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What is Robotic Process Automation? Definition, Use Cases and Advantages

Author: SimplilearnTime: 2024-01-24 07:10:00

Table of Contents

Introduction to Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is transforming how businesses operate by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. RPA uses software bots to mimic human actions and complete rules-based processes quickly and accurately.

In this blog post, we will explore what RPA is, how it works, the tools used, the benefits it provides, industries adopting it, and its growth potential.

Definition of RPA

RPA is the use of software tools to automate high-volume, repetitive tasks in business processes. The software bots are configured with rules that allow them to interact with applications in the same way human users do. RPA bots can open email and attachments, log into web/enterprise applications, move files, extract and enter data, fill in forms, read and write to databases, etc. The bots follow pre-defined business rules and steps mimicking human-application interactions.

Common Misconceptions About RPA

There are some common misconceptions about what RPA can and cannot do:

  • RPA bots do not have artificial intelligence - they cannot make decisions or judgments
  • RPA cannot fully replace humans or replicate human cognitive abilities
  • RPA bots do not have a physical robot form - they are software programs
  • RPA augments human capabilities rather than replaces jobs entirely

Working of RPA

Implementing RPA typically involves four key phases:

Planning Phase

The planning phase involves identifying processes for automation, selecting pilot processes, estimating potential benefits, and finalizing the implementation approach.

Development Phase

The development phase includes configuring bots, building automation workflows, and integrating bots with applications needed to complete the processes.

Deployment and Testing Phase

In the deployment and testing phase, bots are deployed in a test environment and thoroughly evaluated to uncover any unexpected errors or outages.

Support and Maintenance Phase

The support and maintenance phase ensures bots continue functioning smoothly. Bots are updated as needed when applications or processes change.

RPA Tools Used for Automation

RPA software tools are critical for building and deploying bots. Some popular RPA tools include:

  • UiPath - One of the top RPA platforms with advanced features

  • Automation Anywhere - Offers cognitive bots with AI capabilities

  • Blue Prism - Provides a scalable, secure RPA solution

  • Pega - Combines RPA with other technologies like AI and analytics

  • WorkFusion - Integrates RPA with other automation capabilities

  • Redwood - Focused on core RPA functionality and ease of use

Benefits of RPA Adoption

RPA offers significant benefits that drive its adoption across industries:

Quality Improvement

RPA bots perform processes consistently without human errors. This reduces operational risks and improves output quality.

Enhanced Delivery

RPA can decrease processing times and handle higher volumes to enhance speed and flexibility. This boosts customer satisfaction.

Cost Reduction

RPA increases efficiency and productivity allowing the same work to be done with less human effort. This directly reduces labor costs.

Industries Adopting RPA Services

Many industries are turning to RPA to streamline operations including:

  • Banking and finance for processes like report generation and loan processing

  • Insurance for claims processing and underwriting

  • Healthcare for patient record management and billing

  • IT and telecom for network maintenance and helpdesk tasks

  • Retail for inventory control and order processing

  • Manufacturing for production planning and quality control

Growth Potential of RPA

The RPA market has seen tremendous growth since 2016. According to McKinsey, RPA could impact over 230 million knowledge workers and deliver $5-7 trillion in value by 2025.

Any labor-intensive industry stands to benefit from RPA by enhancing productivity and cutting costs. The market is expected to keep expanding as more companies launch digital transformation initiatives.

Quiz - Identify the Incorrect RPA Use Case

Now that we've explored RPA, here's a quick quiz. Which of these is NOT a typical RPA use case?

  1. Email query processing

  2. Data extraction

  3. Image recognition

  4. Payroll processing

The answer is 3) Image recognition. RPA bots cannot interpret images like humans can. The other options are well-suited processes to automate with RPA.


RPA is transforming business operations in every industry by automating repetitive, rules-based processes. It delivers efficiency, quality, speed, and cost benefits while allowing employees to focus on higher-value work.

The growth of RPA highlights the opportunities for increased productivity and competitive advantage through automation. Businesses need to assess where RPA can augment human capabilities as part of a forward-looking digital strategy.


Q: What is the definition of RPA?
A: RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. It is the use of software tools to automate high volume, repetitive tasks that previously required humans to perform.

Q: What are some common misconceptions about RPA?
A: Some common misconceptions are that RPA is a physical robot, can replace human critical thinking, or has a brain of its own to perform logical functions.

Q: What are the four main phases in the working of RPA?
A: The four main phases are: planning, development, deployment & testing, and support & maintenance.

Q: What are some popular RPA tools used by companies?
A: Some popular RPA tools are: UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, WorkFusion, Pega, and Redwood.

Q: What industries are adopting RPA services?
A: Industries like banking, IT, HR, insurance, marketing & sales, and customer service are adopting RPA.

Q: What is the predicted economic impact of RPA by 2025?
A: As per McKinsey's research, RPA could have an economic impact of $5-7 trillion by 2025.

Q: Which RPA use case is incorrect?
A: Image recognition is not an RPA use case. RPA focuses more on process automation rather than cognitive functions.

Q: What are the benefits of RPA adoption?
A: Benefits include improved quality, faster delivery, reduced costs, and higher ROI.

Q: How can companies adopt RPA services?
A: Companies can get certified RPA developers to build automation workflows or work with RPA vendors to deploy solutions.

Q: What is the future growth potential of RPA services?
A: RPA service adoption has been growing rapidly and will continue beyond 2020 as per industry reports.