Robotic process automation (RPA) automates traditional manual desktop tasks by using software robots.
The software robots interact with computer systems using the existing Graphical User Interface (GUI) that people already use. The robots can effectively see information that is presented on a screen, operate the mouse and type on the keyboard. As it is a software solution there is no physical device / robot involved. As the software robot does not actually cause the mouse to move or the keys to be pressed on the keyboard, it is all virtual. The important point that as far as the applications are concerned the interaction is the same as if a person was performing the activity.
There are big benefits from RPA software robots operating by using the GUI such as:
- The applications do not need to be changed, so the same validation of any input is maintained
- The access is just like a person, the software robot operating on a desktop (Virtual), the security controls are the same
- Software robots are doing what people do, if they encounter an issue, it is easy for a person to replicate the situation and resolve it
Depending on the activity that an RPA software robot is assigned to perform, it could partially automate the task and interact with a person. This scenario is called “attended” mode. Alternatively the software robot could be deployed to automate a complete task such a scenario is called "unattended". With RPA software robots capable of working 24 hours a day, the use of "unattended" robots can potentially deliver the biggest benefit.
Ether Solutions work with clients to identify tasks that are suitable for Robotic Process Automation in order to determine a balanced use of Robot and human activity. Typically implementations start with software robots doing a single task, but given the capability for 24 hour operation 7 days a week, it is common to progress an RPA implementation so that the capacity for the robots to work is more effectively utilised through the assignment of multiple activities for a robot to perform based a set of priorities. This transition allows additional benefits to be achieved from the investment in the RPA software robots.