Many companies believe that process automation is a disruptive and expensive exercise. Here’s a way to leverage market-leading automation technologies without blowing your budget or losing existing software assets.
Automation technologies are powerful business tools. Today, it’s possible to build software robots, digital forms, workflows and other tools that reduce manual work, save time and reduce costs. But how do businesses achieve these goals without disrupting existing systems and incurring substantial development costs?
One digital business trend that continues to build momentum is the democratisation of technology. While this approach has been making waves in the enterprise software market for a few years already, it remains a key priority – and it’s not surprising that Gartner has listed the democratisation of technology as one of the “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020”.
Given the demand for more user-friendly technologies, many enterprise software vendors have been focused on delivering solutions that allow companies of all sizes to meet their business optimisation goals swiftly and efficiently, without the need for expensive and disruptive IT change projects. One area where democratisation adds a lot of value is in the field of process automation. Here, technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and digital process automation (DPA) are making it much simpler for companies to automate repetitive tasks, connect data systems and streamline processes for increased operational efficiency.
At Velocity IT, we often combine the unique capabilities of RPA and DPA to deliver cost-efficient business optimisation solutions that synchronise well with existing software frameworks.
Why leverage RPA?
Many businesses understand that RPA software robots can automate easily repeatable and definable tasks to reduce human error and achieve greater process speed and accuracy. What they may not realise, however, is that RPA also provides organisations with the ability to integrate task automation tools with existing legacy systems in an extremely efficient and affordable way.
Because RPA robots operate at the user interface (as a human employee would), they can seamlessly and securely log into multiple systems to access and update data without the need for a developer to programme any integration points. In other words, RPA tools do not rely on application interface (API) integrations to work across a business’s existing systems.
As discussed in this article , API integrations allow applications to access the features and data of enterprise systems such as SAP, Salesforce, SharePoint Online, QuickBooks, Outlook and much, much more. However, the process of setting up numerous integration points can be extremely time-consuming and costly. This is due to the fact that API integrations involve hard-coding; and therefore rely heavily on specialist IT skills for programming, testing and maintenance.
Luckily, RPA makes API-free integration possible.
Using RPA as opposed to API integration removes these development costs and reduces the solution delivery cycle.
This is ideal for many types of organisations, including those that rely on a wide range of older, well-established legacy systems that simply do not offer API integration layers. Here, RPA software robots can act as the brokers between these systems, avoiding the need for costly, complex and disruptive integration projects.
Extending RPA’s capabilities with DPA
DPA platforms provide the tools to streamline the way that an entire process is managed. Users can, for example, digitally map a process and identify areas for improvement, before developing applications, digital forms and automated workflows to manage this process digitally. And once the application is up-and-running, DPA technology provides insights into process performance and other analytics, providing direction – where necessary – for further process optimisation.
DPA can democratize the application development environment further through the provision of graphical interfaces, drag-and-drop tooling and templates. These features allow developers and even tech-savvy users to create forms and workflows in a few easy steps, with minimal need for coding.
Therefore, by combining RPA and low-code DPA, businesses can cater for a much wider range of process transformation projects.
To this end, Velocity IT often combines the API-free integration and task automation capabilities of UiPath’s RPA platform with the process orchestration and low-code development tools of K2’s DPA platform. These systems complement each other well, creating a truly user-friendly, agile and cost-efficient environment for automation.
Example use case
Velocity IT recently developed a solution for a client that automates the process of creating a new project extimate for new clients. This combines UiPath and K2 technology; and features API-free integrations with multiple enterprise systems including QuickBooks, HubSpot and Outlook.
In summary, this solution:
- Runs from a proposal dashboard interface built on the K2 platform, where a user can add a request for a new estimate.
- This triggers an automated estimate creation process executed by a UiPath software robot.
- First, the robot automatically logs into QuickBooks to create a new estimate file with the customer details, cost line items and so forth; which is downloaded as a PDF and saved to the backend where it can be accessed by salespeople as required.
- The robot then logs out of QuickBooks and logs into a HubSpot CRM system to create a new deal – updating the deal stage, total value and close date.
- Once complete, the robot logs out of HubSpot and logs into Outlook to email the estimate PDF to the client for review.
- The client can then choose to accept and sign the PDF or reject it.
- If the client rejects the estimate, the robot automatically deletes the estimate from QuickBooks and removes the deal from HubSpot.
To see this solution in action, download and watch our demo
The benefits of this approach
With this process automation strategy, your company can:
Save time and optimise development costs
As RPA technology doesn’t rely on time-consuming API integrations to connect systems, this type of solution can be configured quickly – and there’s no need to dedicate resources towards maintaining API integration code.
Because the RPA and DPA platforms integrate seamlessly with existing enterprise software, every deal can be tracked across multiple systems and updated in unison.
RPA and DPA technologies are designed for ease of use and swift scalability, so you can quickly adapt or scale this type of solution to meet future requirements. This level of process agility can be a key competitive advantage in many industries.