The Basics of Robotic Process Automation

By

Tessa McDaniel

,

Content Specialist

2022-06-30

We’ve got a lot of bots behind the scenes here at Virtuoso (maybe you remember our introduction of them all?) and they all do a very special task. Just to give you a quick reminder, we’ve got D0c who handles test authoring, Ann3 who makes sure that the tests execute, Cl4rence who heals the tests, S1mon who reports the results, C4meron who checks for visual regression, and Glady5 who does API testing. Oh and Budd1, but his job is to look cute. So lots, of bots, but only some of them fall into today’s category of Robotic Process Automation. 

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, creates bots that execute certain tasks defined by a set of rules-based parameters. The goal is to be able to execute some of the more boring, manual tasks that people would normally do to allow them to focus on tasks that only a human could do. Anything that has to do with understanding what's on the screen, entering information, navigating systems (websites, web apps, software), any basic action that can be automated.

Robotic Process Automation Benefits

There's nothing wrong with having people do these kinds of tasks, but these are pretty dull and repetitive tasks. Plus, bots don't need a lunch break or get distracted by adorable cats wanting attention. Bots can execute tasks faster and often more accurately, letting people do the things that take creativity, intuition, and other traits that bots haven't managed to learn (yet). I don't know about you, but I'd much rather write an article full of cat puns rather than, say, manually test a website. 

Using RPA can also save businesses a lot of money. According to a survey by Pegasystems, 45% of their respondents reported cost savings as one of the top three benefits of RPA, the other two being more efficient and accurate results (51%) and improved employee experience (42%). RPA is also scalable without the cost of having to hire more bodies. 

RPA is non-invasive and can be quickly deployed to accelerate Digital Transformation, of which 63% of global executives say RPA is a key component. RPA bots can ramp up rapidly to meet peak demands and respond quickly when there is an increase in work volume. These capabilities help companies avoid downtime and keep operations running smoothly even during periods of high activity.

Challenges of Robotic Process Automation

RPA does not come without its challenges, just like any technology. 52% of the Pegasystems survey respondents reported that RPA was difficult to deploy. So RPA can be tricky to navigate and implement, but as time has gone on and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have continued to improve, RPA can be a risk-free, valuable addition to any business model. The 21-22 State of RPA Survey Report by the Acceleration Economy Network found that the largest issue with adopting RPA was the lack of internal resources. IT definitely needs to be updated accordingly going into RPA, and internal resistance is another factor in that adoption process as well: approximately 51% of respondents found that there was significant internal resistance to the addition of RPA. It can be scary to incorporate a technology designed to do tasks that human workers normally perform, but these software robots are just here to help, not replace

Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence

What makes RPA so superpowered now versus several years ago is the addition of AI and ML. RPA bots on their own can't learn. But with AI, after the bots get the initial instructions, they can understand the task and adapt to make sure that things like dynamic data don't affect the process. The more RPA works in tandem with AI and ML, the more capable it becomes and the more tasks the bots can perform.

Making Robotic Process Automation Work For You

If you're looking to add RPA to your testing process but are nervous or unsure about getting it set up, look no further. At Virtuoso, we handle it all on our end! Our RPA bots execute all those pesky manual tasks that no one wants to do. Simple things like "click this" and "type that," but plenty of more complex things like automating API calls, checking for visual regression, pretty much anything you'd want to test your site for. Plus they work with AI and ML to make tests self-healing, lightening the maintenance burdens on you and your teams. So get started on putting those bots to work for you by booking a demo with us!

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