Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Overview

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) utilizes software robots (Bots) that can replace routine and repetitive tasks normally performed by humans. Key components of RPA include workflow, algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) and bots (software robots) to perform functions. 

How does it work?

  • Programmable Bots require a step by step definition of rules  (workflow) of the tasks to be robotized. The rules are then coded into software routines. 
  • Intelligent Bots use Machine Learning to learn workflow rules by following a human employee mouse clicks. After a while the bot will “know” what to do. This combined with its ability to interpret current and historical data enables automation of even more complex tasks.
  • Bots integrate with ERP/CRM and other management platforms.
  • Attended Bots function as personal assistants. An employee can trigger a pre-defined action to be executed by a Bot such as: updating or retrieving customer information in/from all applications while talking to a customer on the phone.
  • Unattended Bots execute pre-defined workflows that are triggered automatically such as by schedule or event. For example producing a weekly status report which requires pulling data from various sources.

Key benefits

  • Efficiency and cost savings: Replacing humans in performing repetitive tasks is the major benefit. Bots work 7/24.
  • Reduction of errors: Repetitive tasks can bore humans which can result in errors, Bots eliminate this problem.
    • Scalability: Can add more Bots quickly
  • RPA isn’t always a solution: processes that are not well defined or broken cannot benefit from RPA. Also, tasks that change over time and require adaptation may not be automated even with Intelligent Bots. 

Common Use Cases

  • Invoice Processing
  • Employee/Customer on-boarding
  • Billing/Refunds
  • Sales Orders
  • Patient registration
  • Accounting Reconciliation
  • Resume screening
  • ERP Data Entry
  • Bill of Lading or Materials creation
  • Service order processing
  • Ticket booking
  • Credit/Debit card activation 
  • Payroll processing


Estimates vary:

  • 30% – 200% during first year according to Mckinsey 
  • 10% – 30% increase in employee productivity according to Forbes 
  • 352% according to Kryon 

Will RPA Replace Employees?

In a word: Yes. This where most of the cost savings come from. According to McKinsey report 35% of the US 8.1Million office and 22% of the 4million customer support workers are likely to be replaced by 2030.