Ultimate Guide to Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

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by John Caroline · 6 min read
Ultimate Guide to Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Photo: Depositphotos

While robots have been built to imitate humans, they cannot operate without the help of humans. Here’s a detailed guide about Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a computer system that allows anyone to define a set of instructions for a robot or bot to perform.

The advent of bots and robots has created computer machines that can behave similarly to humans. While this technology has significantly improved over the years, it can not yet perform without human commands. Thus, one of the computer systems that allow users to customize the way their bots and robots function is robotic process automation (RPA). RPA enables the creation of bots that can imitate human-computer interactions to carry out tasks faster and with more volume.

These bots automatically carry out tasks that require human actions, and this, in turn, boosts organizational efficiency. They are the best options for tasks that require a high level of human data processing.

This guide gives you a detailed explanation of robotic process automation (RPA) and all you need to know about the system.

What Is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a process of instructing machines to execute logical tasks repetitively. It is software that operates logically based on actions performed on a computer.

Explicitly, RPA facilitates the building, deploying, and managing of software robots that emulate human actions that interact with digital systems and software.

This software can perform tasks according to well-defined and logical instructions. Hence, it allows anyone to give a defined set of instructions to a robot and be performed by it.

Understanding RPA

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an innovation in the tech space that makes it possible to efficiently manage and control software robots that can imitate human actions. This software technology acts as a team of virtual assistants trained to handle repetitive tasks for you. It follows sets of rules programmed by humans. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to operate, allowing you to visually design the process flow without diving into complex code. Hence, you don’t need a computer science degree to understand it.

Notably, there are tools available that make implementing these software robots accessible to everyone, regardless of technical expertise. And once you start automating tasks, you’ll likely uncover even more opportunities for efficiency gains. While RPAs exist in numerous forms, there are three main types of RPA, which include attended automation, unattended automation, and hybrid RPA.

Attended Automation

This is a type that is readily programmed on the user’s computer and can be called to action anytime needed.

Notably, attended automation is perfect for tasks that pop up unexpectedly or require human judgment. For instance, think of a customer service rep who needs to navigate through multiple screens and perform several steps to help a customer. Instead of doing it all alone, these bots can help cater to the majority of the tasks.

Nonetheless, this type of bot does not take over tasks completely; it works alongside the human, stepping in to handle repetitive tasks or offering guidance when needed to make jobs smoother and more efficient.

Unattended Automation

Unattended automation operates in batches and focuses on background tasks. It runs them silently in the background without the need for human interaction. This type of bot is often used to reduce the work of back-office employees.

Tasks are managed by servers and can be scheduled to run at specific times, 24/7. You might only see the results, like a report listing invoices that couldn’t be processed automatically. You can then review and handle those manually. Control rooms oversee and manage these automated tasks, adjusting schedules and priorities, and intervening if needed.

Hybrid RPA

This encompasses the combined features and services of attended and unattended automation RPAs, thereby catering to the automation of both frontend and backend tasks.

Other forms of RPA include UiPath, Blue Prism, Intelligent automation, NICE RPA, orchestrated automation, and more.

Benefits of RPA

RPA helps businesses improve productivity across a wide range of populations. Data processing, such as data receiving, data collection, data correction, and lots more, has been made easier with the help of RPA. Work in the finance sector has been enhanced with the help of these automated systems. Companies handle returns effortlessly with lower costs and higher speed with RPA.

RPA has helped workers channel their energy more productively by changing their focus to more meaningful and thoughtful tasks.

RPA has also helped reduce data entry errors that can damage processing times and customers’ experience. Other benefits include the following:

  • RPA makes a 63% contribution to accelerated digital transformation.
  • Due to its rapid drive, RPA has brought about a significant improvement to metrics in businesses and the globe at large.
  • These robots help to respond to big demand spikes, hence increasing resilience.
  • According to a survey, RPAs reduce manual errors.
  • RPAs have met or exceeded expectations, resulting in better compliance.
  • Stating the obvious, RPAs have made workers globally more productive.
  • RPAs have brought about an increment in employee engagement, bringing happiness to employees at large.

Applications & Examples

RPA can be applied in different sectors and organizations. Since its inception, it has been implemented in areas such as finance, compliance, legal, customer service, and IT.

Some of its applications include:

  1. Mortgage Applicant Processing and KYC
  2. Investment portfolio management
  3. Policy Renewal and Management
  4. Fraud detection and prevention
  5. Inventory management
  6. Price optimization


Before comparing RPA and AI and how both can work together, there is a need to explain both in clear terms. Though much has been explained about RPA, we will explain both in a lame man’s language because Robotic Process Automation and Artificial intelligence are often twisted, but each will be broken down in this guide.

RPA is not AI, but its combination unwraps new possibilities for enterprises everywhere. With RPA technology, it is possible to insert advanced AI skills into RPA robots.

When RPA systems are given AI skills, the RPA robots can handle process that requires comprehension of documents, screen visualization, and speech comprehension.

Conversely, AI is mostly used for complex decision-making, while RP is used for repetitive automation of time-consuming tasks.

The list of AI possibilities and applications is endless; some industry uses case of AI are:

  • Financial services. RPA automation processes, when combined with AI skills such as data analysis and pattern recognition, help financial institutions achieve higher efficiency and accuracy.
  • Insurance. There are significant benefits in the combination of RPA and AI for operational efficiency and other processes.
  • Retail. Combining these systems (AI and RPA) enhances customers’ Service and experiences.

Final Thoughts

RPA and AI are two of the most successful technologies that have helped organizations and businesses thrive and achieve the goals of customer increment and satisfaction while reducing operation costs.

For proper management and enterprise building, there is a need for a technology that can go beyond the automation of a single process. The RPA must also support you end-to-end.

This is the season to get on board with integrating RPA and AI to maximize the value it can bring to RPA.



What is robotic process automation?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a process of instructing machines to execute logical tasks repetitively. It is software that operates logically based on actions performed on a computer.

How does RPA work?

It operates using a combination of API and UI interactions to perform repeated tasks.

What are the types of RPA?

While RPAs exist in numerous forms, there are three main types of RPA, which include attended automation, unattended automation, and hybrid RPA.

What benefits can RPA provide?

Robotic process automation offers a wide range of benefits to organizations and businesses, some of which are accuracy, compliance, speed, reliability, and employee morale improvement.

How can RPA be applied in real life?

RPA can be applied to business and organization processes for data processing and task manual accomplishment. It applies to data transfer, payroll processing, website scraping, etc.

What are the key differences between RPA and AI?

The key difference between RPA and AI is that RPA focuses on automating routine and manual tasks while AI focuses on cognitive tasks requiring intelligence.

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