Robotic process automation: A no-hype buyer’s guide

Introduction

Automation holds great promise for enterprises that rely on rapid, streamlined processes to gain efficiency and deliver better experiences to customers and employees. There are many paths and possible entry points, from standalone software solutions to extreme automation platforms designed to deliver digitally transformed, technology-driven IT and business processes. Each has its own advantages, drawbacks, potential benefits and level of risk.

One technology that continues to receive a lot of attention is robotic process automation (RPA). RPA is often a gateway — a way to introduce automation and gain business benefits at low cost with near-zero risk. The concept is simple and well- known: a software "robot" replicates routine human-computer interaction to automate, repetitive tasks. RPA bridges the gap between manual interaction and full automation.

RPA is particularly appealing where IT resources and budgets are limited, or for working with back-end applications that lack good APIs and would be difficult to automate without significant change to your systems. But to deploy RPA wisely, it helps to understand the technology’s benefits and limitations, how to expand its evolving capabilities, and the value it brings.