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Desktop Automation: What You Need To Know

Desktop Automation: Streamline and Optimize Repetitive Tasks

Desktop Automation

Some repetitive tasks must run on employee desktops, but this doesn’t mean that they need to be done manually by each employee. Instead, you can rely on desktop automation, an intelligent automation (IA) solution that helps empower business users by automating these routine desktop tasks.

The Desktop Automation Low-Down

Desktop automation is an intelligent automation (IA) solution that uses robotic process automation (RPA) to automate repetitive, desktop-based work on employee desktop applications.

Other IA solutions include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), business process management (BPM), business process automation (BPA), process intelligence, no-code development, natural language processing (NLP) and more.

What’s the difference between RDA and RPA?

Robotic desktop automation (RDA) is just another term for desktop automation.

RDA and RPA are powerful, easy-to-use technologies that use automation software to streamline business processes. While similar, RDA specifically focuses on automating data-sensitive repetitive tasks where an employee must be at the desktop and use their credentials in real time to trigger actions. It’s a great option as it increases work efficiency without sacrificing governance or compromising security.

In contrast, RPA handles the end-to-end automation of complex processes across multiple systems and applications. It uses software robots that mimic actions and perform tasks through step-by-step instructions.

Where RDA must have a desktop-based employee, RPA can be attended, unattended or in a hybrid capacity.

Choosing between them depends on your automation goals and requirements.

Who Uses Desktop Automation?

Who Uses Desktop Automation

Businesses that need a way to automate repetitive, data-sensitive tasks that must run on employee desktops and with constant human interaction will use robotic desktop automation.

Ideally, this suits industries like healthcare, banking, customer support, defense and government, requiring users to complete activities using their login credentials to maintain a complete audit trail. Here are a few examples:


Desktop automation can be used to update health and patient records, manage medication subscriptions or booking information, and create reminders and follow-ups. Instead of a receptionist handling these repetitive, manual tasks that usually live on the desktop, digital workers automate these tasks.


In retail, desktop automation can support front-office automation, such as helping customer service agents deliver faster responses by automatically checking information on systems during a call. It can also be used to track returns on spreadsheets that may be handled on your desktop.

Financial services

Several business processes are run on desktops in financial services, many of which can involve sensitive financial data and are required to stay on the desktop. But with desktop automation, those tasks don’t have to be carried out manually. They can be carried out securely with an automation workflow. This includes data entry, data extraction and document verification.

Benefits of Desktop Automation

Desktop Automation Benefits

There are several benefits to desktop automation; here are a few of the highlights below.

Why you should automate on the desktop

More efficiency with a lower cost

  • Reduce time and effort managing multiple tools.
  • Improve responsiveness to business needs.
  • Save costs and streamline unnecessary, over-complicated processes.

Enhanced customer experience

  • Improve quality of service and responsiveness during customer calls and interactions.
  • Improve customer experience and CSAT as processes can be run in real time.
  • Enhance customer engagement and improve first-call resolution.

Greater workforce optimization

  • Improve job satisfaction and NPS with more time to focus on high-value work.
  • Enable better service and higher output.
  • Reduce turnover of employees as they feel valued and like their jobs.

What applications does desktop automation work on?

Desktop automation often involves the automation of other applications based on your computer system. It allows users to run centrally developed, validated and audited processes through UI automation, or automation that uses UI elements.

By automating UI interactions, testers can simulate user actions to detect bugs, ensure software stability and improve the overall quality of the application. UI automation makes it easier for employees to run and understand their automation without needing to know complex code. For example, you can build your automation to access, interact and complete a task with desktop software and Windows applications, such as Microsoft Excel and Outlook.

There are specific solutions designed for desktop automation needs, like SS&C | Blue Prism® Desktop. To simplify building, you can choose from a list of processes that have been made available to you in Desktop with us. If a desktop application connection is unavailable, you can import or create a connection.

How Does Desktop Automation Work?

Desktop automation tools use RPA digital workers to execute tasks, which can be deployed to mimic how a user performs a task manually — including mouse movements, keyboard clicks and keystrokes.

For an in-depth walkthrough to see how Desktop is used for a claims process, watch this video:

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What can Desktop automation do for you?



Secure, scalable and simple to deploy

  • Real-time collaboration between employees and the digital worker
  • Easy to run processes on the desktop for a simple user experience
  • Easy implementation

Centrally managed robust governance and security

  • Extend Center of Excellence (CoE) best practices and automation frameworks to the desktop
  • Avoid impact from non-compliance
  • Highest security

Empower business users to succeed by automating routine work

  • Improved job satisfaction and more time to focus on high-value work
  • Increased operational performance and process quality
  • Enhanced customer engagement, improved interaction and responsiveness

Quality control and auditability

  • Central monitoring
  • Traceability assurance
  • Full auditability, control and oversight

Cast study: Invesco doubles ROI and saves $2.1 million each year with SS&C Blue Prism®

"We have been using SS&C Blue Prism® for three years and it has been a great journey. We have doubled our ROI each year and have scaled our spectrum of automation to include RPA, desktop automation, ALM deployment, OCR, machine learning and data visualization.” Ashish Jha, director automation solutions, innovation and capabilities, Invesco

Read the Story

Automate for Desktop Responsibly

Having a digital worker supporting your employees increases productivity by alleviating errors and automating repetitive tasks on the desktop; it’s a no-brainer. Not all tasks on a desktop need to be run manually, use automation so that employees are free to focus on higher-level, strategic work.

SS&C Blue Prism® Desktop enables your users to run centrally developed, validated and audited desktop processes — giving you the confidence that you are in full compliance with IT and security standards.

It empowers organizations to succeed by automating routine work and reducing repetitive administration.

Download this e-book to learn about how you can improve your onboarding processes and retain top talent with desktop automation.

Contact us to learn more about SS&C Blue Prism® Desktop.