Thursday, 28 June 2018 11:49

FULL VIDEO: Robotic Process Automation and why modern companies need the benefits

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Robotic Process Automation is the new way for companies to automate in a modern fashion, while freeing up employees to work on more meaningful tasks.

Last month, the co-founder of Automation Anywhere, Ankur Kothari, visited Australia to share his insights into what RPA is, and how it can benefit companies in Australia – as well as visiting key customers and meeting the media.

During a breakfast event for the IT media, Kothari spoke smoothly and naturally on the topic, as you'd expect, giving a great presentation, with questions and answers posed and answered on the fly.

He spoke about how Australia compares to other countries in the adoption of RPA technologies, the key challenges businesses face in Australia when it comes to implementing automation technologies and the growth potential for RPA as users turn away from more traditional business process automation systems.

So, how has automation technology evolved, and why did Kothari feel the need to co-found the company?

Well, we can start with the fact that automation technology is continuing to gain momentum across industry sectors far and wide, leading to the opportunity to streamline manual tasks, improve efficiency and allow employees to distribute their focus to work on more meaningful tasks.

If you think of all the things technology has done for us, be in in farming, through to word processing and even the way the smartphone has subsumed so many different individual gadgets into one device, it clearly comes as no surprise that manual processes in offices have continued on their automation journey, too.

Among other companies seeking to offer similar solutions, Automation Anywhere is driving this shift to and through RPA technologies.

Now, lest you think that Automation Anywhere is a recent start-up, capitalising on the trend for start-ups and the desire to become a unicorn, and then applying an exit strategy that will blast the founders into orbit with a trillion dollars on a journey with Elon Musk to Mars and the outer planets, you'll be pleased to know this is not the case.

The reality is that Automation Anywhere has operated for 14 years, and now has more than 1000 large enterprise customers and offices around the world, including Australia.

Plenty more on Automation Anywhere is below, so please read on, but in the meantime, here is the video of Kothari's presentation:

What led to the company's founding?

The company was founded after noticing that "after many years of automation technology existing, most companies were still doing work manually, rather than using the automation technology available to them".

It's one of those times when you see all this technology at work, and yet fundamental processes seemed to have missed out.

Rise of the bots

So, with the cost of a bot being "one ninth the cost of a person on-shore to complete the same task and one third of a person completing the task offshore", this technology "enhances the way businesses are able to do work, shifting employees to more meaningful work while allowing bots to run more mundane tasks".

It's simple, but true, and after 14 years, the bots of today are far more modern and capable than they've ever been in the past.

This has culminated in Automation Anywhere launching its new "Bot Store", billed as "the world’s first online marketplace for off-the-shelf, plug-n-play software bots that accelerate business process automation".

Just like other famous app stores out there for smartphones, there are plenty of apps — or in this case bots — on offer.

The Bot Store has prebuilt bots from Automation Anywhere and will feature bots from strategic partners EY, Genpact and others. It introduces a deployment model that dramatically shortens the time to value for business process automation initiatives.

In just two months since launch, the number of bots in the Bot Store has doubled.

We're told that "the most popular bot category is artificial intelligence with 24 bots and the speech-to-text bot leads the way in downloads. The most common business process is finance and accounting, with the 'allocate payments against outstanding invoices' the most visited bot, while SAP is the most prevalent application with 31 bots listed".

"Until now, partners and developers offered bots that either automate repetitive business processes or provide API integrations with leading enterprise applications and AI platforms using the Automation Anywhere Enterprise RPA platform.

"With the addition of the Automation Anywhere IQ Bot, developers and partners can now offer native computer vision, natural language processing, and machine learning capabilities. Several partners and developers have already contributed pre-trained, cognitive bots to automate document-centric processes.

"Examples of IQ Bot-enabled processes in the Bot Store include those that can automate utility bills, bank statements, standard settlement instructions, explanation of benefits, 1040 forms and W4 forms".

All of these bots run on Automation Anywhere's Enterprise platform and excitingly, "can be snapped together like LEGO blocks to automate complex business processes".

Damian Jankowski, chief operating officer at Ataway, said: “We are excited to take our process automation expertise to the market through cognitive bots in the Bot Store.

“Our clients in Latin America and the US will now be able to accelerate automation in areas like invoice processing and suppliers’ management with IQ Bot.”

Abhijit Kakhandiki, senior vice-president, Products and Engineering at Automation Anywhere, said: "Since its launch two months ago, the Bot Store has seen unprecedented growth in both visitors and downloads.

“The ability to develop and offer cognitive bots now enable more business processes to be automated, further accelerating our customers’ digital transformations.”

So, Automation Anywhere has been automating a lot of processes for business globally over many years, and in 2018, the advancements, technologies, opportunities, solutions and enhanced business potential and productivity has never been greater.

As I like to remind myself and us all, these developments sit upon the shoulders of the giants that came before us, and are the shoulders upon which future developments are being built, showing how the best is still yet to come.

If you belong to a company or organisation that could benefit from modern automation, then no doubt the folks at Automation Anywhere would love to show you what's possible today, so check their website out, and for more, please watch the video above.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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