RPA 2019: Data in its Right Place
Radiohead is my favorite band of all time. Throughout their catalog there are songs that are melancholy, cerebral and intricate. A song that embodies these characteristics and speaks to me, like few do, is “Everything in its Right Place”. There is a level of serenity in the song throughout, but if you listen closely you will hear what sounds like robots in the background in certain parts. If we apply this to RPA it plays nicely with a previous blog post I wrote regarding “Taking the Robot Out of the Human” and using technology (i.e RPA) to serve the human race on its next step in evolution. The idea is that robots can work in the background making our technical and physical life harmonious.
To take this a step further, one of the biggest challenges companies face today involves data.
There is so much of it and in so many places. Organizations have applications both new and old that harvest data. External data providers can also provide subsets of data that is valuable. As a rule, APIs, ETL tools, web services and interfaces have been the way to either migrate and/or access data. These are all great methods, but all have the same problem in design.
These approaches are brittle and require coding most of the time. In addition, they are not easily changed and can require quite a bit of time and money to get them to work effectively. In some cases, such as an API or interface, you are at the mercy of which methods are being exposed by an application. Most of the time, this is preferable when trying to automate or get some specific data out of the application, but in general the scope is limited.
RPA is once again a choice to get around these obstacles.
Data in its truest form is best kept in the application that actively processes it. In the past, the idea was to take all the data out of all the disparate systems and put them in the master application – such as big CRM systems and/or Health Information Systems. As technology has evolved there are more and more applications that store data both new and old. Both can be vitally important when making decisions based on the data provided. Analytic tools attempt to do this but I would challenge that the data presented isn’t complete in all cases. RPA can assist in data capture and presenting the data in its most live state. This can involve pulling data from the front end of the application(s) it cares about as well as accessing APIs, data feeds, xml, Excel, csv, HL7 or any other format that is needed for the decision maker.
There are many tools that can aggregate data and present it, but few can get the data in the manner RPA does.
Moreover, a software robot can make existing reporting tools more powerful because it’s getting the data from every source possible. In the past RPA wasn’t thought of as reliable means to get data. In 2019 that is not the case. It should no longer be an afterthought but something that is on top of mind when attempting to get a complete answer.
There is no need to aggregate stale data. With RPA you can leave the data where its most relevant, “In its right place.”
Peter S Camp is the CTO and Founder of CampTek Software. He has been developing RPA Applications for over 15 years. For further questions, discussion or inquiry about CampTek Software Services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.