The RPA fans will probably disagree. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) has been hyped as a panacea for all business automation requirements. But it’s just a tool. It’s as much of a solution as a hammer is a solution for your new roofing requirements. Get excited about tools if you like, but focus on the problem and its solution. There is no single tool or technology that’ll automate all your business processes.
In the real world, RPA is great for automating tasks on legacy systems that don’t have a nice set of interfaces (APIs) behind the scenes for programmers to use. All you have left is the UI (user interface) that your users use day-to-day. And the only option to automate all that is something to sit there and do exactly what the users do with their keyboard and mouse. That’s the majority of what RPA does. It’s a bridge technology at best, and extremely kludgey at worst.
To create an efficient business process automation solution that closely fits the process it’s automating, you’ll need a diversity of tools and building blocks. And you’ll need to properly understand the problem you’re trying to solve (which is usual in itself).
Jump in and throw a technology at the problem at your peril, even if it’s the flavour of the moment with the folks on the golf course.
JFDI is technology agnostic. We don’t get hung up on tools or technologies. RPA is just one of the many tools, chosen for their appropriateness to solve specific challenges, that we use to create effective business process automation systems.
Jon is JFDI’s Director of Research & Development. He’s been a consultant for over 30 years, making computers do clever things for 40 years, playing with electronics for even longer, and fixing problems with bits of technology for as long as he can remember. He’s also been a freelance writer since 1988, including as Contributing Editor of PC Pro Magazine.