Robotic process automation (RPA) refers to software that can be easily programmed to perform basic tasks across applications the same as human workers would perform. The software robot or "bot" is like a MS Excel macro on steroids that can be taught a workflow encompassing multiple steps and applications. This may include receiving forms and then sending a message receipt. A bot can check a form for completeness and then rename the file and save it in a designated folder or can update a spreadsheet with the name of the form, the date filed, and so on. Or, the bot can do all of the above if the steps are combined. The bot never sleeps, make zero mistakes, can work 24 hours a day and never calls off sick.
RPA software is designed to reduce the burden of repetitive, simple tasks on employees. Even though programming bots requires less and less programming skills, successful use of RPA technology requires training and specialized skills to build bots which perform these automated tasks using software programmed for each specific workflow. Several software vendors have developed RPA software that can be purchased and installed within a customer’s computing environment.