Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of technological applications to configure or replicate the activities involved in the interactions between a human being and a UI interface of a computer.
RPA tools have strong technical similarities to graphical user interface testing tools. These tools also automate interactions with the GUI, and often do so by repeating a set of demonstration actions performed by a user. RPA tools differ from such systems including features that allow data to be handled in and between multiple applications, for instance, receiving email containing an invoice, extracting the data, and then typing that into a bookkeeping system.
RPA tools generally have the following characteristics:
RPA doesn’t require extensive programming skills. Employees with some programming expertise can be trained to automate RPA tools fairly quickly. Tools like Automation Anywhere provide GUI that can be used to drag and drop commands that can represent rules in a process that needs to be automated.
RPA tools are very user friendly, both for the bot creator and the end user. Most of the tools provide drag-and-drop interfaces to write code. RPA adoption originates within business operations rather inside IT departments. RPA projects require less IT skills and less investment.
RPA avoids complexity and risk. The software robots access end user’s systems via a controlled user interface, hence reducing the necessity of underlying systems programming. These tools automate interactions with the GUI, and often do so by repeating a set of demonstration actions performed by a user.