Automation is the way of the future with 68 percent of global employees believing that automation will help them be more productive at work. But figuring out how to add automation to workflows can be a challenge for many organizations. Robotic process automation (RPA) software uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to learn and improve manual processes to reduce the workloads of human employees.
Choosing RPA software for your business
What is RPA Software?
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a type of software that allows companies to automate business processes and allow employees to focus on higher value tasks. Using the software, organizations can build and implement software “robots” that mimic human actions. These robots can identify and process information on a screen, extract data, and perform the right actions to navigate through systems.
RPA software has many applications and can automate tasks as simple as processing online transactions and as complicated as performing routine security audits. By automating repetitive processes, organizations can lower their operating costs and turn their attention to improving business operations.
What are the Benefits of RPA?
RPA software offers companies a variety of benefits, including better productivity, employee engagement, and accuracy.
With RPA, employees don’t have to perform the repetitive tasks that can monopolize their day. This leaves them with more time to focus on high-value work, and it offers them the opportunity to innovate their processes. This not only leads to higher productivity in their day-to-day work, but it can also allow them to improve productivity for the company as a whole. And that productivity isn’t just limited to individual contributors. Even 20 percent of a CEO’s workload could be automated with RPA.
Faster digital transformations
RPA software also enables businesses to speed up their digital transformations. The software robots can perform automated tasks faster and more accurately than humans, and they don’t need breaks. This means that automation can run in the background or overnight while employees spend their in-office time performing more complicated activities. According to a survey by McKinsey, 83 percent of decision-makers in IT say that automation is a critical part of digital transformation.
Higher employee engagement
When employees don’t have to spend their days performing repetitive tasks, they’re more likely to be engaged with their work. Automating the duller work gives employees the ability to focus on more interesting and rewarding work, leaving them with a larger sense of accomplishment. A recent Forrester study found that 57% of companies saw higher employee engagement with RPA software. Improving employee engagement reduces turnover and keeps businesses running smoothly.
Machines tend to produce fewer errors than human employees, even while working faster. By giving repetitive work to RPA software, organizations don’t have to worry about their employees “zoning out” during boring but important work and accidentally inputting the wrong information. Instead, RPA handles these mundane processes and ensures the necessary accuracy. In fact, the same study by Forrester also found that 57 percent of organizations say that RPA reduces manual errors in their work.
The following vendors provide some of the best RPA tools on the market, based on the features they offer and their user reviews.
UiPath offers an RPA platform that uses AI to automatically scan a business’s processes and determine the best ones to automate. The solution also includes a submission hub where employees can submit requests for processes they’d like to have automated. It includes options for no-code, low-code, and full-code, enabling users of any expertise to apply automation to their department. UiPath also offers a Task Capture feature, so businesses can automatically document their processes and ensure every employee is performing them the same way. It also includes both attended and unattended automation, giving companies control when they need it and a hands-off approach when they don’t.
- Wide range of tools for employees of all skill levels
- Robust support and training tools
- Scalable and customizable policies
- Large process files can sometimes crash the system
- Updates can sometimes be confusing and require a lot of configuration
Automation Anywhere offers the Automation 360 platform, a cloud-native RPA system that automates tasks in both software-as-a-service (SaaS) and legacy applications. It analyzes a company’s processes and highlights the ones that would see the highest ROI from automation, allowing the organization to prioritize its transformation efforts. Automation 360 offers end-to-end automation, meaning that front-end and back-end processes no longer have to be treated separately. Instead, businesses can improve satisfaction in both their customers and employees with streamlined workflows, fewer errors, and faster response times.
- User interface is intuitive and effective
- Offers the ability to schedule the update process
- The tool is customizable and allows automation of almost any task
- Large number of features can lead to a steep learning curve
- Some modules are not very flexible
Blue Prism is a low-code automation platform that allows employees of all skill levels to add automation to their workflows. It includes a drag-and-drop process automation builder, making it easy to customize tasks and add automation where you need it. The platform’s digital workforce includes AI capabilities and can mimic and learn business processes similar to humans. The console gives organizations a real-time look at process proficiencies and allows them to scale digital worker volume as needed. Blue Prism offers automation for on-premises, cloud, hybrid, and multi-cloud deployments.
- Any user can easily design automation or use the processes included in the platform
- Work queue management and scaling is solid
- Good security and compliance capabilities
- The interface design seems slightly outdated
- Google Chrome integration appears to have some common issues
WorkFusion is a cloud-based RPA platform that examines an organization’s processes to determine which ones are best suited for automation. The company boasts that using their platform, businesses can implement the system and start seeing value within 12 weeks. WorkFusion includes pre-built packages that quickly automate the most time-consuming processes that businesses in each industry face. The bots come pre-trained, reducing the number of errors right out of the box and lessening IT’s workload. The platform also includes advanced analytics to provide insights into how automation is affecting your most important key performance indicators (KPIs).
- ML bots are well-configured and produce quality outputs
- Users can quickly and easily create new processes
- Professional services staff is helpful and supportive
- The error messages are not always clear, which makes problems difficult to solve
- There seems to be some room for improvement regarding the stability of the platform
The NICE RPA platform installs software robots onto back-end servers to take over the repetitive administrative processes many employees deal with every day. NICE’s bots work collaboratively with human employees right on their desktop, making it easy for the employee to intervene if a task does require human input. However, the system also includes bots that don’t require human intervention, so they can work during the business’s off-hours. Additionally, the platform integrates with many of the leading AI capabilities, including Optical Character Recognition (OCR), chatbots, and machine learning to extend automation even further.
- Comparatively cheaper than many of its competitors
- Easily captures data and provides easy access to information about executed processes
- Simple to monitor, deploy, and schedule bots
- OCR features are weaker compared to similar tools
- Implementation can be difficult for citizen developers
AssistEdge RPA by EdgeVerve Systems provides end-to-end automation with contextual intelligence and OCR capabilities. It provides predictive alerts on bot performance and service level agreement (SLA) failures, allowing companies to stay ahead of any issues. The business intelligence dashboards include information on both historical performance and forecasting with actionable insights. It also includes enterprise-grade security and access features, including GDPR compliance and integrations with CyberArk’s Credential Vault. AssistEdge has over 120 implementations, including the combination of RPA with email bots and chatbots.
- Easily scales across different departments and functions
- The technology is very dynamic and EdgeVerve provides periodic improvements
- Account management team is very responsive and accommodating
- Implementation requires more human input than many competitors
- There is less support for advanced technologies like OCR
Kofax is a no-code RPA platform designed to automate multi-step, labor-intensive tasks across a variety of data sources and systems. The end-to-end automation capabilities include AI, allowing the bots to interpret data and act upon it. These AI capabilities also help reduce the number of errors during data entry and document processing. Kofax’s platform is flexible and scalable, providing organizations with the option to automate entire workflows or just certain parts depending on their needs. By integrating the RPA system with a business process management (BPM) or case management platform, companies can improve their existing technology investments and see higher ROIs.
- No-code features allow teams to automate tasks without advanced knowledge
- Highly flexible and easy to use
- Broad range of capabilities support projects of any size and scope
- User interface needs some improvement
- Pricing packages can be slightly complicated depending on the necessary features