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Out with boring, repetitive work, in with Robotic Process Automation!

Eric van Waas
01 nov, 2023

Many organizations still perform many repetitive process steps. How nice would it be if frequently recurring, boring tasks could be automated? That's now possible with the help of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). In this blog, Eric van Waas, Senior Modern Work & Security Consultant, describes in which situations robotization is effective and how it can be applied.

Why RPA?

You still encounter it in most organizations; employees who perform the same process operations every day. Often this is because systems do not work together seamlessly, closed, outdated applications are used ('legacy systems'), or because companies being collaborated with do not have APIs ('back-end entry') to exchange information.

A practical example of this is a housing corporation. A housing corporation rents housing. When the lease is terminated, this is processed perfectly well in the primary information systems, but more is needed to fully handle the termination. The energy and water companies must be informed of this termination and a supervisor must schedule an appointment for completion.

These types of process steps are usually not automated because the systems cannot work together through prearranged protocols. Energy and water companies have their own portals, for example. Many of these administrative steps are performed manually by employees. Employees go through the same actions when signing in, entering changes and signing out tenants in different portals. It is time for these process operations to be robotized.

What is RPA?

RPA is a software robot which records mouse clicks and keystrokes and then plays them back repeatedly. RPA is system independent (workable on almost all systems), it takes administrative work off your hands and it can (probably) do the work more accurately than humans.

What RPA can be deployed for is not a simple question. Where systems do not have APIs, applying RPA is an option. The difference in this is that APIs are an input through the 'back end' and RPA is on the front end of a system (integration through the picture tube), just like a user is. As a result, RPA is system-independent and can work with different types of software and Web applications.

Power Automate Desktop

RPA now has a prominent place within the Microsoft Power Platform. While in 2019 RPA still consisted of different products, Selenium and WinAutomation, it has now evolved into a single mature product: Power Automate Desktop. Development does not stand still; new features are available every month that simplify RPA process development. Power Automate Desktop is in Gartner's leaders quadrant. Power Automate Desktop fits seamlessly on the Power Platform, making it easy to apply RPA in conjunction with Power Apps, Power BI and Power Automate.

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