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You may already be using RPA but are you missing out on something?

Payeli Ghosh

Choose the right automation platform. Look for Single Stack capability.

Yes, we know what Intelligent Automation (also can be read as RPA++) can do or should be doing. There are several year-end reports from renowned analysts firms reconfirming and reassuring that RPA is not dead. There are valid data points to reiterate the huge potential the automation industry has. Well, a sigh of relief for a business who is eager to automate and transform, also for the vendors who cater to these requirements and the end-users who dream to have a career in this industry.

But in none of the reports, anyone is listing the deeper technical details on how true automation can be achieved with the power of the right technology.

Yes, we all are saying, it has to be AI-driven, intelligent, etc. But exactly what does it mean? And how should the platform look like?

Here is a technical view of what it finally boils down to.

Question 1: Does the automation platform have these capabilities?

1. Automation capabilities: Most of the RPA players started with UI based automation. But many have moved forward and can automate other technologies, beyond UI. But only handful (in my knowledge hardly 2–3 players) have web-based automation platform. And amongst them, very few players have the right architecture and technology to offer cloud-based automation and also cater to on-demand ‘elastic scaling’ kind of capability.

Points to remember: Can the tool automate across all technologies? Is it Easy to use? Is it Web-based?

2. Document Processing capabilities: Automation tool without document processing capability is a fact of the past. Today Document Processing is a MUST-HAVE feature. So, most of the players are adopting this capability but we need to check if the document processing ability is rule-based or tightly integrated with AI capabilities. Many of them also integrate with expensive advanced OCRs to cover up their missing ML capabilities. So it adds to the cost. SO, choose a platform that does document processing using ML and NLP capabilities.

3. AI-Based Cognitive Decision making capabilities: Extremely few players have this capability. Very few have AI feature and even if they have, they have restricted to Document processing only.

But in my knowledge, only 1–2 players have the ability to train your BOT on the go. This is a key feature to make your BOT perform tasks and processes that need intelligence and human-like decision-making capabilities, without putting a humongous effort to train them with past data.

4. Built-in Data Interface & HIL (human-in-the-Loop) capabilities: Good news is everyone in the industry has realized the importance of HIL for successful automation. HIL is required for managing exceptions, reconfirming the extraction of data and approvals. But most of the players do a custom-built HIL. And again few exceptional players have integrated Machine learning in HIL

5. Full-fledged analytics and big data capabilities: Only players who have single stack automation hub capability have the full-fledged analytics platform integrated with their automation. Please take the time to investigate further if their analytics have a big data platform that enables huge data storage and processing ability. And believe me, ideally, you don’t need huge infrastructure or extravagant licensing costs to avail of this feature.

Question 2: If yes, are these capabilities inbuilt? Or are they randomly borrowed /bought?

If the above-listed capabilities are in-built, the user experience will be seamless and automation would be robust and high performing. If the 3rd party capabilities are used and integrated, then there is an additional effort to custom build the integration layer. Also, there could be challenges in terms of handshaking the technology stacks of the parent product and the 3rd party tool. Additionally, any 3rd party or custom-built application can have performance issues while transferring and transitioning data and information with the parent tool.

Question 3: Why are all these required as a Single Stack Hub?

Most of the benefits are obvious as stated in the previous question. But there is more to that… will share the same in the next blog.

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