When you think of bots, you may think of fake followers or spam, or why a multi-billion dollar takeover bid went bad. But there’s another type of bot — one that’s welcomed within companies — silently plugging along in the back office with little fanfare. And they’re not out to replace us. They’re only here to make our workdays less monotonous by knocking out all those mind-numbing tasks no one, if they’re being honest, really enjoys doing.
These little helpers are born out of robotic process automation, or RPA, a software technology that programs “virtual bots” with specific rules or scripts so they can tackle simple, repetitive, often back-office actions (like, say, copy and paste, program login and data migration). While humans are more than capable of pointing, clicking and dragging, the monotony of spending all day doing something like pulling data from various spreadsheets and documents often prevents us from doing what we do best — thinking critically and creatively. It can even lead to burnout.
Top Robotic Process Automation Companies
- Automation Anywhere
- Blue Prism
- Cyclone Robotics
Robotic Process Automation Is Transforming the Workplace
RPA-powered bots are assisting workforces in a number of industries, ranging from financial services to healthcare. Return on investment is often high, and integration within existing workflows is fairly simple, since RPA is able to imitate how humans work within various apps and programs, doing what we don’t want to do more efficiently and without the negative consequences.
As a result, adoption of RPA technology is only expected to increase, as these software robots continue to free teams up to work on higher-value projects and initiatives. In 2021, the RPA market was valued at $1.89 billion, according to a Grand View Research report, and is forecasted to increase by more than 38 percent year over year until 2030.
What Is Robotic Process Automation?
While Forrester is predicting a “flattening” in market growth of RPA software beginning in 2023, they do expect rapid growth in RPA services, TechCrunch reports. That means more individual companies will shift resources to managing and maintaining RPA bots and platform infrastructure through consulting, development and other services, instead of software. Also fueling that shift is a move toward AI, with some RPA companies already expanding capabilities by integrating more intelligent automation and machine learning methods.
With more intelligence, RPA is poised to increase automation across industries, expanding from the back office to direct interaction with customers. Even today, RPA and conversational AI tools are working together to provide real-time, in-call guidance to customer service agents. In the future, RPA and other chatbots are expected to join forces to further automate and improve customer experience.
While RPA companies are preparing to take even more off our plates in the future, the work these bots are doing today is having a big impact. Here are some current examples of how robotic process automation companies are helping organizations automate workflows and support their teams.
Examples of Robotic Process Automation
Location: McLean, Virginia
Appian’s RPA works with AI and intelligent document processing to help organizations comply with environmental, social and governance initiatives. Massive amounts of data across departments is automatically ingested by Appian’s RPA, which then identifies opportunity areas to further meet ESG standards.
Location: Köln, Germany
Automaited’s RPA technology analyzes an organization’s administrative workflow and identifies the repetitive tasks to automate, such as extracting and transferring document data. The RPA software is able to scrape table rows of data — say, from Excel spreadsheets and other sources — and quickly transfer it into an organization’s enterprise resource planning system.
Location: San Jose, California
Automation Anywhere has nearly 2.8 million bots working globally across banking, manufacturing and other industries. The bots handle tasks related to data processing and even quote generation for sales departments. At Bancolombia, a large financial institution in South America serving more than 14 million clients, Automation Anywhere’s bots are working alongside human counterparts, taking on many of the repetitive tasks required in credit review, collections, clearance and settlement, capital markets and international business processes. After implementing RPA and intelligent automation capabilities, Bancolombia saved more than 100,000 human hours across its branches.
Location: London, England
Blue Prism, with its team of “intelligent digital workers,” is automating much of the behind-the-scenes HR work inherent in new-hire onboarding. Easily integrated with onboarding platforms like Workday and Oracle, Blue Prism’s digital assistants automate email, forms and calls, and improve multi-channel communication. For Santander, a global financial services organization based in Argentina, Blue Prism reduced onboarding time from six weeks to two days. While HR staff were relieved of some of the more tedious tasks on their to-do lists when hiring a new team member, Santander also found that its new onboarding process improved employee satisfaction and retention.
Location: Austin, Texas
BP3 works with companies like Walgreens, Boeing and eBay to optimize and automate business processes using RPA. During the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, BP3 worked with a healthcare organization to optimize the dose registration process, using RPA to automate and upload dose registration, so medical staff no longer had to.
Location: Shanghai, China
Cyclone Robotics is a China-based RPA firm that automates business processes across logistics, banking, government and e-commerce. For the Shanghai branch of the Postal Savings Bank, Cyclone Robotics used RPA to create an “intelligent assistant” for each employee. These new assistants took over many of the repetitive tasks that previously led to employee errors and have helped the bank save nearly 450 human hours each month. Cyclone Robotics is also using RPA intelligent robots to assist the finance department of Xingcheng Special Steel. The bots automate orders, receipts and invoicing, as well as product profit process analysis reporting.
