What is robotic process automation?

Have you ever found yourself spending a significant amount of time on the computer completing manual, low-value tasks that require more work from your hands than your brain? It may be time to consider using robotic process automation software (RPA).

RPA can be leveraged across almost any manual, repetitive process, regardless of department, business function, or industry. By removing mundane and routine tasks from the workload, people have more time to dedicate to other creative and valuable efforts.

With the right technology and resources, your processes can be running efficiently in a matter of hours.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

RPA is a software technology that allows for the automation of simple or complex computer-based business processes.

Automation is achieved by deploying software that has been trained with a set of rule-based instructions (referred to as scripts or botflows) on the exact mouse motions, keystrokes, and logic underlying a given task.

RPA software mimics exactly what a human would do, but at a much faster rate and without human error.

(Yes, that endless spreadsheet can be completed in a matter of seconds.)

What it is not

Think of RPA as humans and bots working together, whereas AI has a mind of its own.

Automation software like RPA is fully user-defined. While intuitive, RPA is not considered AI since it does not work outside its clearly defined principles. There is no organic decision-making, only rule-following.

Consider it an extension of your team, doing the heavy lifting when it comes to data manipulation and updating systems of record.

How RPA works

Imagine the hours spent on report generation, migrations or mergers, data entry, and maintenance, or integrating clunky legacy systems with other formats. Then consider the checkpoints in place to reduce the inevitable number of errors.

RPA is designed to automate exactly that. Those highly repetitive, rule-driven, analytical tasks, and processes are perfect RPA candidates. And the process is completed accurately every time.

“This is accomplished by programming a desktop RPA interface that you can ‘teach’ to mimic clicks and keystrokes to replicate a human typing information into various fields, access systems, compile information in spreadsheets, or transfer data between disparate systems.”

Nearly all businesses will be able to find computer-based, manual processes related to HR, sales & marketing, accounting & finance, operations, purchasing & inventory, or IT & security that can be automated with RPA.

“Whether the task uses desktop apps, web apps, Excel workbooks, PDF forms, terminal emulators, or a combination of several different application sources, the RPA system will be able to jump from source to source to complete the automated task.”

Who can use RPA?

Let’s go ahead and eliminate the misconception that RPA is solely meant to be used by IT professionals and programmers. Part of the software’s rising popularity is that anyone can start using an RPA software solution with minimal training.

It is meant to be intuitive, so if you understand the process yourself, you can teach the software to emulate repetitive actions (think clicks, not code).

Leveraging intelligent automation with RPA

RPA delivers operational efficiency, time savings and substantial cost reduction quickly. RPA solutions drive better accuracy, improved employee and customer experience, and ensure regulatory and standards compliance by producing accurate results. And as more processes are identified as candidates for RPA, the higher ROI.

If you are wondering how to implement rapid automation in your business, consider these processes relevant to RPA:

Financial services

Implement automation solutions to perform mass customer account maintenance, monitor and flag accounts for suspicious activity, issue credit cards, open or close checking accounts, and more.


Process loans and payment plans, automatically update accounts, scrape data to find interest due, execute batch transactions between banks and mortgage companies.


Perform regular file and system backups, migrate data from legacy systems quickly and precisely, test new software, automate IT staff notifications for consistent monitoring, among others.

Employee data management

Leverage botflows to process payroll checks, automate leave request notifications, perform audit trails, and automatically add and delete employee information in your HR system.



Experience the true Power of Process® when you combine RPA with digital process automation (DPA) for complete, end-to-end automation on the Nintex Process Platform. Click here to request a demo.



Annie McIntosh

As a member of the Nintex Corporate Marketing team, Annie McIntosh spends her time creating content and delivering great experiences for Nintex customers and partners.

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