterprise use. For example:

  1. RPA platforms can manage, monitor and audit robots on an enterprise-wide scale, as opposed to old desktop-based approaches that only work on single machines.
  2. RPA robots can execute autonomously and interact with multiple applications at a time, instead of being bound within a specific application.
  3. RPA robots can incorporate AI and machine learning to adapt and even handle exceptions.

More information on differences can be found at https://www.uipath.com/blog/whats-the-difference-between-robots-and-macros and

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-robotics-process-automation-rpa-different-graham-ferguson/

Why Use RPA and How it Complements Low-Code Application Platforms

There are many benefits when implementing an RPA platform, for example, it:

  • Allows existing processes to be completed more rapidly and efficiently
  • Creates cost savings for manual and repetitive tasks
  • Reduces errors and ensures more predictable processing times to comply with regulations and standards

In your company’s digital transformation strategy, there will be scenarios where RPA plays a crucial role. However, it is important to understand that RPA is not ideal for all situations, and cannot replace human resources completely. RPA works best for repeatable processes, especially in cases where it is too difficult or too costly to migrate from legacy software and systems. It is not so much changing existing business processes, but rather making them more efficient through automation.

But what happens if, for example, your legacy systems cannot provide enough features or is not stable enough to support your current and future needs? In many cases it is critical to modernize the way the business operates, thus making it necessary to re-platform. Re-platforming means redeveloping software applications on a modern platform as old legacy systems are no longer tenable.

This is where low-code application platforms come in as an ideal complement to RPA. Low-code platforms like Joget provide a way to visually and rapidly build enterprise web apps and re-engineer business processes. So ideally, you would have the best of both worlds, where these new low-code apps work with RPA to integrate with legacy and external systems. The new apps can introduce transformed and more optimized business processes, while integrating with RPA robots to automate existing business processes.

Conclusion

In this article, we introduced Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and its benefits. We also explained how RPA and low-code application platforms complement each other, whereby low-code apps are used to rapidly build new apps for process reengineering while working with RPA to integrate with legacy and external systems.

For a practical tutorial, please read Robotic Process Automation and Low-Code Application Platforms: A Practical Tutorial on Integrating UiPath with Joget

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