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Introductory Note

Over the last decade, Business world has changed fast.


People started working while they are on the move.
Cloud and Mobile computing has enabled companies to scale faster and reach larger audience.

Ironically, office productivity has not improved considerably.


A study by Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, reveals since 1980 productivity has increased by
75% at factories, on the contrary it is up by only 3%in offices.

What Impacts Productivity?

People spend less time on value-adding activities due to the failure in automating lightweight
data handling and processing tasks.

They continue to:


• Use forms to fill in information.

• Create spreadsheets to collect, analyze, report data.

• Fetch data from one system and feed it to other.

Automation to Rescue

How to ensure people are doing right things?

Automation comes to the rescue of the organizations.

Automation aims at changing your workplace as dramatically as machines of industrial


revolution changed the factory floor.

According to a research, in the western economy, automation could:


• Save around $2 trillion in wages
• Impact over 130 million jobs

Automation Requisites
Organizations want to achieve high operating efficiency and support growth through
automation.
At the same time, they want to:
• Avoid/defer high investments for large transformation programs.
• Derive more value from already outsourced operations.
• Reduce operating costs.
• Support products, processes without investing in costly new technology.
How to achieve these requisites?
Process Automation is the optimal solution.

What is Process Automation?


• Automation of processes that require less or no human intervention.
• Textiles industry pioneered this some two centuries back. Usage of machines for tasks
such as weaving, stitching, and spinning cotton, was the beginning.
• In Modern business, Information Technology (IT) is the chief enabler of automation.

Process Automation Methods


Traditional Methods:

• Enterprise Resource Planning: Integrated management of core business processes such


as product planning, sales and inventory management and so on.
• Business Process Management: Software application to support process improvement
life cycle, which facilitates integration between enterprise applications.
While these traditional methods have its limitations, process automation can be achieved using
two genres of tools:
• Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
• Intelligent Automation (IA)
In this course, you will read more about basics of RPA.
Statistics
Process Automation is considered more impactful compared to cloud computing and analytical
software.
According to recent research by McKinsey:
• Around 60% of occupations could have their 30% constituent activities automated.
What does that imply?

• A worker spending approximately 45 hours per week is spending ~ 54 hours per month
on activities that need not be done.
• Automation not only impacts low-level jobs but it also helps to reduce 20% of a CEO's
work.

Know It !!!
RPA is not a physical robot, it is a computer program that
acts as a software robot.

RPA Defined

According to The Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA), RPA is

An application of technology that permits employees in an organization to


configure computer software, or a ‘robot’, to capture and interpret existing applications
for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with
other digital systems.

Highlights
RPA is lightweight IT
• Accesses and addresses underlying applications through the presentation layer without
disturbing the core business logic or data of the underlying applications .

• Commercially available software that supports processes.


• Needs less IT involvement to get it up and running.
Identify Processes

Processes that can be automated using RPA must be:


• Repetitive: Same set of actions performed repeatedly.

• Template driven: Data entered in specific fields in the same manner.

• Rules based: Data processed by a set of rules.

Process Examples
• Periodic reporting, data entry, and analysis
• Mass email generation, archiving and extracting
• Conversion of data formats and graphics
• ERP transactions
• Process lists and file storage

Know It !!!
The RPA Market is expected to reach $2.9 billion by 2021.

Approaches in RPA

Assisted Automation:
• Runs on user’s desktop to support the manual activities of a user.

• Series of automated steps triggered by users across multiple applications that leverage
robots on desktops.
• Enables reduction in the task handling times (Example: call center).

Unassisted Automation:
• Processes performed by robots on its own (fully automated).

• No user intervention involved except for scheduling and managing the robot workload.

• Enables processing of structured information with clearly defined rules.

Evolving Trends

There are two more approaches evolving in addition to Assisted and Unassisted automation.

Autonomous Automation:
• A robot controls, schedules, and manages the workload of other robots.

Cognitive Automation:
• Nextgen RPA, where the robots have evolved to think and act.

• Robots perform complex tasks by applying natural language processing and has decision
making capability.

How RPA Works?


• RPA is built on top of the existing systems/applications.
• Need for creating, replacing or developing expensive platforms is minimized.
• RPA accesses the underlying applications through presentation layer.
• RPA performs structured tasks as done by humans previously (through the UI using a
login ID and password).
• Programming logic of the underlying systems need not be modified.
• RPA tools do not store any data.

Poppy the Robot


Poppy the robot was used in automating the process of generating and presenting London
Premium Advice Notes (LPANs) to any central insurance market repository.
Before Poppy was introduced:
• A batch of 500 LPANs was processed for more than a day.
After Poppy was trained to process:
• Processing time was decreased to around 30 minutes (with a negligible error rate).
Incredible results!!! Isn't it?
In the next cards, you will learn about RPA tools that help in creating robots like Poppy.

Tools Defined

RPA tools include:


• Developer Tools

• Robot Controller

• Software Robots

Developer Tools

• Developer tools are used to define jobs.

• They focus on ease of use.

Users without any coding knowledge can easily use the tool.
• These tools are hosted on the desktop.

• They provide detailed instructions to robots. A layered design is used to visualize


complex processes.

What does a job refer to?

The sequence of step-by-step instructions to be followed for performing the business process
(includes rules or conditional logic).
Layered Design
Layered design is where
• Functionality and logic are separated into different parts that aids reuse.

• The impact of system-level changes is reduced.

The layers include:


• Process: business rules

• Subprocess: reusable business logic

• Object: ways to perform a task

• Component: individual screen interactions

Developer Tools...

They have:
• Drag and drop functionality

• Simple configuration wizards

• Process recorder

A Process recorder captures the sequence of user actions and speeds up the definition of a
process (used in tools like Automation Anywhere and UiPath).

Robot Controller

The robot controller is the key enabler for process automation and is also hosted on the server.

Three key roles are:


• Serves as a master repository of defined jobs.
• Store credentials of various business applications.

• Provide them in an encrypted form to robots when needed.

• Assign appropriate roles and permissions to users.

• Provide users, controls, and workflow to govern the process of:

• Creating, Updating, Testing, Reviewing and Approving jobs

• Deploying jobs to the robot workforce

Robot Controller...

• Supports integration with mail servers, applications, and other systems to manage the
users.
• Assign jobs to single or group of robots.

• Monitor and report on the robot's activities.

• Prioritizes work queue based on the robot's status, capacity,

processes and transactions workload. (Example: Blue Prism helps to target important
transactions first.)

Software robots

• Software robots are also known as Clients or Agents.

• S/w robots reside on a desktop and carry out instructions by interacting directly with
business applications.
• Agents interact with the user interface of a business application by:

• Identifying the elements such as entry fields and buttons, based on their labels in
the underlying application code.
• Even if the fields are relabeled or buttons moved, these Agents are resilient and
responsive.
• They are capable of performing ~600 actions at a stretch. Additional actions could be
custom generated through code.

Software robots...
• Robots are capable of interacting with a wide range of applications.
• Agents could record the details of actions performed and decisions taken, for process
improvement or compliance and auditing reasons.
• On virtualized desktops where the Agents are not exposed to the application code:
• Agents still rely on brittle methods such as pixel-based object location (relative to
the edge of the screen or a position identified using simple image matching).

Workflow Explained
RPA workflow is briefly explained as below.
• Process developers must:
• Specify detailed instructions to the robots for performing an action.
• Publish required data to the robot controller repository.
• The robot controller assigns jobs to the robots and monitors
their activities.
• Robot located in a client environment (virtualized or physical) performs the actions.
• Business users review and resolve any exceptions or escalations.

Usecase Scenarios

Basic operations carried out by software robots:


• Opening emails and attachments

• Logging into web/enterprise applications


• Moving files and folders

• Scraping data from the web

• Connecting to system APIs

• Following 'if/then' decisions and rules (Conditional Decision making)

Usecase Scenarios ...

• Extracting structured data from documents

• Extracting and reformatting data into reports or dashboards

• Collecting social media statistics

• Merging data from multiple places

• Making calculations

• Copy / paste data

• Filling in forms

• Reading and writing to databases

RPA illustrated

Let's discuss an example of Order Creation


• Internal orders received as spreadsheets attached to an email.

• Requests entered into the order system after carefully verifying the data received.

A single person is assigned to handle this task.

Shortfalls:
• The volume of orders is highly variable.
• Long delays between receipt and entry into the system during peak season.

RPA illustrated...

Now the same task is automated using a single robot.


• Robot processed all the requests in the day, just within 3 hours! (irrespective of peak season).

• The business user now resolves any exceptions reported and is redeployed to perform other
tasks.
• Still, the robot has more capacity to perform other tasks.

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Did You Know?


An RPA developer just configures RPA tool, while an IT
developer writes programming code.

RPA vs BPM

• RPA does not replace BPM but complements it.

• RPA and BPM are suited to automate different types of processes.

Differentiators Explained
RPA:

• RPA is all about creating software robots that mimic human behavior in a process
environment.
• Designed for non-programmers to use.
BPM:

• An approach to streamline business processes for maximum efficiency and value


(focuses from end-to-end).
• Is best suited for processes requiring IT expertise (such
as Customer Relationship Management systems).
• Solutions are developed by IT staff with coding expertise.

Difference unplugged!
Consider you are planning to transform a normal car to a self-driving car, here are the
things you must do:
• In the BPM approach

• Make changes to all paved roads

• Install software & hardware changes (so car can move on its own)

• Modify signals/Traffic posts to sense the car and send appropriate signals.

• In the RPA approach

• Robot would operate the normal car just as you.



4 of 7

Choose right!
Consider you have a critical process in your organization.
You would like to ensure that process is as tight, efficient, and self-contained as possible.
Now, when you decide to transform the entire process along with its upstream/downstream
feeds but do not want to rely on a surface-level fix, you must choose BPM.

Did You Know?


An RPA analyst is a process expert who proactively seeks automation opportunities and
typically writes detailed RPA requirements whereas a typical business analyst acts as a liaison
between user needs and IT requirements.

Quick Statistics...
According to Harvard business review article written in Nov-2011 (surveyed 1471 IT
projects that had an average spend of $167m):
Average cost overrun was 27%.
One out of six projects studied was a black swan, with a cost overrun of 200%.
Almost 70% of black swan projects also overran their schedules.
RPA eliminates such project overrun risk and delivers best-fit solutions.
Now, are you looking at the next steps to adapt RPA?
Next set of cards will assist you with the way forward.

RPA Automation Approach


• Start with a proof of concept idea or pilot implementation.
• Assess for automation opportunity.
• Build your business case.
• Determine the optimal operating model.
• Identify your automation partner.
• Plan the automation roadmap.

Assess for Automation


• Identify the processes that are good candidates for automation.
• Complex processes that has customer interaction and are non-standardized must not be
considered.
• Identify the best suitable processes to pilot.
• Plan and engage the process owners in devising the automation mechanism.
• Identify the risks and impacts of automation.
• Buy-in from key stakeholders on the business case.
• IT buy-in is crucial for the project success.
• Demonstrate savings by knowing the actual costs of the business process to be automated.

Build the Business Case


• Establish how automation will support your business needs.
• Lay out the benefits.
• Identify the pain areas that are addressed.
• Derive the metrics to determine whether automation is valuable.
• Plan the strategy for redeploying existing resources (such as employees) post
automation.

Determine the Operating Model


• Identify the operating model that suits your organization.
• Understand the limitations of RPA, its functionality.
• Identify the team to support the solution and carry out responsibilities such as:
• Assessing new processes for automation
• Testing the automated jobs
• Manage and monitor the software robot
Forming a team with the right skill enables to:
• Identify issues that may not be evident until the robots
• execute the process at scale
• subject to the live virtual machine environments.
Identi fy the Partner
• Identify the providers who cater to your business needs in the RPA space.
• Determine the sourcing option (such as contracts, procurement ways)
• Compare the pricing models and identify the best suited.
Plan the Roadmap
• Identify:
• The duration of the pilot project
• Determine the stages after the pilot
• Strategy for scaling up to other processes.
• Ensure impacted stakeholders understand the nuances (what, why, how) of automation.
Orchestration
Pillars of successful RPA implementation:
• Architecture
• Usability
• Integration
• Exception Handling
• Security
• Configuration Features
• Deployment Features
• Vendor Support and Documentation
RPA can be applied in a wide range of industries.
Account closure and opening
• Account audit requests

• Claims processing

• Credit card applications

• Statement reconciliation

HR Management

• Timesheet administration

• On-off boarding procedures

• IT Management:

• Password Resetting

• System Maintenance.

• Benefits administration
• Compliance reporting

Supply Chain

• Order Management

• Items requirements planning systems

• Shipping notifications

• Customer complaints processing


IT Support and Management

• Service desk operations.

• Monitoring of network devices.

• Remote management of IT infrastructures


• Enables faster process throughput in examining and solving queries.

RPA Tools in Market

Some of the leading RPA tools in the market are:


• Automation Anywhere

• Blue Prism
• UiPath

• Pegasystems

• Nice

• WorkFusion

Automation Anywhere
• Current market share leader.
• Digital workforce platform that offers:
• Front (10%) and back office (90%) automation
• Citrix automation
• AA’s easy and seamless interface works over disparate platforms and applications.
• AA’s primary targets are shared services such as procure-to-pay, quote-to-cash, human
resources administration, claims processing, and other such back-office processes.
• AA has the largest trained ecosystem.
• AA is often selected for overall ease, duration, and cost of deployment.

Blue Prism
• An innovator that first saw RPA as distinct from BPM.
• Offers robust, scalable and flexible automation platform that works across enterprise
platforms in a non-intrusive manner.
• It's visual process designers make it simpler to organize, schedule and pipeline
activities for a non-technical user.
• It focuses on secure, scalable, and central management of a virtual workforce of
software robots in regulated industries.
• Offers an end-to-end process view that results in work distribution and queue
management.

UiPath
• Provides rule-based automation in IT processes and business for the enterprise.
• It's products work across enterprise applications and also assists in automating Citrix
based environments, SAP implementations, and BPO activities.
• It provides an open platform suited for complex automation.
• The solution has a strong architecture.
• Robots run on desktops and do not require a separate virtual machine.
• Servers handle management and control tasks.
• UiPath hosts multiple products such as UiPath Studio, UiPath Robots, and UiPath
Orchestrator.

Selection Approach
Every RPA tool has a different design and automation approach.
The approach can be either functional or object-oriented and it determines:
• Effectiveness
• Resilience of the solution
• Speed of implementation

Functional Approach
• Easy to adapt and program.
• End to end process (all elements, integrations, and rules) is coded as a single script.
• Repetitive paths in the process configured quickly using a recorder function.

Object Oriented Approach


• Requires detailed design before implementing the tool.
• Enables reusability and quick recovery.
Example: As you proceed automating processes of the same system, many components
built for the previous process automation can be reused.
• Changes can be done quickly, easily and are less risky.
Example: A new release of SAP triggers a change in just one small script here as against the
change needed in all the related scripts in the functional approach.

Benefits of RPA
RPA enables business transformation through:
• Better accuracy and High-quality Services

• Increased Speed and Agility

• Improved Efficiency and Reduced Costs

• Easy Integration

• Reduced Delivery Risk

• Flexibility and Multitasking (Scalable)

• Reduced IT Workloads