RPA 2021: Where are we?
2021 is off to a roaring start in the Automation space and it’s gathering steam. Companies are actively looking for solutions to help them deal with the new realities of our world. The worldwide pandemic continues to influence buying and planning decisions.
“How can we do more with less?”
“Will the business need to automate its operations to remain competitive?”
“Do employees need to be upskilled to meet the demands of the changing workplace and economy?”
Frankly, these questions could have been asked at any time in the last 100 years. However, in this time they bring a renewed poignancy.
The good news is the technology to help answer these questions exists today. The key is understanding the needs of the business and planning accordingly. It’s important to understand a few key points.
How does RPA relate to AI and ML?
To make a distinction between Hand and Head work is good way to think about how each can function. Many of today’s RPA Activities rely on AI/ML to accurately work with a variety of User interfaces.
Automation Levels Explained
These are the three areas that can be automated and the code level that is required to do so:
- Hybrid Applications – These can be unattended robots and/or incorporate the use of simple interfaces as an application replacement and/or utilize the heavier lift of “human in the loop.”
- Digital Assistants – The use of both attended and unattended capabilities to maximize the usefulness and proliferation of capability. These types of utilities are pushed out to employees in all lines of the business in a federated way.
- Citizen Development – No code platform that should maximize the ability to get small things done quickly. This solution is not overly focused on widespread distribution of processes created at this level. Sharing can occur in the department level. Can also offer an ability to identify processes and submit them to the internal COE to potentially build Hybrid Applications and/or Digital Assistants.
Which is the best RPA Platform for your needs?
At this point any software vendor that is part of the Forrester wave can provide valuable capabilities.
The key is understanding the difference in their offerings around areas of automation. For example, Appian and Pega are heavily focused on Low Code Hybrid Applications. UiPath on the other hand is more well-rounded and can provide significant value for Hybrid Applications, Digital Assistants and Citizen Development that employ all levels of code complexity.
Another consideration is price vs. value. The RPA market is getting more commoditized and robust as low-cost options become available. In some cases, Microsoft Power Automate makes sense for a somewhat technical audience that is willing to build a limited automation practice. However, I don’t feel it’s an adequate tool for medium to wide scale citizen development.
The interface is very step-intensive and not intuitive for users who are less technically skilled in software solutions and it can be cumbersome for those who are more technical. In contrast, the UiPath StudioX is highly intuitive, much more robust in capability, offers the ability to share workflows amongst groups and provides an entry point for wider-scale digital assistant and hybrid automations.
The choices are numerous at this point but it’s all about gaining an understanding of what the end goal of Automation is and understanding how it can best fit into your organization.
Peter S. Camp is the CTO and Founder of CampTek Software. He has been developing RPA Applications for over 17 years. For further questions, discussion or inquiry about CampTek Software Services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.