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Robotic process automation (RPA) is the use of software with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks that previously required humans to perform.

Blue Prism, the company that is known as the inventor of the term Robotic Process Automation (RPA) was founded in 2001, although the origins of the term “workflow automation” dates back to the 1920s during the industrial era and emergence of manufacturing.

Using RPA, a company can configure software, or a “robot,” to capture and interpret applications for:

  • processing a transaction
  • manipulating data
  • triggering responses
  • communicating with other digital systems

Robotic Process Automation has several use cases for business processes and activities, including but not limited to:

  • Quote-to-cash (or QTC or Q2C)
  • Procure-to-pay
  • Customer onboarding
  • Data migration and entry
  • Data updates
  • Data validation
  • Extracting data from files
  • Periodic report preparation and dissemination
  • Email automation

Robotic Process Automation utilises bots to replicate employee actions such as opening files, inputting data, copy pasting field. The RPA bots interact with different systems via integrations and screen scraping. This allows RPA tools to perform actions like an employee, albeit at a much faster rate.

Integrations are required for robotic process automation to work with your enterprise applications. RPA bots can screen scrape to learn and perform tasks however it is more reliable to have app integration. Screen scraping typically has a higher probability of causing errors, whereas direct app integrations are more reliable.

RPA is easy to learn, as it requires no prior coding knowledge. For beginners, there are a lot of free resources online to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become a Robotic Process Automation expert.

The following are the basic or core components of RPA one needs to learn, regardless of the RPA software vendor being used:

  1. Process recorder
  2. Development platform
  3. Plugin/Extension
  4. Bot runner
  5. Control center

Once RPA learners have mastered the basics, it is recommended to upskill as RPA is a developing, booming industry. We recommend branching out in to cognitive and data tech, machine learning, and natural language processing.

The key things to learn as an RPA beginner are:

  • Understand what Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is
  • Review an RPA demo
  • Understand why RPA is a massive career opportunity
  • Know which RPA tools are most relevant
  • Understand the challenges & risks when implementing RPA
  • Envision a basic RPA implementation plan

We recommend starting to learn RPA with one of the following programs or courses:

  • WorkFusion RPA Express
  • UI Path Community Edition
  • The RPA Academy
  • Udemy:
  • Automation Anywhere
  • Blue Prism Training
  • Open Span Training

Robotic Process Automation software vendors include:

  • Visual Cron
  • UiPath
  • Contextor
  • Pega
  • KOFAX from Lexmark
  • AutomationEdge
  • NICE Systems
  • LINX
  • G1ANT
  • Onvisource
  • Automai
  • Redwood Software
  • OpenConnect
  • Kryon
  • WorkFusion
  • Another Monday
  • Foxtrot
  • Verint
  • Automation Anywhere
  • Jacada
  • Blue Prism

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