RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation and it represents a new approach to business automation that helps minimize the technical hurdles required for implementing new workflows.
Traditional business process automations rely on application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow systems to exchange data. This approach has two main drawbacks:
The application vendor must make those APIs available
A programmer needs to write custom code to interface with them
If your software vendor does not provide an interface for consuming the data you need to automate, then you’re out of luck. And even if they do, the development costs can eliminate the ROI if the transaction volume isn’t large enough.
RPA tools avoid the API problem by interfacing directly with the application user interface just like a human would do. They use artificial intelligence and machine learning to “watch” the operator perform a task within the application then creates its own program (called a “bot”) to mimic it. This means that:
Bots can do anything a human can do within the application
Users can create a bot without writing code
Practically speaking, an experienced robotic process automation consultant with programming experience is required to roll out an RPA solution enterprise-wide, and most users will only be able to automate small, routine tasks without assistance. Business-critical, high-volume automations will still involve coding. But RPA dramatically reduces the implementation time and avoids the need to retrofit APIs for software applications that were not designed to support them.
OCR Data Capture is one of the most common business processes to automate with RPA. Taking data stored in paper or electronic documents and getting it entered into various applications is very labor intensive, and often requires cross-referencing various other systems and applying business rules to determine where the data needs to go. RPA platforms provide all the tools you need to interface with these systems and implement complex business rules that could once only be accomplished by a human or a monumental software development effort. And by using a variety of OCR data capture tools, the data entry component can be integrated into the workflow as well.
There are several options available for performing data capture as part of an RPA workflow. Traditional data capture solutions like ABBYY FlexiCapture can be integrated directly into bot workflows on the UiPath or Blue Prism platforms. There are also machine learning and AI-based modules that can learn to capture data by observing data entry operations. The best choice depends on your existing software infrastructure and the nature of your documents. Let our OCR and RPA consultants help you choose the best data capture platform for your project.
How much do Robotic Process Automation systems cost?
RPA tools like UiPath have community editions that allow anyone to start learning and developing bots for free.
In production, the license is typically priced “per bot” on a subscription basis. So each process you automate costs a fixed amount per year.
The total cost of an RPA solution includes several items:
Cost of the RPA software
Costs for additional software modules consumed such as OCR, typically priced per page
Time to install and configure the software
Time to build OCR templates and workflows
Data exports must be defined and integrated with back-end systems
User and administrator training
Labor required to verify the recognition results
IT infrastructure and maintenance costs
Thought he implementations can be complex and expensive, the ROI for robotic process automation is very high, especially once it starts to be used throughout an organization rather than a single project.
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