Thanks to a multitude of benefits, robotic process automation (RPA) is quickly spreading across industries. Seemingly every day, new use cases and capabilities emerge, leading to what experts believe will be continued exponential market growth until at least 2027.
Naturally, this growth has increased the competitiveness of the market for RPA platforms. Businesses of all sizes looking to enhance their operations through unattended automation have a seemingly countless array of options from which to choose. While that comes with its own benefits, it also increases the chances of choosing a tool that doesn’t actually realize the benefits you expect.
That’s why we’ve built this guide. When in the market for robotic process automation, look for these seven core features to ensure that your platform of choice will help you build business efficiencies and growth.
The ability to automate processes is only as effective as the distance it can spread across systems. The more comprehensively your RPA platform integrates with third-party apps, the more relevant its data, analytics, and actions will become.
No system is perfect, of course. Chances are that there are at least some apps with which your platform will not be able to integrate. Looking to find the maximum possible number is key, and so is choosing a tool that can still grow its integrations depending on user needs, increasing its effectiveness over time.
Robotic process automation is, at its core, a switch from tasks that would otherwise be performed by humans to computer-based operation. For instance, a chatbot can take the place of a human representative in effectively answering questions and solving challenges with minimal human intervention.
That task, on the other hand, only works if the RPA platform responsible for these tasks can easily read, understand, and analyze the way we talk and write. In other words, natural language processing (NLP) is a core piece of the equation for any tool you’re looking to implement.
NLP also matters anytime the processes to be automated involve taking in data from unstructured sources. At its best, it learns continually, improving its ability to understand these data inputs and maximizing the opportunities for automation over time.
Through integrations and NLP, your RPA platform takes in the data it needs. But naturally, no tool built to automate tasks can be complete without the ability to effectively analyze that data and turn it into both insights and actions following those insights that improve your business processes.
The ability to perform those data analytics varies widely depending on the platform you choose. However, it should always allow you to easily see its outcomes, with dashboards and a user interface (more on that below) that allows even non-data scientists to draw conclusions and make relevant business decisions.
In the modern business environment, security is everything. Organizations lose billions of revenue, and untold amounts of credibility, to cyberattacks every year. The ability to protect sensitive data is therefore absolutely crucial for any platform built to manage it, including your RPA tool.
Within the world of RPA, security means keeping your sensitive data sensitive. Compliance with data regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and SOC is absolutely vital. For larger teams, a comprehensive permissions structure prevents unauthorized access, Keeping your organization’s and customers’ data safe at all times.
At its core, robotic process automation consists of workflows that a tool can execute on its own, without the need for human input. RPA workflows can be simple if-then tasks, or more complex, non-linear, multi-step processes designed to solve key business functions. Each has an important place in the process of streamlining operations and maximizing efficiency.
Those workflows, of course, do have to be built into the platform to start. Ideally, that process will not require the help of a systems engineer but can be accomplished easily by anyone with the right permissions. In other words, building automated workflows for the RPA bot to execute should be a core piece of the platform you look to implement.
Similar to the ability to easily build custom workflows, RPA is at its best when the users interacting with the platform are able to intuitively find what they’re looking for and accomplish the tasks that cannot be automated. The interface, in other words, plays a central role in the platform’s ability to succeed.
Take a helpdesk with an integrated chatbot as an example. Built right and with the right technology behind it, the bot is able to answer most questions posed without the need for human input. When it doesn’t, human representatives should be able to easily jump in on the console, answering questions and filing responses to improve the bot’s responses over time.
The final feature any RPA platform should possess goes almost without saying: naturally, it needs to be able to have strong AI and machine learning technology behind it. After all, automation is never static; at its best, it builds itself over time, continually improving and learning from available inputs to maximize its effectiveness.
Judging this feature in isolation can be tough. In your search for the right platform, look for specific examples that showcase this underlying ability. A native helpdesk that is able to continually drive down the need for human intervention, for instance, showcases this underlying ability to learn and self-improve.
Combined, these seven features can significantly filter the RPA platform options you have to implement in your business. There are some, however, that will include all of them. We consider Capacity not just among them, but at or near the top. In fact, we pride ourselves on having built a platform that is both comprehensive and easy to implement.