Robotic Process Automation Q&A

Will RPA be able to [insert repetitive computer task here]?

Yes!  RPA simply allows you to build sequences for your mouse and keyboard and also react to what is visible on the computer screen.  Generally, if the work is repetitive and can be done with a personal computer then absolutely the answer is yes.

Is RPA expensive?

It depends.  Basic tools can range anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars.  More advanced tools can cost thousands of dollars or may even charge a subscription fee.

How long will it take to learn how to use RPA?

It depends.  If you're fairly good with software tools such as Excel then it could take a week to learn a basic tool and maybe a month to learn a more advanced one.  If you're not so good then stick with a basic tool for a month and see how it goes.

Do I need to know how to code to use RPA?

Knowing how to code will give you a better understanding of what is happening in the background but with most RPA tools this is not required.  The whole purpose of RPA is to make building automation easier for people who don't know how to write traditional computer code.

Can RPA work 24 hours a day?

Yes.  Most RPA tools should allow for a "looping" or "repeat" type functionality.  Once a loop is started it would be up to you to tell it when to to stop.  If you plan on letting RPA do work while you are away or sleeping then a greater degree of thought will need to be put into what the robot is trained to do.  For example, websites can go down periodically so you'll need to have a plan for what your robot should do when something like this happens.  Usually, you'd just instruct the robot to do what you yourself would do in the same situation.

What makes RPA different from other business tools?

One issue that you may notice with other tools is that they almost always require some form of repetitive interaction to make them work.  RPA is the only tool that solves this problem of repetitive interaction.

How is RPA different from AI?

RPA is designed to handle simple repetitive tasks while AI is designed to handle more complex tasks that involve some level of decision making capability.  The difference might be similar to a piano player versus a composer.  The chosen tool should be appropriate for the given task.

Will RPA remove the need for certain jobs?

This issue is still up for debate.  Some RPA tools are designed to need no human interaction while others are designed to be more of an assistive technology.  In both cases, the need for people to train robots will most certainly accelerate into the future.  The increased productivity from widespread use of RPA may be similar to the introduction of business tools like email or the internet.  Things changed radically but could anyone imagine not having the internet or email in today's workplace.