Cloud RPA: What is it and how does it work?
What exactly is cloud RPA?
Robotic process automation (RPA) combines your human and digital workforces to automate business processes. Cloud delivery of RPA gives you all the value of process automation with none of the hassle of managing the IT infrastructure.
Cloud RPA does much more than automate routine back-office processes. With cloud RPA, preconfigured software robots or intelligent digital workers can handle complex exceptions and variations with little human intervention.
How does cloud RPA accelerate transformation?
Cloud RPA accelerates time to value and lets you innovate faster. You don’t have to wait for your IT team when you need additional process automation. You can scale quicker to meet business demands.
There’s no need to spend time maintaining and operating your in-house infrastructure. Instead you can focus on how best to use it to deliver better customer experience.
With cloud RPA, you can access the latest software and get new features and benefits as soon as they become available. Updates and security patches are taken care of without delay, keeping you secure and compliant.
Did you know?
By 2025, over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms, up from 30% in 2021.
What is RPA as a service?
RPA as a service offers cloud-based business process output that is underpinned by an SLA. Fully-managed RPA as a service puts you in the fast lane to efficiency, productivity and higher profits.
What are the benefits of cloud RPA?
Cloud services reduce the cost, effort and time it takes to build, manage, scale, and support your automated business processes. They allow access to a limitless supply of preconfigured RPA bots that you can scale up and down as needed.
Shorter time to value
Cloud RPA has the potential to give everyone in the business the opportunity to innovate. Business unit managers looking to automate a new process or speed up time to value don’t have to wait for the IT team to find space in its schedule. It is possible to put the power to build new processes and train digital workers in new skills into the hands of business users.
Once you have automated some business processes, the potential to add more value will become clear. Intelligent software lets business users automate progressively more complex processes, freeing human workers to focus on high value and interesting work.
Maximum security and compliance
As RPA software increasingly takes care of business-critical business processes, you’ll want to be sure that these processes are secure. In fact, in-house IT teams would struggle to match the rigorous security and uptime SLAs of cloud service providers. Cloud services providers can deliver timely patches and the latest features and functionality upgrades with the security and governance your organization requires.
Improved total cost of ownership
The total cost of ownership (TCO) for on-premises RPA deployment includes the cost of purchasing your RPA software and servers. There are also costs associated with creating, updating, testing and scaling your processes. And did we mention the costs of securing on-premises software and disaster recovery?
The TCO of cloud RPA varies. You might simply take space in the public cloud to host your RPA servers – leaving you with integration and management overheads. Or you might opt for a fully managed cloud RPA service. This removes all the IT infrastructure costs of on-premises deployment. You’ll also have access to preconfigured digital workers, saving on the cost of developing automations.
Would you like to understand the benefits of cloud RPA in more depth? Take a look at our blog, 5 Reasons why you should deploy in RPA in the cloud.
How does cloud RPA work?
RPA vendors originally built applications for on-premises implementation and management. As the demand for cloud has increased, many vendors have looked to deliver a cloud RPA platform that works in a similar way to on-premises RPA.
Cloud-enabled RPA has two main components – the digital workers and the orchestrator server, which manages the execution of processes by the digital workers. Digital workers are robot software agents configured to mimic human actions within business processes.
RPA as a service differs from many other cloud-based services. Because the digital workers need access to the credentials and applications used by your business process, they need access to your network. So, we work with you to connect your network to your digital workers via a site-to-site VPN that is located behind your firewall. The management server, database, automation studio, and digital workers are all hosted in the cloud.
Why does cloud RPA perform better than on-premise RPA?
Cloud RPA eliminates the overheads of managing your own server infrastructure. So you always have the latest software and upgrades and your processes are always working to their optimum capacity.
RPA as a service goes way beyond simply hosting your business processes in the cloud. Fully managed cloud automation lets you scale your processes up and down as needed by tapping into a pre-configured digital workforce to meet your business needs. You can take your RPA performance to the next level by maximizing functionality such as natural language processing, optical character recognition, and sentiment analysis.
What are the different types of cloud RPA deployments?
Every organization has different requirements when it comes to cloud RPA. Regulatory constraints on some organizations, such as the requirement to store data in specific countries for example, require certain deployment models.
Cloud RPA can be deployed in four main ways
1. Partner managed cloud
Working with a partner to deploy cloud RPA gives you access to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) cloud RPA platform. Partners manage the hosting and RPA processes. Our Technology Alliance Program (TAP) solution providers deliver intelligent automation using process mining, virtualization, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
2. Public cloud
Another option is to run your cloud RPA on leading enterprise cloud platforms. SS&C Blue Prism has deep technical alliances with cloud partners including Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services and IBM Cloud. Our API integrations with these leading cloud RPA providers accelerate your journey to the RPA cloud. You can provision your applications and your robot automations to work within this cloud infrastructure.
