3 Expert Tips for Selecting the Right RPA Product for Your Business
By Yichuan Hu, co-founder and CTO at Laiye
Robotic process automation (RPA) can be a game-changing technology for organizations when done right. RPA tools have been deployed in various industries to automate business processes, expanding from rule-based, simple task automation to complex process automation that requires artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.
Here are three tips for selecting the right RPA product to continue to deliver value for your organization.
1. UI automation is foundational for RPA
Do your research and understand the features and capabilities of the different RPA tools. Tools vary between vendors, and the technology is continually evolving and can meet various technical and business requirements.
For example, automation via user interface (UI) integration, or UI automation, is identified by Gartner as the most fundamental and critical use case for RPA. Since its inception, RPA tools have been known for non-intrusive UI automation, which can automate business processes by bridging cross-system data without modifying existing systems. Although most RPA products provide UI automation capability, the key thing differentiating them is the underlying workflow engine.
Currently, many RPA products are developed based on a workflow engine called Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation, which has risks and limitations.
Firstly, Microsoft has made a limited investment in Windows Workflow Foundation. It has not been updated since August 2012, and so it is still unclear how the technology will develop in the future.
Secondly, Windows Workflow Foundation only supports the Windows system. RPA products developed on the Windows Workflow Foundation cannot be used on other operating systems. This may hamper the organization’s future RPA scalability and agility in responding to changing business needs.
2. Citizen developers are key to RPA scaling
Citizen developers — or non-technical users — can create RPA robots that automate repetitive work for themselves or their departments without the help of IT. Enterprises need to evaluate RPA vendors on their ability to empower citizen developers, which helps achieve large-scale implementation of RPA.
Some vendors also provide community editions of their RPA software to encourage a vast external pool of developers and community members. This can become an extra developer talent pool for organizations to leverage. These vendors continually cultivate new talents by offering courses with several universities and holding competitions for RPA developers.
According to Gartner, a high-quality RPA product can significantly lower the threshold for bot development and usage and accelerate citizen automation. Gartner also pointed out that creating headless bots is crucial to realize the large-scale implementation of RPA.
Laiye’s AI-powered RPA provides various means to create headless bots, including SDK, APIs, command libraries, and plug-ins. These can be easily integrated and reused — whether it is an end-to-end automation process or an automated task that is used repetitively.
Specifically, SDK equips third-party software with process automation capability. APIs allow third-party systems to manage and schedule RPA bots and plug-ins support multiple programming languages like C++, C#, Java, and Python, greatly enhancing the bots’ ability to serve as a connector.
3. AI is critical to expanding the boundary of RPA
While RPA automates repetitive and mundane rules-based tasks, AI can gather and learn from insights and pass that on in a structured format for RPA. When combined, RPA and AI technologies can enable even greater intelligent automation.
In some business cases, traditional rule-based RPA bots can no longer meet all the requirements. AI capability becomes a critical element in building an intelligent automation solution.
Gartner identifies augmenting knowledge workers and automating document processing as two use cases combining AI and RPA. Since two of the five use cases recognized by Gartner are AI-related, organizations cannot underestimate the importance of AI capability for RPA products.
RPA bots also need to recognize and understand images with the help of computer vision technology, understand texts through natural language processing technology, and realize human-machine interaction with conversational AI capability. Combining these AI technologies to achieve end-to-end automation through human-machine interaction is a successful approach. This solution can be seen in use cases such as an employee desktop assistant.
In its “Critical Capabilities for Robotic Process Automation 2021” report, Gartner selects Laiye as the leader in all five common use cases.
“Laiye offers an integrated intelligent automation platform with a range of capabilities including document processing, chatbot, AI model creation, and process discovery,” said Gartner.
Just as the industrial revolution significantly automated manufacturing processes, RPA will eventually automate organizations’ operations and decision-making processes.
The future is already here.
Want to know more?
Contact our friendly team to discover how much time and effort Laiye can save your company. Also, explore the ways your firm can use the freed-up time to increase sales and improve profitability by checking out our success stories.