Robotic process automation is another layer of automation that can be added to industrial operations, business and enterprise. It refers to a software component that automates a task that would have previously been done by a human. Companies would invest into these software packages to eliminate redundant tasks, using artificial intelligence modules that can learn and adapt to how an enterprise is run and supply data and analytics of a company. Engineers that own businesses would be able to automate processes that slow down the company due unnecessary labor. Businesses can now run efficiently with software that automates critical data production the businesses needs to keep going.
An automation company named Redwood Software have compiled a report on robotic process automation that shows a growing market. Neil Kinson, Redwood's Chief of Staff said: "When we talk about robotics, we are no longer talking about basic machines that replicate human activity, an opportunity to re-imagine business processes and their interdependencies. We are no longer plugging in' dumb' machines, but integrating smart technology with built-in understanding of the end-to-end process and best practice.
Based on Redwood's research of companies that are eligible for automation integration, the results were as follows:
- 27% are using robotics
- 35% are actively looking
- 38% are curious or researching
- 67% plan on using RPA in the next 12 months
- 72% plan to leverage existing investment in ERP (enterprise resource planning) to drive further automation in the next twelve months
RPA robots can replace manual effort in jobs that would benefit from being automated so that people can get to the actual work. A company can save a lot of money by automating software processes that would have taken ten times longer if performed by a human. As we've recently reported, it has been proven that with more automated processes, employment in companies has actually gone up due to the need for skills in other places in a part of the company where automation cannot be integrated.
However, according to Redwood's report, 30% believed that implementing RPA would lead to job losses. The report deals with this uncertainty, saying: "Yes, there can be no denying that there will be some job losses, but there will also be a reappropriation of skill sets into other parts of the business."
In some cases, RPA robots will be filling the gaps in the IT market where workers are desperately needed. Frank Casale, founder, and chairman of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation told ZDnet: "RPA enables IT to get things done with less people. That savings can be floated to the bottom line of the company or IT can re-purpose that to fund strategic projects they wouldn't get additional budget for. We are seeing this happen today."
The rise of RPA indicates that the Internet of Things will be interconnecting both the robots that work in industrial operations and the business side of the industrial operation itself. No more crunching of numbers and estimating by human processes, it can all be done by RPA software that will be able to immediately tell an engineer what needs to happen to keep a project running.