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.
Using RPA with OCR Data Capture
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 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 significant 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, Blue Prism or Astro RPA platforms.
There are also machine learning and artificial intelligence based modules that can learn to capture data by observing data entry operations. These are generally easier to configure initially but require more user corrections to train the model, and often can’t achieve the accuracy you can get with a system like FlexiCapture that allows you to manually override the templates generated by machine learning.
ABBYY Vantage applies they RPA model of simple, code-free user interface combined with machine learning and custom templates to create reusable “document skills” that can be easily incorporated into new workflows. A marketplace with hundreds of off-the-shelf templates for the most commonly used business documents (tax forms, invoices, purchase orders, receipts, mortgage documents, claims forms, etc.) is available to keep you from reinventing the wheel. Vantage is the closest you can get to drag-and-drop data capture solutions. It can also interact with all major RPA platforms via custom connectors.
Choose ABBYY Vantage if you want to enable IT and knowledge workers throughout a large organization to automate their own document processes ad-hoc, without the need for building customized workflows that inevitably require expensive custom coding. It’s also a good choice when one of their out-of-the-box document “skills” already exists for your documents.
The best RPA OCR solution depends on your existing software infrastructure, skill and availability of knowledge workers, and the nature of your documents. Let our OCR and RPA consultants help you choose the best data capture platform for your project.
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.
Contact Us to get a professional analysis of your project requirements and a complete time and cost estimate.