The Robots Arrived Over a Decade Ago
RPA is used by 400 of the Fortune 500. Many finance organizations have released RPA capabilities within their organization, providing a tremendous learning experience and visibility into hard dollar business benefits. Leading RPA Vendors are now well-established, offering proven solutions. UI Path began operations in 2005, and now boasts almost 3000 employees. Automation Anywhere launched in 2003 and has 2400 employees. Blueprism went public, while Edgeverve is a well-funded subsidiary of Infosys.
What is a “Bot”?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to the use of process automation software to create “software robots” that replace repetitive, mundane, and rules-based work. RPA allows employees to focus on more valuable tasks. RPA plays a key role in our Fourth Industrial Revolution – or “Industry 4.0” where digital technologies such as AI, IoT, and RPA are blending and connecting systems at such a pace that human “definition of work” is changing:
- Bots can assume several roles, frequently performing manual work which requires work between legacy systems and repetitive tasks
- Robots can scale – they are software, so you can create and clone “digital workers”
RPA has been a major advancement for Business Process Outsourcing and vendors proving outsourced Finance and Accounting services.
SaaS stands for “Software as a Service”. SaaS software products such as these are cloud-based and typically hosted by the vendor, eliminating any need for corporate IT installation. Typically, there’s no need for software customization, and any upgrades or improvements to the software are automatically released by the vendor to all customers.
RPA vendors continue to adopt “Citizen Development” attributes – which means the software product can be configured by your Finance personnel for your company’s accounting policies, processing rules, and assignment of user privileges. The most complex areas of effort are data extraction and API’s, which pose few challenges for today’s corporate IT functions.