Robotic process automation (RPA) software utilizes bots to automate routine tasks within software applications normally performed by a company’s employees. These products are used to save time and eliminate the need for human employees to conduct time-consuming, repetitive, and tedious tasks.
To develop these automations, RPA solutions provide development environments for building workflows that the agents then follow. These development environments are usually codeless, drag-and-drop systems, so they are accessible enough that non-developers can build necessary processes. As an alternative method of building workflows manually, many tools also provide the ability to record actions performed by a human within a software tool that can be translated into workflows within the RPA product. The virtual agents perform actions following these workflows both with and without human supervision or intervention.
It is common for RPA solutions to contain some form of cognitive or artificial intelligence, usually computer vision for training the bot agents in virtual environments or general machine learning to improve bot decision-making. Additionally, products within the RPA category often contain analytics features and a central platform for maintaining and controlling all the bots deployed across a company. RPA software can be implemented in any facet of an organization where manual processes are in place, but are most commonly used in finance and operations, sales, and supply chain departments.
To qualify as a Robotic Process Automation tool, a product must: