Robotic process automation, or RPA, may or may not be something you are familiar with, due to the fact that while Australia is gradually increasing its adoption, it has predominantly seen most uptake in more mature technology landscapes like the USA, UK and Europe. Why is that you might wonder? One major reason is that these places are home to some of the world’s most large enterprises with an interest in investing in automation.
But Australia has slowly caught up thanks to the clear winning aspects of RPA to help streamline processes, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. We are also seeing more Government support for fostering technology and digital transformation, and a growing awareness of RPA benefits within industry – typically in finance, healthcare and telco.
In a world where technology is rapidly transforming how we work and interact, RPA emerges as a game-changer even for those who might not consider themselves tech-savvy. Robotic process automation works in varying business functions from data entry and file management to notifications and calculations. It is not exaggeration to say that RPA is reshaping the way we approach work, one automated task at a time! So, how might it work within your business and is it something you could easily implement? Well, we think so – with the right experience and tools at your disposal.
As such, in this blog we’ll ease into the implementation of RPA, with an introduction to Power Automate which is the Microsoft’s RPA offering and a crucial component of the Power Platform. We have worked with different automation engines in the past and it is fair to say there are several outstanding automation platforms in the market. However, what sets Microsoft apart and delivers the most significant value to our clients is the comprehensive nature of Power Platform, which we see as a strategic digital transformation platform. Let’s explore some of the reasons behind that.
What is Power Automate and why do we like it?
Firstly, of course, Power Automate is just one part of the Power Platform. This platform includes five major components: Power Pages, Power Apps, Power Virtual Agents, Power BI, and Power Automate. Power BI is for reporting and analytics, Power Virtual Agents are chatbots, Power Pages are for public-facing websites, Power Apps are customisable apps, and Power Automate is an automation platform.
The thing that makes Power Platform so versatile is that it basically operates as the backbone of all the apps, connecting them all. And sitting behind it is a database called Dataverse, which is based on Azure SQL Server. The best part? You don’t need to be a database administrator to maintain it! The platform also provides over 900 connectors that can provide connections and interactions with other systems.
Sitting within that framework is Microsoft’s robotic process automation platform – Power Automate. Just like many other RPA platforms Power Automate uses software automations, or bots, to automate business processes. Any task with clearly defined and documentable steps are excellent candidates for automation. This frees up employees to focus on important human work like creative decision making and relationship building.
Digital Process Automation vs Robotic Process Automation
One of the other reasons we are big fans of the Microsoft Power Platform is because it offers our customers access to two distinct areas of automation.
The first is that we have cloud flows or Digital Process Automation (DPA) in the Power Platform. These run in the cloud and are available across several interfaces including power automate for web, for mobile, and for Microsoft Teams. Meaning that Microsoft takes care of all the scaling, high availability, and disaster recovery, so when it comes to business critical operations, you don’t have to worry about a thing.
The second type are desktop flows or Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which can be attended or unattended. These run on your desktop or server and can be kicked off or interacted with by a human. RPA uses software bots to emulate human interaction within a graphical user interface (GUI) to automate repetitive and manual tasks, saving businesses time, effort, and headaches. This type of automation is suitable for automating legacy apps that don’t support DPA APIs and connectors.
So, whether you need to build automations for your desktop or in the cloud, Microsoft Power Platform has got you covered with high-powered tools that simplify your work processes and keep your data secure.
Attended automation or unattended automation – what’s the difference?
One of the key things to understand though is the difference between unattended and attended modes – what exactly are they? And how do they affect your automation?
While the essential idea behind RPA is the same – it eliminates errors and repetitive front and back-office tasks – there are different methods to a good deployment strategy depending on your business needs.
Attended automation requires manual triggering of your robots to complete a specific activity. The robots are supervised by a human to tell them to perform the assigned repetitive tasks, while unattended automation empowers your robots to be triggered automatically for completing entire processes. This mode of automation operates independently of human intervention and is executed through rules-based processing.
In its simplest form, attended automation requires a human supervision while unattended automation does not.
What type of automation is right for my organisation?
Both Digital Process Automation and Robotic Process Automation solutions offer enterprise applications that provide multiple and far-reaching benefits to businesses. Something that can help you define what is right for your organisation is to look at what industry standard requirements are needed and how you would like your automation to be managed.
Carefully consider the best strategic advantage for your automation program to help you decide where cloud, desktop, unattended, attended, or hybrid automation fit.
If you think you’d like to see a bit more of the Power Platform and understand more about process automation, in particular RPA and how it’s helped other customers with creating a more efficient digital workplace, better cost management and more, then we would love to show you – get in touch!