The next step in a Digitial Transformation Journey

Gartner has identified the RPA market as the fastest-growing segment of the enterprise software market, with additional repetitive manual administrative work as a result of increasing data being cited by many as a primary cause. There are, however, a growing number of industry voices (both end-users and analysts) who are starting to question the potential applications of RPA and its limitations as per a recent Forbes Technology Council article by Travis Green Director of Cross-Portfolio Strategy at Micro Focus.

In his article Green explores the application for which RPA is very effective and where it’s current limitations lie. He comments within the piece “RPA can be effective at replacing manual labour for repetitive tasks where inputs are predictable …”, this is particularly useful for business users who find themselves performing labour intensive and repetitive work on a daily basis because the software applications they use don’t integrate well with each other. Similar to how macros can be recorded in applications such as Excel and Word, RPA can be thought of as a macro recorder and executer for the entire operating system and all applications installed on it. RPA also includes many of the tools expected of a scripting language having the ability to read and write structured data from files and the ability to make calls to web services.

The limitation of RPA lies within the unpredictability of other tasks within an end-to-end business process, such as unstructured document processing which still requires manual intervention for exceptions. To overcome this barrier and achieve far greater efficiencies, organisations need to consider complementary solutions such as Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) as part of a Digital Transformation Journey. Technology applications such as Machine Learning in combination with RPA enables organisations to process the unpredictable data through a system called ‘Human in the Loop’ which enables it to learn through the natural consequence of processing and through learning from the actions and decisions operators make.

human in the loop

RPA needs to be viewed as part of a wider suite of technology applications within an Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) solution. In doing so organisations can overcome many of the limitations of individual technologies and achieve far greater efficiencies, scalability and growth.

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