For a while, we have been using functional automation tools like Selenium, Coded UI, QTP, Silk Test, etc., and also different variants of frameworks starting from record and playback, keyword driven, Data drive, to behaviour driven development, and test-driven development. All across these tools and frameworks we are automating the application functionality and managing the expected behaviour by exceptional handling. We should admit that we have achieved a significant amount of success in improving the testing using functional automation.
But these functional automation tools sometimes fail when it comes to third-party integration, tool dependency, process dependency and human interference.
Solution to this could be Process automation using software robots. Let’s get into the details of Robotic Process Automation. To Start with let’s understand RPA as a function. It is automation of the Business Process Management (BPM) which tracks and manages the process on its own.
RPA has made great progress from just an emerging technology to become the buzz word in most business process automation discussions. It does not suffice to merely know what RPA is. Enterprises must know the benefits that RPA has to offer.
- It Improves Accuracy – As these are software robots developed with the most accuracy, there is a very small window for errors
- Scalability and Flexibility – With its framework it offers an unbelievable capability to scale and still be flexible
- Works faster than Humans – As the accomplishment rate of robots is faster than that of humans, it is an added advantage to improve productivity
- Enables cost reduction – As mentioned above if the productivity increases production cost will be reduced
- Enhances customer experience – As robots will manage processes, there will be a faster response to customers, which will improve customer satisfaction.
- Increased Compliance – for the systems that need to adhere the compliance this will be an ideal tool as it automates all the processes.
- Hosting Options: RPA provides you deployment options across cloud, virtual machines, and terminal services
- Virtual & Enterprise Applications Compatibility: RPA utilizes object-based adaptors for presentation layer technologies (e.g. .Net (WinForms, WPF), Browsers (IE, FireFox, Chrome, Flash, Silverlight, applets), Java (AWT, Swing, SWT), Mainframe/green screen emulators, etc.)
- Release Environments: RPA provides staging and production environments for QA and compliance with the customer’s existing release methodology and compliance policies
- Centralized Repository for Version Control, Execution Logs, and Credentials: All RPA robots are published to a central, secured, database repository, which serves as book-of-record for version and rollback management
- UI Security: RPA allows you to lock a client computer while running a robot
- Rapid Development Support: RPA system provides a large library of reusable business components based on object and process hierarchies
- Large Group Deployment: RPA system is capable of automatically deploying robots in groups of dozens or hundreds
- Rules-Based Exception Handling: It supports deployments with rules-based exception handling. This feature is designed to handle exceptions in an intelligent and proactive manner
- Highly Elastic Scalability: RPA system is capable of dynamically up-scaling and down-scaling hundreds of robots in simultaneous operation mode
- Work Queues: RPA system has the ability for deployed robots to pull transaction data into their process flows from work queues populated from users or other robotic processes
An automated process, even with its host of benefits, does have some challenges in implementation.
- Adaption by Employees – New technology adaptation can be challenging for the employees as they might experience a shift in their current responsibilities.
- Right process selection – RPA is ideal for tasks that are repetitive, rules-based, high volume, and do not require human judgment. Thus it is crucial to select the right processes to automate.
- Setting realistic expectations – Many of the enterprises have faced unknown challenges while RPA implementation, thus RPA’s functionality, implementation timeline, and operational results will vary for different companies.
Advance planning bearing in mind all the appropriate considerations will help us in utilizing RPA to its utmost potential. In addition to this, RPA offers organizations opportunities which make the implementation lean and surpass the implementation pains with effective ROI.
According to a report by the advisory firm KPMG, many businesses, across all industries, “are uncertain where and how to begin to transition to robotics and cognitive automation systems.”
A practical implementation of any new tool/software / or process may be accompanied by multiple questions, queries, doubts, and anxieties. Implementing an RPA solution is not an exception to this. In fact, in spite of the being a more promising technology – RPA has gained reputation in the market for being easy to use and delivering effective ROI in less time.