3. Hybrid cloud
If you need to store your data on-site, a hybrid approach to cloud RPA might suit you best. This way, digital workers and data are hosted on site, connected by VPN to the orchestrator in the cloud.
How secure is cloud RPA?
Blue Prism Cloud RPA is secure to industry standards, including SOC 2 (Type 2) and ISO 27001 Security Certification. Your business processes are secured on a dedicated cloud instance, with up-to-the-minute patches and upgrades. AES 256-key encryption secures your VPN. We don’t need to install your VPNs on our machines because we offer site-to-site VPN connections.
Blue Prism Cloud RPA is protected to ISO 27001 Security Certification level and benefits from continuous penetration testing. The platform is so secure that we can provide guaranteed uptime SLAs that outperform most in-house IT SLAs.
Your digital workers are protected by role-based access, with each robot process governed by controls relating to its role. Every action for each process is recorded and stored securely so that it can’t be tampered with. This provides an irrefutable audit trail that is admissible in a court of law.
What to look for in a cloud RPA provider
Read our blog on what to look for in a cloud RPA provider
Cloud RPA is business-critical. It is vital to choose an RPA vendor that can support your business today and work hand-in-hand with you to evolve your intelligent automation in future. Below are five key considerations when choosing a cloud RPA provider.
1. Price and deployment
Cloud RPA deployment reduces total cost of ownership. By removing your reliance on your in-house IT team, your cloud RPA provider should be able to deliver measurable business value in no time at all.
Your cloud provider must be able to automate current processes – and offer intelligent functionality that will be useful in the future. Look for pre-built intelligent functionality such as such as natural language processing, machine learning and analytics. This will support next-generation intelligent automation.
3. Ease of use and integration
Switching to cloud RPA will deliver most benefit if it is easy to use. Think about what ease of use looks like for your business before going to market. That might be user interface – or the availability of intuitive preconfigured automations might be more important. Make sure the cloud RPA platform can connect to your enterprise cloud solutions and on-premises software.
4. Security and governance
Fully managed cloud RPA secures your business processes on a single dedicated cloud tenant. You might also consider the provider’s certification to security standards, and the rigor of role-based access controls. Your IT team will need to work with the provider to secure VPN connectivity.
5. Future proof scalability
Scalability is about more than spinning up additional server capacity in the cloud. Look for access to an unlimited pool of digital workers, ready to learn new skills as your business grows.
Buyer’s checklists for cloud RPA
Cloud RPA is so much more than an IT purchase. Procurement and IT teams will need to work with line-of-business leaders and the Center of Excellence (COE) to create a buyer’s checklist that delivers for everyone.
- The CoE should look for an established provider that can deliver business agility and strong functionality to support business growth.
- IT Leaders should prioritize assessing the cloud RPA platform security. Then evaluate connectivity and integration that underpin fast deployment.
- Line of Business Leaders should consider likely performance of cloud automations against KPIs ranging from cost efficiencies to customer satisfaction scores. Review artificial intelligence and machine learning features that will be key to intelligent automation of business processes now and in future.
Read our blog to see a more detailed cloud RPA buyer's checklist
What does a successful cloud RPA journey look like?
How do you launch, maintain and scale cloud RPA?
From starting out to scaling up cloud RPA, having a strategic operating methodology right from the start is the key to success. We’ve developed the Robotic Operating Model (ROM) that supports you as you integrate a digital workforce into your business. It outlines standards, principles and templates for implementing and managing your digital workforce that work with your existing change management systems.
The ROM has seven foundations, listed below.
Start with a vision of what you want the business to achieve.
Get senior team and IT buy-in.
- Governance and Pipeline
Create a governance board that’s responsible for setting a strategy for a controlled and sustainable automation pipeline – and delivering against it, too.
- Delivery Strategy
Create centers of expertise for best practice delivery of automation.
- Service Model
Involve your subject matter experts when you are defining the new automated process.
Developers and process analyst have a role to play in setting up automation processes. And digital workers increasingly work hand-in-hand with human workers, passing back referrals or exceptions to humans for manual intervention.
Design a scalable technical architecture that can support future business growth. We can help with that.
Read more about our Robotic Operating Model (ROM)
Already using RPA? Here’s our step-by-step guide to migrating to cloud
1. Getting ready for Cloud RPA
Choose the automated processes that you want to migrate to the cloud. Define roles and responsibilities and schedule what’s going to happen and when. At this point, plan ahead for anything that may delay you later on, such as changes to firewalls or security credentials.
