First off, let me start by saying that we often say "Robotics" or "Automation" rather than RPA. RPA is a specific type of automation that emulates what a human would do in the same situation. If you're looking for more background on these topics, look no further than this post on our blog.
A question we get asked all the time: When should we use RPA?
Of course there are many answers to this question, but let's take a crack at a few good cases:
- When you need to integrate to a legacy system. Sometimes that legacy system is here to stay.? And you need to be able to access its data or functionality as if it were a modern system with a well-supported API.? This is where RPA can come to the rescue by emulating human retrieval of information from that system, and then packaging it as an API or as an RPA Bot that you can leverage as an integration point.
- When you don't control the systems you need to integrate into. Does the government require you to check with one of their websites or databases?? Do you need to fill in web forms on a vendor or customer's web site? Do you need to push information for audit or tax reasons to outside professionals?? These are all great candidates for Robotics.
- When you have a good path to integrate in the near future, but you need integration now, in the present. Often the roadmap for target systems stretches for months and years, but your project budget stretches weeks. And if you had an answer *now* you could accelerate time to value accordingly. If every month you don't have that solution in place costs you $100,000, you have a real cost to assign to "waiting for a real integration".
- When the cost of a traditional integration via code and APIs is expensive, but the implementation via RPA is inexpensive and/or quick. This is a simple ROI calculation.
- When it feels like you're expecting people to behave like robots and to complete very repetitive mundane activities over and over again without making mistakes. You can really improve productivity and morale of your team when you solve for these issues.
- When you need to collect information from several sources and consolidate that information into a target system. Think about collecting background checks on someone and then bringing the results together into one place for a decision. Or collecting information from various sources to create a report for management.
- When you need to take information from a source system and distribute it to as many target systems as needed. Think about examples like generating reports, or taking an onboarding form and using it to publish information to various systems upon which to onboard that employee or customer.
- When you have work that currently isn't being performed at all (or rarely) - because it is manual and time consuming - Automating that work means that it happens because the incremental cost of doing it is minimal. We often see work at clients that simply doesn't get done due to workload issues.
That's just 8 examples of when to use RPA - and there are many more and many variations on the above!