Over the last several months and with some help from his signature robot icon friends, ImageSoft CTO James Leneschmidt has posted out “RPA Q&A” soundbites on LinkedIn, giving concise, high-level answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive from customers interested in robotic process automation, and are hearing in our own conversations.

A secret weapon in industries across all verticals, robotic process automation was a game-changer pre-pandemic but has since become a necessary lifeline. With staff working remotely from home and customers having more flexible schedules, regulatory compliance and efficiency have never been a bigger spectacle. How do we digitally, securely and accessibly store customer data for all our now-remote employees? With widespread job and coverage changes, more flexible schedules and a flood of consumer questions regarding everything social security, secretary of state, insurance, and more, how will we succeed with account management and customer satisfaction?

By automating what you can, and leaving the business of people to, well, real people.

RPA is a simple, cost-effective solution to the repetitive grunt work eating up your staff’s 40 hours. An insurance company can use RPA to grab insured’s data from a legacy system for a new application. A police department can use it send a warrant request to a prosecutor’s portal, and an accounting department leverages RPA to grab data from a credit bureau. In other words, RPA overcomes many of your data exchange challenges when integration is impractical, too costly or simply not possible.

Your RPA Starter-Pack

With so much ground to cover, we could talk RPA all day – but no one wants that. So, instead, we’ve put together an RPA starter pack. Our socialites will love the “shareables” available on James’ “Q&A for RPA” LinkedIn feed. You would be surprised at how many others are already getting by with a little help from RPA’s bot friends, or have been actively researching it – these insightful shares are sure to be a hit with your networks and colleagues. To do so, we recommend heading over to LinkedIn and typing “#RPAwithJames” in the search bar, or clicking here. From that niche feed, you’ll be able to see all of James’ short, segmented posts and share out the insight you feel most resonates with your own business challenges and questions, or those of your networks.

For those who want quick, to-the-point RPA Q&A but don’t have time to backtrack James’ entire series, we’ve recapped the complete, eight segments below. In a few sentences per segment, James details what robotic process automation actually is, whether your business could benefit from it, how RPA does what it does, its relativity to data integrations and/or OnBase, costs and much more.

Q&A for RPA with James: The Recap

What is Robotic Process Automation?

RPA is a technology solution that solves many of the labor intensive, error prone tasks that costs organizations time and money to process or correct. RPA can be used to automate the many repeatable tasks, keyboard and mouse clicks that are manually performed every day in your organization. For example, a user may be logging into an application and navigating through multiple screens to copy/paste or key data into fields in another program to process applications or court cases. An RPA solution would reduce those steps that can take up to several minutes and break it down into seconds, or less.

And it does it accurately, every single time.

Does My Business Need This?

If you have staff keying data from one screen into another application on a second monitor is one of the easiest ways to identify the need for RPA. An insurance company can use RPA to grab insured’s data from a legacy system for a new application, a police department can use it send a warrant request to a prosecutor’s portal, an accounting department can use RPA to grab data from a credit bureau, or any other application you can imagine. RPA overcomes many of the data exchange challenges when integration is impractical, too costly or not possible.

RPA provides you with options besides adding headcount to obtain the productivity capacity required, meet important service level requirements or reduce staffing challenges during peak and off-peak operations. It could be the very solution you need to eliminate persistent backlogs.

How is This Accomplished?

An RPA solution “watches” how a user performs a task or series of tasks, records the steps taken, and then stores it as a repeatable operation. Those tasks and steps can involve multiple applications and programs. Rules and flows can also be added so that the steps taken and tasks completed can be modified based on a set of conditions. Modern RPA solutions can execute hundreds of steps and tasks in a moment, leading to a more efficient process and freeing staff for other priorities.

RPA can work with a business application that has no integration points or even online data sources that forbid integration. And because it is a touchless solution, the integrity and security of the applications are not compromised. With the appropriate training of technical staff, you can be self-sufficient to configure additional applications for RPA.

How Does This Work in Practice?

There are two modes in how an RPA solution can be used, assisted and unassisted. In an assisted environment, the user executes the RPA service to grab the data from the other system using methods like a keyboard command or a configurable button in your software. This is ideal for situations where a user is required to complete some of the data entry or review process. The unassisted mode is ideal for processes that can be automated without human input.

In any environment, you can have one or a combination of modes.

An RPA solution can also pull data from multiple systems or can be configured to pull different sets of data from the same application based on what information is needed. RPA is the solution that can often leap over insurmountable technology walls.

Does This Replace Data Integrations?

In some cases, an RPA solution makes more sense than a code level integration, particularly in situations where integration is very difficult or not possible – such as obtaining data from a service provider that has no integration points. Since rules can be implemented with RPA to govern what steps are taken, you can overcome the limitations of applications to automate actions.

RPA can also provide short term gains in automation when you plan on replacing a business application in the future when it’s too short to embark on an integration project but far enough out that it makes sense to improve productivity and accuracy. In many cases, an RPA solution is faster, easier and more cost effective to configure and maintain than code level integrations.

How Does RPA Work with OnBase?

RPA technology can be used to populate Unity and eForms, index documents, and obtain additional keyword data from third party applications. RPA can also be used with OnBase Workflow and Case Manager applications in an unattended mode where it chews through batches of documents to update fields and data. In reverse, data from OnBase can be used to update a mainframe, legacy or other business application. Truly, there are endless applications.

How Much Does It Cost and Who Else Uses It?

There is no fixed, one size fits all pricing but when a RPA solution makes business sense, it usually pays for itself in less than twelve months. RPA solutions can scale from a single user to the largest enterprises.

As a multi-billion-dollar production, RPA applications can be found in almost every industry. Today’s RPA solutions are far more sophisticated and reliable than the screen-scraping method applied in earlier versions.

The biggest risk to implementing an RPA solution is attempting to implement it for a process that has too many variables to be really considered “repeatable.” Proper evaluation with a technology partner can help you make the right decision and deploy successfully.

RPA Done The ImageSoft Way

For those who learn best through well-rounded reads or just want a deeper dive on the topic, head over to our RPA webpage. If you have questions along the way, simply click the gray “chat with us” circle – unlike RPA bots, there are real people on the other side who would love to point you in the right direction.

And be sure to check out the side-bar content – more visual leaners will soak up several key points from our easy-to-follow infographic!

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