2. Pre-production and RPA testing
When an automation process is ready to migrate to the cloud, it’s time to test it in a non-production environment.
3. Going live with Cloud RPA
When you’ve successfully tested the automation process, prepare to go live. But rest easy, this can happen in parallel with the existing on-premise RPA solution, while you make sure the new automation is working as expected. After the first successful go-live, you will be ready to repeat the steps again to migrate more processes to the cloud.
Learn more in our blog on Migrating to Intelligent Automation in the cloud
Cloud RPA and AI: moving towards cloud Intelligent Automation (IA)
Cloud RPA is evolving fast to become cloud intelligent automation. You can add intelligence to your process automations in three main ways, listed below.
1. Process and Task Mining
To get the best from automating your processes, you first need to expose the business processes that are key to your business – and the individual tasks that drive those processes. Blue Prism Process Intelligence provides an end-to-end solution for process and task mining.
Learn about process and task mining
Digital workers can make human-like decisions, taking account of variables and exceptions. Blue Prism Decision lets you create machine learning-based processes that take automated decision-making to the next level.
3. IDP and OCR
Intelligent document processing (IDP) extracts data from documents using optical character recognition (OCR) and structures that data for use by automations. Blue Prism Decipher IDP combines IDP and OCR with machine learning and intelligent software to speed up automation.
Businesses like yours are coming up with new ways of adding intelligence to automations every day. These include analytics, chatbots and industry-specific automations. You can tap into all this experience at the Blue Prism Digital Exchange (DX). There is no need to reinvent the wheel when you can learn from the shared experience of our DX Community.
DX before you DIY – check out the Blue Prism Digital Exchange.
Cloud RPA in action
Organizations are reporting measurable benefits from their cloud RPA solutions.
International shipping insurer Thomas Miller has Blue Prism Cloud intelligent digital workers processing renewal applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This way, customers receive a faster and more accurate renewal service and underwriters get time back to focus on high value work.
Read more about how Thomas Miller Sets the Foundation for Continuous, Long-Term Improvements
Blue Prism Cloud digital workers help UK health service provider Connect Health handle referrals and communications with 375,000 patients, freeing staff to spend more time on patient care.
Read more about how Digital Workers are the Backbone of Patient Pathway Processing at Connect Health.
Aneurin Bevan NHS
The NHS Aneurin Bevan Health Board handles records for 600,000 patients in Wales. Because of delays in updating records manually, staff were lacking up-to-date patient records. Now SS&C Blue Prism digital workers are quickly updating patient records, supporting clinicians in delivering better patient care.
Read more about how Aneurin Bevan Reduces Time to Update Patient Records by 97%.
Now’s the time to embrace cloud RPA
Read our blog about the five reasons to choose Cloud RPA
Intelligent automation is the future. Once you have cloud RPA, the possibilities for your business are limitless. Our expert team can help you on your journey to cloud RPA.
Here’s why organizations choose Blue Prism Cloud:
1. Cloud service is in our DNA
We’ve provided a cloud RPA platform for close to ten years. During that time we have evolved the platform into a truly intelligent automation solution. We have worked with more than 2,000 customers in over 170 countries and 70 industry verticals across the world to implement RPA to meet their business needs.
2. Regulated industries trust us
Regulated industries trust SS&C Blue Prism. We have more than 18,000 financial services and healthcare customers using Blue Prism Cloud to process sensitive data and handle customer and patient communications. We’re the only vendor that has target resolution times as part of our SLAs.
3. A fully managed platform
We offered the first fully managed RPA cloud platform. We take care of supporting, maintaining, upgrading and monitoring the platform to ensure 99.9% uptime, reducing the burden on your IT team. We will tailor the cloud platform to your needs.
4. Everything you need for automation
Blue Prism Cloud provides everything you need for your cloud RPA – from preconfigured and custom digital workers to process assessment and capture. Blue Prism Cloud also offers a host of intelligent features from document capture to human-in-the-loop decision-making.
5. Our cloud platform is highly secure
You’ll have a dedicated platform with no shared resources. We offer site-to-site VPN connections secured with AES 256 key encryption and there is no internet access to your cloud platform. We carry out regular penetration testing and comply with standards including ISO27001 Security Certification level and HIPAA. Each digital worker is protected by role-based access and Blue Prism Cloud creates an evidence-based log of events that demonstrates legally irrefutable proof of compliance.
Download the eBook to learn the five reasons business leaders are deploying cloud intelligent automation.
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