• This Product Can Make Your Staff Twice as Productive


Work is filled with endless mundane repetitive tasks. Just ask the average office worker. Whether they're logging into a website to download a frequently updated file, or filling out paperwork, these tasks chew up a lot of their time but little of their talent. Wouldn't it be great to automate those things, leaving them free to do the parts of their jobs that added real value?

Technical staff could help out here by scripting some of those tasks, but it's a time consuming venture with little return for those in IT. Writing a Python or PowerShell script to log into a website is no mean feat. Then, when you've deployed it, you'll have to fix it when the website changes.

Robotic process automation saves the day

That's where robotic process automation (RBA) comes in. It's a technology that captures these tasks as they happen using graphical user interfaces. They let users automate their own tasks directly. Think of them as bots, or macros on steroids.

Employees typically register what they're doing by using a recorder button. This triggers a function that records what programs they open, which buttons they click, and what data they enter. Some of these products also support features like central password vaults, so that they can securely access user passwords for websites and programs when necessary.

RPA tools frequently turn these recorded steps into a series of editable tasks that you can reuse and share between different departments or users.

These products serve both business managers and IT departments. Helpdesks can use them to automate key tasks such as finding files on the system. Sadly, users might still need to follow the 'have you tried turning it off and on again' steps manually.

On the business side, RPA goes beyond freeing up individual users from handling the same repetitive tasks. If you automate different tasks and chain them together, you can begin making entire end-to-end processes like accounts payable or supplier onboarding more efficient. This is a more advanced, next-level approach to RPA that you can fold into other projects, including business process management (BPM).

As your RPA becomes more mature, you can introduce more sophisticated technologies including artificial intelligence. Many of these tools now include AI-backed tools like optical character recognition, computer vision, and natural language processing, enabling them to handle unstructured data in documents. This enables you to automate more tasks. An employee might use it to extract the relevant information from a scanned customer letter and insert it into a CRM system, for example.

RPA is useful because you can introduce it without having to change your back-end systems. Rewriting your server applications to make tasks more efficient takes considerable time and effort, which translates into greater cost. RPA is an alternative approach that can squeeze more life out of your legacy systems before you make the big jump and refactor them or purchase new ones.

Done right, this fast-evolving technology will help make your employees more productive, and perhaps even take some of the heat off your IT department too.

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