Location: Edison, New Jersey
Datamatics’ RPA- and AI-powered Trubot helps media companies automate structured content generation and advertising. For improved search capabilities, Datamatics incorporates other deep learning methods, such as natural language processing, natural language generation, image processing and machine learning with its RPA technology to pull metadata — such as title, episode name and synopsis — from over-the-top (known as OTT) and archived content.
Location: San Jose, California
By combining robotic process automation and artificial intelligence, Element5 has been able to eliminate much of the backend admin work, like sending and receiving physician orders, that leads to burnout among post-acute care providers. As a company, Element5 aims to eliminate 200,000 manual hours a year to better support home health, senior living and hospice workers with solutions grounded in RPA and AI.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Evention automates the cash management process for hotels, casinos, grocery stores and other businesses using RPA and cloud-based reconciliation. Cash is tracked with biometric-based hardware, automatically reconciling with point of sale and payment management systems. As a result, staff no longer have to count cash, businesses can keep less cash on hand and drops are automatically verified.
Location: Tokyo, Japan
In June 2022, HeartCore launched its Robot Store, an online retail space for companies to purchase “ready-to-use” RPA bots capable of processing invoices, reconciling accounts, new-hire onboarding and data entry. HeartCore’s RPA tools will “seamlessly automate a multitude of tasks in an effective and error-free manner,” CEO Sumitaka Yamamoto said in a press release.
Location: Eden Prairie, Minnesota
During the mortgage application process, RPA bots designed by HelpSystems take over manual tasks like pulling data from internal databases and other portals, automatically entering information into a bank’s mortgage loan origination system. HelpSystems’ bots also automate workflows across multiple applications, from loan origination system to core banking, and detect missing information, automatically emailing the appropriate contact.
Location: Westlake, Ohio
For counties and other municipalities managing tax information, Hyland’s RPA is able to handle much of the processing without human help. Recently, Hyland worked with the auditor’s office in Horry County, South Carolina to implement an RPA tool that processed a third of the 90,000 personal property tax returns it receives each year, entering tax return data into its management system and detecting errors and potential fraud by cross-referencing other databases and resources.
Location: San Francisco, California
Informed helps lenders verify supporting documents related to income, identity, residence and insurance. The company’s RPA and AI software is able to quickly break down and verify vital information like pay stubs, appraisals, odometer disclosures and proof of insurance against existing data to speed up the loan approval process while rooting out potential fraud and reducing errors in real time.
Location: Irvine, California
Kofax uses RPA and intelligent automation to optimize workflows in finance, customer experience and operations. Kofax worked with an Australian transport company to help speed up status update processing for their trip and freight information. By integrating an RPA workflow within the company’s telematic system and data warehouse, Kofax increased update speed by 30 times to “almost real-time” processing.
Location: Tokyo, Japan
RAX Suite, Monstarlab’s robotic process automation tool, is helping companies manage employee workloads. With RPA integrated into an organization’s workflow, automated assignment tools determine staff availability to complete tasks while “rules-based task prioritization” decides which tasks take priority.
Location: Bellevue, Washington
RPA bots deployed by Nintex Kryon are helping analysts across various industries, from banking to manufacturing, take advantage of the vast amounts of data they acquire. Nintex’s RPA platform provides analysts real-time dashboards, system integration and enhanced cleaning capabilities, helping them process data more efficiently.
Location: Orem, Utah
With RPA, Plena Data is able to take over many of the repetitive tasks accounting departments face. For accounts payable, Plena Data’s software robots are able to flag duplicate invoices and zero in on any important details. They also handle bulk deposits and third-party payments, and have the potential to analyze incoming payments throughout the day.
Location: Pune, India
Propero provides automation solutions to direct-to-consumer brands and other enterprise organizations in partnership with Robocorp, a leading RPA firm offering open-source tools and cloud platform. Working off Robocorp’s open-source platform, Propero helped U.K.-based accounting firm FD Works automate their payroll system. Before integrating RPA into their payroll process, staff at FD Works had to complete numerous tasks manually, like payment file creation and government reporting. By handing off menial tasks associated with payroll to RPA, more attention could be paid to accounting and strategy.
Location: San Francisco, California
A robot for every person? That’s the goal of UiPath, a robotic process automation company that provides an RPA platform to organizations to help them become fully automated. UiPath helped Transcom, a global digital customer experience firm, embrace an “automation first” strategy to better manage customer needs, for example. Working with UiPath, Transcom reduced clicks and other manual processes customer service agents had to navigate when assisting customers. Now, 250 bots are completing 2 million tasks each year to support Transcom agents.
Location: Palo Alto, California
Uniphore provides conversational AI and automation capabilities to customer service centers. Combining RPA with voiceprint biometric technology, enterprise-grade software as a service, intelligent decision support and self-service guidance, Uniphore provides sentiment, emotion and intent analytics along with in-call guidance. Additionally, it automates after-call work, like call summarization and parts replacement.
Location: New York, New York
WorkFusion uses RPA and AI to help financial institutions automate their adverse media search, a process aimed at curbing money laundering. Evelyn, Workfusion’s AI-enabled adverse media screening analyst, searches and records evidence across multiple sources, including internal systems and commercial databases.