Why your business needs RPA – robotic process automation

You might be surprised to learn that Eagle360 is a robotics company. In fact, we’ve been using software robots (or ‘bots’) for some time now to provide robotic process automation (RPA) to partners large and small.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines a robot as “a mechanical self-controlling apparatus designed to carry out a specific task, which would normally be performed by a human”, but with all due respect, that’s a little out of date: software robots aren’t mechanical. Still, they’ve been with us for some time, and they’re finally coming into their own.

A typical RPA solution uses pattern recognition algorithms to input, collect and process data. Banks, telcos and insurance companies have been early adopters, but the technology is now mature enough to be suitable for organisations of all sizes and across all industries.

Benefits of RPA

RPA bots perform repetitive tasks that would otherwise be performed by humans. They function 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they don’t get sick or tired.

Tasks that would normally require team members to work across multiple applications and systems can now be processed faster and with no human intervention. Mostly, RPA bots run in the background, quietly compiling, sharing, notifying and analysing data, so it’s ready for human use.

They also reduce business costs and operational risks and can usually be deployed alongside existing systems. Critically, they can significantly improve the customer experience, by providing accurate and up-to-date information, resolving simple transactions, and freeing staff to deal personally with more complex customer requests and interactions.

Our RPA solution: Microsoft Power Automate

We use Microsoft Power Automate to manage processes that don’t need human intervention, for example, getting the different apps in a business workflow to communicate and share information.

It works with Microsoft apps such as Dynamics 365, Sharepoint, Outlook, OneDrive and Teams. It also integrates with more than 100 other apps and services, including Dropbox, Twitter, Instagram, MailChimp, Salesforce, WordPress and many more.

Power Automate allows businesses to create intelligent, automated workflows quickly and securely, boosting productivity and freeing workers to concentrate on strategic, high-value opportunities, not repetitive manual tasks. You can download Power Automate templates from Microsoft in a range of categories including:

  • Approval
  • Button
  • Data collection
  • Email
  • Vision
  • Events and calendar
  • Mobile
  • Notifications
  • Productivity
  • Social media
  • Sync

There is also a huge collection of pre-designed workflows on offer. Examples include:

  • Trigger a flow with a Power BI data-driven alert: linking Power BI and a custom action
  • Sync new OneDrive Files to Google Drive Files: linking OneDrive and Google Drive
  • Create tasks in Planner for new Outlook tasks: linking Outlook Tasks to Planner, Office 365 Users and Office 365 Outlook
  • Request manager approval for a selected item: linking SharePoint, Office 365 Users, Notifications, Approvals and Mail

It’s also quick and easy to create new automated workflows; Power Automate includes an easy-to-use graphical interface that allows you to select your starting point, actions and through a series of drop-down menus.

Rise of the robots?

Science fiction author Isaac Asimov famously created the “three laws of robotics” in the 1942 short story Runaround. They’ve become a staple of sci-fi and real science alike:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Our Power Automate robots are ready to assist your business, and they’re fully compliant with Asimov’s laws – so you needn’t worry about them taking over your business. Maybe that’ll be in the next version …

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