Common RPA Myths Debunked – Part 2

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Common RPA myths debunked

We're back with Part 2 of our series on common myths in RPA. Be sure to catch Part 1 of the series here.

Myth #4: Robots aren't reusable.

Reusability should be a core principle in any robot development framework. Think about the tasks you or your employees do every day. There are consistent actions repeated hundreds of times across several applications. You log in, hit the same menus, put text in the same fields, get data from one system, put it into another. Imagine if those repeated actions were converted to code and you could reuse it over and over again? A solid RPA developer will build each robot in such a way that those repetitive code components can be reused across any process where those steps occur. Once built, those code components can be used for any client with that business process and application. It’s a consistent, repeatable framework that ensures quality and consistency, while also cutting down on implementation time.

Yet, it's important to note that pre-built robots still require customization. In most cases, customization will require an RPA engineer. Here's why. For robots that depend on highly-configurable applications, all those unique configurations within the application must be incorporated into the robot instructions. As applications are updated or re-configured over time, the robots will require updates as well. Likewise, every company has its own flavor of common processes for their industry or area of business. In these instances, pre-built robots will also need to be customized to reflect your company's specific way of doing things. As with application configurations over time, robots will also require update as your processes evolve. Of course, any reusable components that are impacted by these changes will need to be tested and updated in your code base as well.

Myth #5: Only certain applications can be used in automation.

It’s a common misconception that RPA is meant to be a band-aid over legacy applications and disparate tech stacks. Whether it's an API, an old school mainframe, a website portal, an app deployed on-premises or to a cloud environment, or a mix of any of these scenarios, a robot can utilize it to automate a process. Robots can interact with any application or system as long as it has access and instructions. And yes, that includes your legacy applications that have been around for 30 years.

A similar myth we have heard is that the need for RPA will go away once organizations complete their digital transformation projects and inter-operability becomes more commonplace. Modernizing your tech stack doesn't make human processes go away. As long as humans are executing the work, there will be inefficiencies. And where there are inefficiencies, robots can certainly be used to remedy the shortcomings of their human counterparts, while also giving them more time to be human.

Myth #6: RPA is only ideal for simple business processes.

Many people assume that complex business processes can't or shouldn't be automated. Unfortunately, this assumption leads to missed opportunities that can make a significant operational impact once automated. While short, simple processes are absolutely a great fit for RPA, robots are also capable of completing very complex and time-consuming manual tasks. Whether it is authorizing and pricing a 20-line hospital claim using a care management system and external CMS calculator, or processing disclosures on home loans, robots can complete these tasks with the same ease as basic data entry work (albeit with a slightly longer run-time than data entry.) A key reason for this is because robots are not required to take the human path when executing a process. With the majority of processes, the same outcome can be achieved a number ways. While we can't speak for other people's robots, HPA's robots are built using the best, most efficient path that produces the desired outcome. So, don't count complex processes out. In fact, send them our way. We love a challenge!

Myth #7: APIs eliminate the need for RPA.

APIs, or application programming interfaces, allow applications to interact with data from other applications. For years, APIs were not yet widely available and more formal integrations between applications require(d) a decent investment of resources to establish and maintain that connectivity. While APIs are more commonplace today, they still surprisingly lack all the elements required to fully automate many business processes, nor do they typically include all the custom data fields your organization may have added. For this reason, the majority of unattended robots today are actually a hybrid of user interface (UI) and API automation. For example, robots can use the API to grab the data necessary to run a batch of processes upfront, then hit the UI for any necessary fields that are missing in the API. This hybrid approach gives you the best of both worlds. Hybrid robots are more lightweight, which reduces the run-time and infrastructure consumption. They are also less susceptible to breakage and change management as business processes evolve or the underlying applications are reconfigured.