At least that’s the impression you might get from all of the conversations around robotic process automation (RPA) so commonly heard these days by software vendors and analyst firms.
But the robots are already here, and have been for quite a while. Considering that RPA started with screen scraping 15 years ago, what explains the recent surge of interest? We’ve been using RPA-type technologies for years; we just never called them RPA. Our latest advancements, in fact, might well be thought of as RPA 3.0.
More importantly, what are the current uses of RPA and why should you care? What else do the conversations tend to get wrong?
An RPA by Any Other Name…
While robotic automation inevitably stirs concerns around human job loss, the use of RPA can actually lead to job promotions, especially when RPA is effectively combined with enterprise content management (ECM).
We see the purpose of ECM as replacing paperwork, manual data entry and the inevitable human error that can make a mess of your data downstream (garbage in, garbage out).
RPA is a component of ECM and goes by different names under the solution heading “advanced document capture”: image enhancement, barcode reading, OCR, ICR, exception processing, line-item extraction, database look-ups, and intelligent document recognition (IDR) are all functions of RPA.
Eliminate the Gruntwork
ECM using RPA technology automates the soul-crushing drudgery that too many employees have to endure, empowering them to slip their paper shackles, be more creative, add more value to your organization, and reach their potential as knowledge workers instead of manual office laborers.
When jobs are more satisfying and engaging, there’s less employee turnover and reduced need for hiring – no small benefit in a difficult job market. We’ve even heard of cases where not only were accounting clerks not replaced after AP invoicing was fully automated, they were promoted to customer service and other departments needing help.
RPA from PSIGEN
PSIGEN has long been committed to automating document and data capture to reduce manual data entry and the inevitable mistakes that come with it. We are pioneers in the development of everything that goes into advanced document capture, with the addition of a form of RPA we call the Accelerated Classification Engine (ACE) of PSIcapture.
An ACE in the Hole
In the old days, templates had to be built manually to automatically extract information from paper and PDFs, especially invoices. Before they could be used, they had to be manually separated and processed in batches by document type. Software engines were slow and a lot of human intervention a.k.a. “exception handling” was required.
No one had the time for this. Only large corporations could afford the small fortune you had to pay for early generations of advanced capture and take advantage of this technology.
Today, PSIcapture with ACE will process whatever you throw at it – no manual template building or document separation required. Within months you’ll recoup your investment, with an ongoing ROI that will make your CFO very happy.
Because RPA can only do what you teach it, ACE uses additional technologies like machine learning (ML) to learn over time, requiring less and less human intervention and processing documents faster and faster.
Workflow Automation Eliminates Even More Busywork
Once documents and data have been captured, workflow automation in document management software like PSIsafe uses RPA to streamline manually intensive processes, including your monthly financial close, purchase requisitions, employee onboarding and offboarding, and more. Workflow automation also has a payback period of months and an ROI, making your CFO even happier.
Put RPA from advanced capture and workflow automation together, and watch as productivity multiplies.
RPA, AI & ML: What’s the Difference?
How do you make more sense of this alphabet soup? One way is to join our very own Chris Brown at AIIM 2019. On March 27, he will help translate the terminology and the possibilities as part of the roundtable discussion, RPA and AI and Blockchain, Oh My! What You Need to Know about Emerging Technologies. If you can’t make it, contact us to learn more about RPA and how it can empower your employees.