We know that companies find themselves in an environment characterized by increased competition, and consequently, the effort of companies must try to ensure that their management adapts as quickly as possible to the changes we are experiencing, trying to achieve the highest possible performance, or at least a satisfactory performance, from the opportunities offered by the digital transformation process in which we are immersed.

To do this, it is advisable to carry out the best practices to develop effective decision making, to reduce errors in manual activities and increase the efficiency of the organization.

One of the best ways to achieve this, with which we can obtain great benefits and optimize each of the processes, is through the correct adoption of the tools that Business Process Automation (BPA) makes available.

Among the most current technologies within BPA solutions is Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

RPA is a tool that does not interfere with installed systems; on the contrary, it enhances their capabilities, making it the perfect complement to ERP software, because it enhances and modernizes it.

It is important to know more about:
  • What is Robotic Process Automation?
  • How is RPA and ERP integrated?
  • Basic functionalities and benefits of RPA.
What is RPA?

RPA is defined as the technological process of intelligent automation in which a software robot is used to perform repetitive digital tasks, through interaction with information systems, web pages and any application used by the company, just as humans do.

Basically, it is a technology that allows the design of robot software so that, through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, observes the digital actions that the worker executes, learns and executes quickly with 100% accuracy each of the repetitive tasks in certain processes of the organization, which reaches a special relevance in the framework of the digital transformation processes that companies are undertaking.

How RPA and ERP are integrated

For its part, the ERP is the management system that centralizes, automates and optimizes the management of the processes of each area of the company through its value chain, linking and coordinating globally the data flow of the entire organization. In addition, it stores and provides online data on what is happening internally in the company.

But in certain cases, such as in the entry of certain data and transactions, in the execution of programs, or when it is desired to reuse information, or when extracting reports, the participation of people is required, as part of the process itself or as a simple bridge between the ERP and other applications. In this context, RPA is an ideal complement to ERP software, because it integrates the functions for the effective automation of each of the tasks and processes in which, traditionally, human intervention and interaction is required. For example, in:
  • Supplier selection, in credit verification, material selection, etc.
  • In the evaluation of the experience and skills of employees, as well as the processing of documents and data of the various candidates for a position.
  • Payroll creation and calculation and payment processing.
When RPA and ERP are integrated, complete process automation is achieved.

What processes does RPA handle?

The Robotic Process Automation has the ability to act in each of the administrative or operational processes of the company, especially those with the following characteristics:
  • Processes that are based on logical rules, i.e., processes in which human judgment or capacity for analysis and evaluation is minimal or are based on predictable constraints and alternatives.
  • Repetitive processes, i.e., those that are executed at certain intervals (with schedules), have a specific trigger and have specific inputs and outputs.
  • Processes with a high volume of tasks and which are not subject to continuous change.
For example, order and invoice processing, electronic fund or information transfers, financial report extraction, e-mail analysis, data extraction, system activation, data entry or filling in almost any application, etc.

Specific characteristics of RPA

RPA typically employs AI to simulate the way a human being interacts with different software, such as ERP for internal business processes or CRM for customer relationship management.

Therefore, it has the following characteristics:
  • It is able to manage uncertainty about the actions or decisions that the employee will take, it has artificial vision and understands the commands or buttons presented by an application.
  • It integrates with enterprise applications, such as database systems, human resources, financial and accounting systems. Above all, with comprehensive management systems, e.g., RPA and ERP.
  • It is scalable. Robotic Process Automation can be implemented according to the companies' own pace, being able to add software when necessary and allowing the disincorporation of robots when the workload decreases.
  • Manage data. A robot software is a digital assistant for the extraction, manipulation and use of data. For example, it can open applications or web pages, copy data and paste it into another system for reporting.
  • It manages customer and claims information. You can automatically access and update customer information. In addition, it quickly delivers it to the human team so that they can provide an excellent customer experience. It also detects and handles complaints.
  • It handles exceptions. If the robot software detects any problems or exceptional cases in the estimates it makes, in the claims it detects or in the information it handles, it notifies the employee and sends it to them for review.
Main benefits of RPA

Normally, technological changes implemented in a company offer visible positive results in the medium term. But by adopting RPA and ERP technologies, certain benefits can be obtained almost immediately, regardless of the size of the company.

The main benefits are:
  • Cost savings. Robotic Process Automation technology reduces operating expenses because it completes repetitive and tedious tasks that take up a large part of the staff's work. Therefore, it reduces the cost of assigning human personnel to these tasks.
  • Total fulfillment of objectives. Thanks to the robot software, tasks and processes are accomplished with high precision and surprising speed, always with quality results. It offers continuous 24-hour operation, ensuring high data reliability and full coverage of tasks that may be missed by human intervention.
  • Increased quality and error reduction. It has the ability to perform and complete tasks that involve repetitions and manipulation of a large volume of data, without the need for human intervention or support. Therefore, delays, omissions and errors due to data entry or employee fatigue disappear. Accuracy is drastically increased and the result in each process is of higher quality.
  • Savings and better use of time. Robotic process automation performs the most monotonous or low-value tasks, freeing up a large percentage of employee time. This helps the workforce to focus their efforts, attention and time on activities of greater relevance or value to the company.
RPA and ERP: perfect alliance

When RPA and ERP are integrated, it is possible to automate repetitive and high volume tasks that normally need to be solved by the work team, because they require human decision or interaction for their solution or execution.

This is because Robotic Process Automation has the ability to mimic human behavior, entering or extracting data, executing commands and moving information or files between different applications. It is highly effective in executing fully defined tasks in both administrative and operational processes, without errors, with security and reducing costs.

Consequently, the combination of RPA and ERP software enables the company to achieve maximum efficiency, increase its value and exploit its full capacity.