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RPA Fad or Here to Stay?


Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a software robot technology that mimic human actions to automate repetitive and rules-based business processes, has been around for quite a number of years. Many companies have been turning to RPA to streamline operations, reduce cost and even provide 24/7 operational capabilities.


With the progress of applications technologies and some industries due for systems renewal, the newer applications are more connected (i.e. API) and offer better functionalities that reduces the need to use RPA.


Some critics argue that RPA is just a passing fad that will eventually fade away. In this article, we will examine whether RPA is a fad or here to stay.


Why is RPA popular?


RPA has gained popularity among businesses for several reasons. First, it allows companies to automate time-consuming and repetitive tasks, which can increase efficiency and reduce errors. Second, it can be implemented quickly without requiring significant changes to existing systems or processes. Third, it can save companies money by reducing the need for manual labour and increasing productivity. Fourth, it can help companies comply with regulations by ensuring consistent and accurate data entry and processing.


Is RPA a fad?


Despite its popularity, some argue that RPA is just a fad that will eventually fade away. They pointed to several reasons why RPA may not be sustainable in the long run.


First, RPA is not a comprehensive solution but more like a “band aid” that helps to stitch all the legacy systems together to deliver today’s business expectations. This is not a long term or sustainable solution and most often it is limited to automating only repetitive and rule-based tasks.


Second, RPA requires significant upfront investment, including the cost of software, implementation, and maintenance. The running cost also varies depending on how the processes were automated. If the processes were not optimally developed (i.e. hardcoded, not flexible to business changes etc.), the maintenance effort can be hefty.


Third, RPA alone as a technology is not suitable for complex tasks that require human judgment and decision-making.


Is RPA here to stay?


While there are certainly challenges in using RPA, many experts believe that it is here to stay.


First, RPA is constantly evolving, with new features and capabilities being added regularly. Most importantly, A.I. technologies like Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning Models (ML) are working with RPA to create a more sustainable Intelligent Automation ecosystem which can handle more complex tasks.


Second, RPA can integrate with many output channels like Chatbots, eForms, App instead of playing just the hidden intermediary role within a process. Hence, it allows businesses to create a more comprehensive automation solution.


Third, RPA with the other A.I. technologies within the Intelligent Automation ecosystem can help businesses become more agile and responsive, which is essential in today's fast-paced business environment.


Fourth, RPA has a proven track record of success, with many companies reporting significant benefits from its implementation. The fast-evolving A.I. technologies working with RPA would open new opportunities to extend the current automations.


Fifth, with the increasing end-user friendly features like low code/no code and “drag and drop” features, there is a greater opportunity for citizen developers to automate their own tasks.


In conclusion, RPA is not a fad, but more like a technology that is here to stay. As businesses continue to face pressure to become more agile and responsive, RPA working with the fast-evolving A.I. technologies will play an increasingly important role in business processes.

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