What is Robotic Automation?
Robotic automation refers to a style of automation where a machine, or computer, mimics a human’s action in completing rules-based tasks.
What does Robotic Automation mean in the context of back office administrative process automation?
In the domain of back-office administration, Robotic Automation refers to automation where a computer drives existing enterprise application software in the same way that a user does. This means that unlike traditional application software, Robotic Automation is a tool or platform that operates and orchestrates other application software through the existing application’s user interface and in this sense is not “integrated."
What are the advantages of robotically orchestrating existing applications through the user interface?
• No, IT infrastructure changes are required – there is no integration requirement – the robots interface with any application through the user interface in the same way a user does.
• No integration costs – robots drive existing applications.
• IT robots are “trained” by their users by being “shown” how to complete a task. This is akin to training a new employee.
• A robot once trained can scale across any number of other robots.
• The robot knowledge is extended and re-used over time.
• A robot is trained in a live environment making projects less expensive and much faster than traditional IT.
• Multiple robots applied to a task can be synchronized to deliver large-scale robotic platforms.
Is Robotic Automation like screen scraping or macros?
No, clerical Robotic Automation is a generation on from old technologies like screen scraping or macros. The major differences are:
• Robots are universal application orchestrators – any application that can be used by a person can be used by a modern robot, whether mainframe, legacy, bespoke application, web service enabled or even a closed 3rd party API hosted service.
• Applications are “read” by the robot, either through dedicated APIs where they exist, through the OS prior to application display, or through the screen in the context of the native application. In this last case the modern robot “reads” an application screen in context and in the same way a user does. As part of the robot training it is shown how to read the application’s display much like a user is shown.
• Robots collect procedural knowledge which over time build into a shared library that can be re-used by any other robot or device (in the same way objects are built in traditional SW engineering).
How easy is it to train and manage the robots activity?
• A robot is trained through a flow chart of the procedure. This flow-chart is managed and audited to document the procedure.
• Management information is gathered automatically as the robot operates. All processes generate statistical profiles as a by-product of doing the action. This allows tuning and development of a process in light of real data.
• Modern robots systems come with failover and recovery inbuilt as core capabilities. It means that if changes take place, or downstream failures occur a “smart” response can be trained into the overall system.
• Modern robots systems have full audit and security authorisation meaning that all changes and all access is recorded and regulated. Back-up process steps are managed, roll-back and recovery, as well process change-highlighting, are all automatically captured by the robot platform.