The Next Acronym You Need to Learn About: RPA

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is another component of Artificial Intelligence technology, which is helping small businesses worldwide gain a competitive foothold in the free markets. Aside from other A.I. processes like Semantics technology and machine learning—which can help businesses extract valuable information from all the sources available on the world wide web (from consumer blogs, professional websites, social media sites, virtual libraries and more) and determine as well as predict fluctuations in user/consumer demographics—RPA specifically refers to the application of algorithms and various software to be employed for repetitive and routine tasks that are often performed by humans, and as such its greatest strength is that it can perform tasks non-stop which would normally be hard for human worker to do (considering factors such as mental/physical fatigue, stress and boredom especially when handling repetitive tasks). This can provide businesses with the opportunity to reallocate their labour, and use them for more creative tasks.

Like other A.I. applications, RPA works at a high processing speed that allows for almost instantaneous filtering of knowledge based on the analysis and recognition of human behaviour and thus customer needs. It’s speed and accuracy, one of its greatest advantages, help provide an immediate response for business solutions or new needed strategies which were previously undiscovered; in fact much like machine learning, it is able to train itself by recognizing patterns in behaviour and acts as an A.I. assistant with a Visual user interface, audio controls and voice recognition, can be operated remotely, and is integrated with a presentation and response system. It is different however from cognitive intelligence, because RPA deals with less complicated repetitive and physical tasks that do not need understanding or knowledge except what the robotic interface is programmed to do. By implementing robotic process automation it is estimated that businesses can expect a Return on Investment of 30 to 200% in the first year. RPA was used in its earlier formats by the banking industry to manage loads of data and process financial transactions via the first Automatic Teller Machines of the 1960s, and was/is used for implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for businesses. These are some of the reasons why businesses should be using RPA!

ERP in this respect could be considered an earlier prototype of processes like Knowledge Management and data mining, now integrated with A.I. applications like semantics technology and cognitive intelligence. More than a decade ago ERP software systems could reorganize the structure of the organization and promote inter-departmental collaboration across all company levels, including between employees and managers, and encourage a cross-disciplinary approach as well as promote the sharing of ideas and innovative business strategies/solutions. Today we have the Cloud/IT/AI industry partnership, with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Cloud computing providers that have transformed the role of ERP software programs/applications and the ERP Software as a Service (SaaS) providers. The Cloud is already the ‘next’ big boom, as all resources and systems are eventually migrated to the online Cloud servers and AI Virtual Reality enters our homes and lives.

The dangers of implementing AI solutions such as RPA are obvious, as Stephen Hawking stated over the years, but so are the benefits as long as we can control AI and prevent machines from becoming ‘smarter’ than humans, monitor its operations to provide benefits that are useful to small business and humanity as a whole, for helping small businesses thrive and gain a competitive edge or even a boost/jump-start when entering the markets, for cutting costs, and reducing bureaucracy while allowing employees to diversify and gain expertise or acquire new skills in other areas that may benefit the organization as well as present new ideas.  So, get out there and see what RPA is all about!