What Is Robotic Process Automation?
After many years of struggle on the part of UX designers, the concept that a person’s experience of using a product is as important as the product design itself is finally becoming table stakes within the enterprise business world. In fact, it is this higher level of design maturity that is empowering UX designers to embrace the creation of software robots to perform the labor-intensive processes that suck up so much of a user’s time and soul.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology to high-volume, repetitive tasks. When tasks encompass multiple digital systems, process transactions, or the manipulation of data, using a software robot to perform these tasks leads to increased efficiency and accuracy and reduces cycle time. Some examples of the types of tasks that are prime candidates for RPA include the following:
- claims processing
- requests for overdraft protection
- dispute resolution
- changes of address
- profile updates
This list could go on, but basically, what these tasks have in common is that they occur in high volume, are repetitious in nature, and are rule based. That last characteristic is very important because being rule based allows a software robot to be successful in consistently executing a task accurately.
Another attribute of all these tasks is that they are rather boring for human beings to perform constantly. Most employees don’t think executing such boring tasks is the best of use of their time. Simply visit a call center or a high-volume data center, and you’ll see overwhelming amounts of frustration about the rote nature of many tasks.
Plus, to be frank, designing user interfaces for such tasks is not the greatest challenge for a UX designer. Designing forms or repetitive screens and processes is not exactly why most designers got into the industry. Cutting a screen down from ten fields to five or making a user interface easy to use is pretty meaningless unless we also improve the underlying process. So designers don’t get a lot of value out of that kind of design work either.