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Is Removing Humans from IT Using Robotic Process Automation Really a Possibility?

robotIn previous articles, we’ve talked a lot about the fact that automation isn’t something that humans should fear, but rather something that they should embrace. That it is something that will not replace humans, but rather make their jobs easier and more efficient. But is there really a possibility that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will one day completely replace people in IT? And if so, is this an opportunity to embrace or something to fight against? Let’s consider it for a moment.

In one respect, allowing Robotic Process Automation to handle tasks that humans were previously in charge of is actually a huge opportunity for business, and for many reasons. First, it can drastically reduce the risk of costly errors. People inherently make mistakes – especially when their jobs involve repetitive manual tasks. One simple error can cause huge ripple effects across the entire organization and even result in lost revenue. Shifting to Robotic Process Automation for these tasks can eliminate this danger.

Replacing human work with automation can also help to improve efficiency. For example, IT Process Automation can take away the need for manual script writing and replace it with complex automated workflows that perform the required tasks faster than any human worker could. Additionally, self-service options eliminate the need for IT personnel to step in and perform routine tasks, such as password resets and system restarts.

So, does this mean that humans are slowly being eliminated from the workforce? Will automated machines – essentially robots – replace people as we move into the next generation of business? Well, yes and no. The fact is, Robotic Process Automation does present a huge opportunity for companies to save money, improve efficiency and output, reduce errors and much more.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re headed toward a nameless, faceless workplace that is filled with computers rather than people. Why? Because, in most cases the tasks that are being automated were meant to be automated. Back when corporations hired people to slave tirelessly, doing the same thing, day in and day out, where no thinking was necessary, there was no alternative. Now, with Robotic Process Automation, there is.

So yes, automation will replace many functions that were previously managed by humans – the functions for which computers and software are better suited. What this means for people is not that they will become a relic of the past, but rather that they will be freed up to focus on more important matters – matters for which human input is necessary.

While Robotic Process Automation will most certainly become a key component of ongoing success, the fact is, businesses will always need human collaboration, communication and innovation and these things cannot be replicated by computer programs and technology. For that reason, we foresee a future where IT Process Automation complements and supports human endeavors, but does not replace them. And from where we stand, that future looks bright for everyone.




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5 Business Processes that are Ideal for Robotic Process Automation

5 Business Processes that are Ideal for Robotic Process AutomationWhile the concept of robotics is gathering speed and capturing the attention of more and more executives across multiple industries, there is still a huge barrier to overcome before it can become fully embraced. Many decision makers still feel that human capital is more valuable than automation, and in many cases, they’re correct. There are, however, a number of processes that not only could but should be handled by robotic process automation (RPA). Here are five such processes, in no particular order.

Processes that already do not require much human intervention. Think about the tasks that are performed, not just in IT, but across your organization on a day to day basis. Those repetitive tasks that do not necessarily require a ton of input from your human workers, such as payroll batching and other accounting functions, are ideal for RPA. Of course, even processes that are decision-heavy can benefit from introducing automation into various steps along the workflow.

Processes that tend to be more prone to human error. Whether you like it or not, people make mistakes. Even those employees who are well trained and possess years of experience can commit an error from time to time, and errors can cause major problems for your business. Look for processes that require a lot of repetitive work, which can often cause the human attention span to waiver. Let RPA handle these tasks and you’ll automatically see a reduction in costly mistakes.

Processes that require multiple systems to work in sync. One of the biggest benefits of Robotic Process Automation is its ability to tie together several systems and work with them, either simultaneously or in various intervals. Rather than have your personnel juggling multiple programs to get simple tasks done, let RPA do it for you and free up your staff to focus on those tasks that do require human input.

Processes that have clear-cut rules. Robots are able to follow well-defined rules, so any workflows that present specific, “If A, then B” rules would be perfect for RPA. IT Process Automation can be capable of handling more complex and less straightforward rules, provided you have a robust, quality product in place.

Processes that require limited exceptions. The purpose of Robotic Process Automation is to reduce the need for human interaction with processes. It’s not intended to increase or even maintain them. For that reason, transactions that would require the program to report on multiple errors and exceptions might not be the best fit for robotic process automation at this time. That is, unless you’ve invested in a more sophisticated product.

Of course, these are merely meant to be used as a general guideline, not set-in-stone rules. You know your business best, and may determine that certain tasks or workflows would still benefit from RPA based on your particular needs. Additionally, as technology continues to improve, so will the capabilities of IT Process Automation, which will further benefit businesses around the world.





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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. IT Process automation (ITPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. IT Process automation (ITPA)Often times when the word “robot” is used, people naturally envision a humanoid figure made of metal and other mechanical components. That’s why it’s easy to understand the inaccurate conclusion that many have drawn about robotic process automation essentially taking the place of human workers. Fortunately, the concept of robotic process automation does not involve manufactured people sitting at desks and working. To the contrary, it’s really just a software product that can interface and interact with applications on behalf of human workers.

Robotic process automation ultimately meant to make jobs easier for people, not replace them completely. Sounds an awful lot like  IT Process automation, right? So, what’s the difference? Let’s take a look.

First, let’s take a more in-depth approach to what RPA is and how it works. RPA gets its name from the “robot” technology that drives it. This technology can be programmed to perform routine, repetitive tasks that were once handled by humans. Let’s say an office worker spends 2-3 hours per day performing manual labor, such as data entry or batching. RPA could be programmed to handle these tasks without the need for human input. Instead of a robot replacing that human worker, it would be more like a robot assisting them. Those extra hours could then be used on other, more important tasks.

While both RPA and ITPA operate under similar concepts, the difference typically lies in how each is used as well as their complexity. Presently, robotic process automation is primarily being used more extensively at an end-user level. For instance, office workers that may not be well-versed in programming and other complex IT tasks can leverage RPA for many of their day to day tasks. This can significantly boost their productivity by allowing them to focus on more critical job functions that cannot be automated.

ITPA is based on the same concept; however, it tends to be leveraged primarily for more complex workflows. For instance, IT Process automation might automate incident management in a way that handles incoming alerts, analyzes, verifies and prioritizes them, notifies the appropriate parties and then, upon the desired action being taken, completes the workflow and closes the ticket. This is a much more complicated process and is usually overseen by experienced IT professionals. Of course, this is just one of many complex scenarios that automation can be used for in the IT department.

Essentially, it can be said that RPA is automation for the end-user while ITPA is more behind-the-scenes automation. Both are designed to improve efficiency, boost productivity and cut costs, but the way they are ultimately used is slightly different. Additionally, both IT Process automation and robotic process automation can be integrated with existing legacy systems to further enhance operations, either on a basic or more sophisticated level.

Which solution is right for you? There’s no simple answer to that question. It would ultimately require a thorough needs analysis to determine what features would be required. From there, you can begin narrowing down your options until you determine the right product for your needs.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate