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Robotic Process Automation(RPA) free eBook


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In this eBook you will learn about what is Robotic Process Automation

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Robotic Process Automation(RPA) free eBook

  1. 1. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation Introduction Robotic Process Automation To Get Started With RPA Abhinav Sabharwal
  2. 2. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation 2 Table of Contents Digital Transformation 3 Corporate Archeology 4 The Fourth Generation OF Work 5 The Impact OF RPA Today 6 What is robotic process automation (RPA)? 7 A Simplified Definition OF RPA 8
  3. 3. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation 3 Robotic process automation—software-based robotics that emulate work that people do—is poised to change the way we work. Using this exciting technology, organizations can digitize and transform an array of business processes and functions. In this book we takes a deep dive into RPA, explaining what it is, what it's not, and what to keep in mind when adopting it in your organization. Here, we shares information that can help a variety of stakeholders—from executives to IT professionals—grasp the key benefits of RPA, as well as best practices that can help their organization succeed at both the process and enterprise levels. We will explore real-world context to the concepts covered in this book by providing examples from global companies that are implementing RPA. Digital Transformation Let's get started by looking at how RPA can fit into the digital transformation of your organization. These days, it's pretty obvious that the World is becoming increasingly digital, or digitized. The largest and most well-known companies today, like Google, Netflix, and Amazon owe much of their success to fully capturing the digital trend. In fact, new startups these days are often digitally centered. On the consumer side of things, think of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, which have taken advantage of digital platforms to disrupt the taxi industry. If you like travel, you've most likely used Airbnb. And are familiar with how their digital platform has disrupted the traditional hotel industries. These digital-native companies are often racing against more traditional firms who are now scrambling to launch digital transformation efforts in order to keep pace. So, it's clear that aside from being another buzz word, the digital concept is absolutely a force that is moving markets and transforming the services we use in significant ways. Please note, there is a significant amount of depth we can go into around the digital concept. But, that's not the prime focus of this book, if you're interested in exploring further levels of detail, you should definitely check out the book titled: Digital Transformation by Abhinav Sabharwal. So, how does RPA fit into this story? Well, digital transformation of businesses is happening everywhere you look and happening at an accelerating pace driven by a perfect storm of increased customer expectations, more capable technology platforms, and heightened competitive dynamics. Like, global competition, wage inflation, and new market entrance. The challenge for many businesses in this environment is that they are a natural product of their history. If they've been around for more than a few hours, chances are good their tangled in legacy systems and processes that often prevent them from being nimble and adaptable. As a result, organizations across the World are looking for ways to adapt and survive. RPA is one way to accomplish this. In the last couple of years many enterprises have begun to tinker with RPA. And a few have matured beyond thinking about and testing RPA, to implementing and expanding use of it across their organization. Whether your company has already put RPA to work, or if this is the first time you're hearing the term, this book will have valuable information for you. Because there's no doubt that RPA will become pervasive in the next three to five years as automation and digitization take hold in the business world. One of the most important things you can do for your organization's future and for your career is to learn the basics of RPA. And beyond that, to firmly understand how to succeed in this exciting, new world of work. But before we get into the details, let's put RPA into context in the bigger digital transformation concept.
  4. 4. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation Corporate Archeology As you'll recall, I described organizations as a natural product of their history. What I mean by that is, as organizations naturally grow, expand, acquire and evolve, they inherit complexity. They do this in order to support the business as it grows, often by implementing systems, software, processes, and teams where necessary. What results is often a spaghetti of systems and processes that consume a great deal of time to maintain and support. What comes to mind are, immense enterprise applications that are often pulling from even older mainframe systems, are altered by modular Bolt-On applications, enhanced by necessary Homegrown plugins and patches, all to support inefficient workflows that have evolved organically over the years. If any of that sounds familiar, rest assured, you’re not alone. This is the scene I've encountered countless times before. As I study a company's current state, I can't help but imagine an enterprise archeologist digging down layer by layer, uncovering historical artifacts and evidence of prior eras as they go. Working with an organization can bare similarities that actually are not so absurd. Depending on the industry and business function, it's not uncommon to come across mainframes, green screens, fax machines, COBOL, and a raft of Homegrown Excel Macros, Access databases, and even Post-it Notes documenting everything from passwords to work procedures. To deal with this excitement, enterprises employ people. Passionate, hard-working people who do what we call swivel chair integration. Manually receiving and transcribing faxes, executing wrote transactional processes, and performing repetitive tasks. But, the fact remains. These tasks have to get done. It's just how businesses run. And in the last two decades, organizations have looked to solutions like shared services and out-sourcing to handle this work effectively and efficiently. Now there's a new disruptive option available. By using a class of automation technologies, including RPA, the routine, mundane, and transactional are all ripe candidates for digital transformation. Enterprises realize there's a huge opportunity to unleash value by conducting this work a different way. In a way sometimes referred to as the fourth generation of work.
  5. 5. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation The Fourth Generation OF Work There's a brief story I want to cover before we get into the details of RPA. It's the story of how technology has historically upended society and work as we know it. As a quick note, this is overall a good news story, but one that's predicated on change. If you want to get right into the meat of the course on RPA, feel free to skip the next two chapters, but if you want some cool stats and stories that make you fun at cocktail parties, stick around personally find this topic fascinating. So, what was work like decades ago? Obviously, if you rewind 100 years, the workplace was quite a bit different than it is today. No computers, no fax machines, no Internet, and no software running every element of an organization. Fast-forward from 100 years ago to 20 years ago, and you'll find computers, and those fax machines we talked about, but only just the beginnings of the Internet, email, and Ethernet connecting everything everywhere. Fast-forward to today, and you find enterprises scrambling to adapt to and adopt cloud hosting, software as a service, and the connection of almost everything. As you can imagine, this environment has been a very challenging one to keep up with. In fact, since the year 2000, 50% of the traditional companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared. Why? Many failed to stay relevant and competitive in the digital economy, and were phased out. You won't remain a successful company if you can't scale and adapt. More companies will likely cease to exist or face increasing competition as we move deeper into the era of digital disruption, or what the World Economic Forum refers to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. So, what are the four revolutions? The First Industrial Revolution was marked by the use of steam engines, which allowed for the mechanization of textile and iron factories. During that time, Europe saw a boom in growth as people migrated away from a rural lifestyle and moved to cities, where the jobs were. The Second Revolution was powered by electricity and supported by a boom in manufacturing and production lines. This led to the specialization of work, as tasks could be split apart and optimized for costs. The Third Industrial Revolution began around the 1980s, and is known as the beginning of the Information Age, in which we shifted from analog technologies to digital ones. That brings us to today. We are now entering the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. This stage of industrial change is predicated on a new range of technologies that are driven by interconnectivity, such as autonomous production, artificial intelligence, analytics, and the exciting world of Internet of Things. More importantly, everything will produce data, and data will mean everything .
  6. 6. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation The Impact OF RPA Today RPA is one of a number of technologies that's central to this fourth industrial revolution. And in the last five years, the concept of RPA has become increasingly popular. RPA digitizes manual tasks and transforms legacy processes meaning that it will have a big role in the transition to a digital era of business. There have been numerous studies about this. No matter where you look, there’s no doubt RPA will have a significant impact on today's enterprises and the jobs within them. For example, HFS Research are reporting that the RPA market will reach $1.2 billion in scale by 2021. While there's no consensus on whether RPA will increase or decrease job numbers, there's certainly been quite a lot of research on the topic. In one study by Forrester Research, it's anticipated that over 500,000 jobs will be replaced or significantly augmented by RPA in 2018 alone. McKinsey & Company predict that automation technologies like RPA will have an economic impact of around $6.7 trillion by 2025. And a widely cited study by Osborne and Frey from Oxford University suggests that 47% of U.S. jobs could be automated by 2030. You'll find optimists and pessimists who differing their job automation predictions. But from my experience, I'm an optimist. Because I've seen how businesses are using these technologies to adapt and grow creating more opportunities for their people to contribute. I've also seen how jobs have evolved and have been redesigned to take advantage of what people are best at, judgment, communication, customer care, and critical thinking. Chances are good if you're reading this book, you may work in a shared services or outsourcing environment. Having come from this industry myself, there's no doubt RPA will have an impact on the workforces around the world. Today, the size of the global outsourcing industry is over $365 billion and it employs over five million people. A significant portion of these jobs may well be automated as businesses turn to tools like RPA to improve efficiency and cut costs. And make no mistake about it, this trend is only just beginning. RPA will be a huge disrupter in the next few years. As I said in the beginning, change will happen and I think it'll be good.
  7. 7. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation 7 What is robotic process automation (RPA)? And now let’s discuss, what you've all been waiting for, what is RPA? Well, lucky for us, the concept's been around long enough and some very good definitions have been developed. I myself have used several definitions but for this course, I've chosen a more comprehensive one to help illustrate several critical points. Here we go! RPA is a configurable software tool that uses business rules and sequences of actions to automatically complete processes in any number of different applications the same way a human would, with the help of people for exception management. If you understood that, then you're set. But there is a lot covered in that definition so let's unpack it a bit and take a closer look at some of the elements. I'll be focusing on the bolded terms as they're the key to this concept. First, configurable software. Configurable software is out-of- the-box software that comes with built-in functionality and doesn't involve writing lines of raw code. Think of Microsoft Excel. You don't write a spreadsheet application every time you need it, you just build macros and models using the existing features that come out-of-the-box. Second, business rules. Business rules are the decision criteria or constraints that determine how a process is to be executed. These are the bread and butter of getting your complex processes done right. For instance, in accounts payable, if the product you ordered is received, then the firm pays for it. The rules are pretty simple. Third, sequences of actions. This consists of a series of steps taken to complete actions across multiple systems. RPA can handle sequences of actions ranging from simple tasks such as creating and updating reports to more complex tasks such as managing work absences or balancing taxes on erroneous invoices. This concept is fundamental to identifying the right processes to automate. I'll cover this topic in more detail in a later chapter. Fourth, automatic means that the completion of tasks is done independently. Once the rules are programmed, the processes are just carried out. Fifth, the definition references operating across different software systems. I'm willing to bet that your organization is running on thousands of systems. In fact, this is the inside joke almost every firm makes to me when I'm supporting them. That's a reality that's not changing anytime soon. Teams interact with and integrate across these systems to get work done. The key is that RPA mostly operates on the front end of applications, similar to the way that people use them. Like I said, there are thousands of these but for illustration, think of mainframe terminals or SAP, Oracle, BlackLine, Internet Explorer, Windows, and so on. Finally, exception management. As capable as RPA is, there will be times when a person needs to step in. Exception management is when employees are tasked with resolving unforeseen events, or contributing their judgment or discretion. Sometimes this is a full intervention in which a person takes over a transaction. Sometimes this is just a small request for input, after which the automation continues on its merry way. Okay, we've spent a lot of time on this definition but it's time well spent. Now let's revisit the whole definition one more time and put all the pieces together. RPA is a configurable software tool that uses business rules and sequences of actions to automatically complete processes in any number of different applications the same way a human would, with the help of people for exception management. In summary, RPA is a versatile form of software automation that allows businesses to relieve teams from many of the repetitive, rule- based actions, and processes that might otherwise exist as pinpoints within the operation. RPA: A class of software that allows you to transact in any IT application or website typically in the same way a human would, to perform complex Rule-based work.
  8. 8. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation A Simplified Definition OF RPA The definition presented in the last chapter was comprehensive, but was also a bit technical. So I'd like to introduce a real world analogy that often helps me to explain RPA to enterprises just getting started. Imagine you've just hired someone new to your team. It’s your role to train them on how to perform their new job. On their first day, you might start by covering the high level mission of the team. For instance, if you run the payroll team, the mission is to pay the staff, and to do so accurately and on time. You might, then, move on to teach your new team member which systems are necessary to perform their job. Next, you'll teach them how to log in to the systems. Over time, you teach them the rules and actions they need to use to complete more complex transactions. Depending on the process, you'll also want to train them on events that happen less often. In this case, like bonus payments or final paychecks for anyone leaving the company, or other more esoteric transactions. Eventually, your new hire will have learned their job, and will be fully self-sufficient. And hopefully they remember how to do each process as you've taught them. But you know that, somehow, everyone starts to deviate from the proper procedure, and we've only discussed one team member. The same set of skills and procedures has to be taught to each new person who joins your team. In comparison, RPA can be a much better solution. The same rules and job procedures can be configured into an automated agent, or digital laborer, as some are calling it. This new digital team member is then able to perform a process faithfully and accurately every time. And if you need to grow the team to handle higher transaction volumes, you simply replicate the configuration, scaling up or down as needed. Think of RPA like a process flowchart or something you might see illustrated in Visio. Just like in work procedures, you have a start, actions, decisions, and a resolution. All the potential outcomes are determined by the programmed rules, so they won't deviate by themselves. So, a less technical definition of RPA is simply this. It's a class of software that allows you to transact in any IT application or website typically in the same way a human would, to perform complex rule-based work.
  9. 9. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation 9 What Is Robotic Desktop Automation? At this point, we've been pretty comprehensive about defining RPA. But you may have noticed, the type of automation we’ve been discussing is described as capable of taking over the tasks people have been doing. What about assisting people, by handling specific tasks in a larger process? Well, this is also commonly referred to as RPA, but there's an interesting twist. For software to react quickly to a person calling it into action, it most often needs to reside on the person's desktop. So as a result, this form of automation is becoming known as robotic desktop automation, or RDA for short. Our definition for RDA is as follows. RDA is configured software that works in real time with a human operator by presenting a predefined set of information coming from different systems to assist the operator with the completion of operator-generated workflows or tasks. If you refer back to your notes, you'll notice the RDA definition shares many similarities with the definition of RPA, but there were a few key differences, so let's double click on them. First, RDA works in real-time with a human operator. So as mentioned, this is a tool that presents functionality to a person who is in the act of performing their job. Second, the definition says RDA delivers a result or service to assist operator-generated workflows. This is the key to this form of automation. A person is an active participant in the initiation of an RDA automation. A person uses their judgment and passes work off to this form of automation, if and when needed. You'll remember from the RPA definition that humans got involved there, too, but it was only when exception management was required. Humans are always involved in the RDA scenario. An example of where you might see RDA used is in a front office or call center environment. We've all called to check on a credit card balance or to book a flight with an airline. RDA are at work making the agents we speak to more efficient by handling rote tasks at the command of the agent, so that they may tend to us and our needs rather than be bogged down with chasing up data or conducting discrete tasks that automation can handle instead. So remember, when you hear people discuss RPA, there is a good chance that they're referring to both RPA and RDA. This distinction is useful to keep in mind. Unless you're a stickler for absolute nomenclature accuracy, the RPA term gets the job done, but it's worthwhile to know the difference Respect the mechanisms that have kept the business running this long and don't forget to loop in the black belts, data scientists, and project managers who have been on the front lines of change across your organization for decades.
  10. 10. Introduction To Robotic Process Automation 10 Like what’s In This Book Buy It on Amazon If you like what’s in this book please buy it on amazon paperback is $7 and kindle version is $ 3. Click on the link below. full book has more pages and more content