The term “Robotic Process Automation” (RPA) is becoming more common in the IT marketplace. RPA is software technology which replicates how human beings use existing applications at the graphical user interface level for processing transactions, working with data and communicating with other enterprise systems. More simply, RPA is the use of software to handle repeatable tasks on the computer desktop.
Examples of this include, but aren’t limited to, extracting items from your browser (such as websites); from productivity applications (such as Excel) to open spreadsheets; transferring specific content to another spreadsheet; or even to use that data (along with data from other applications) to build a rich document.
This blog will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about RPA, as well as provide examples from our partner Nintex® as to how RPA can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your workforce.
Cue the Game Changer
The Nintex Process Platform is a game changer to the way your organization does business and it can be done in record time with clicks, not code. How? Using Nintex Foxtrot RPA, enterprises can leverage trained “bots” (configurable software set up to perform the tasks you assign and control) to quickly and cost-effectively automate without the use of code.
Nintex Foxtrot RPA provides an out of the box, drag and drop interface to establish integration points without the need to be a programmer – right on your desktop. The capabilities of Nintex Foxtrot RPA – in addition to Nintex Workflow and Forms – provides a robust orchestration engine and almost endless set of integration points in any workplace. This provides end-to-end automation, no matter where your users are working.
The only thing you need to know to implement this type of solution is your process. This means that you need to know the inputs and triggers for your process. For example, a trigger may be when a spreadsheet is emailed to you from your project team or when a new lead is created in your customer relationship management (CRM) system. The inputs would be the data in those spreadsheets and CRM records.
In addition to those pieces of information, the steps that process goes through on its journey should be understood and documented. After that, building out the process flow in Nintex Workflow and Nintex Foxtrot RPA is relatively straightforward.
RPA Within SharePoint
You know your customers need to engage with you. But when they inquire about your products or services by calling and via email, the response is often slow, inefficient and labor intensive. It takes a great deal of effort to pull all the required information for a customer. This comes often from many different systems such as your CRM, AP/AR, legacy systems like a custom application built years ago or even an old Access database or mainframe. This is error prone and simply not auditable so there’s no way to know if you’re giving customers what they need or want in a timely manner and whether it’s costing you money.
When you bring in the Nintex Process Platform – you have an end to end process management, automation, and optimization solution. In this reality we could revolutionize this process through several steps:
- Document and map all the existing processes with Nintex Promapp to “know what you don’t know” about the process. Make the process a living-breathing part of your business.
- Using a form built in Nintex Workflow – create a Nintex responsive web form and easily embed it into your website so that customers can visit and submit a request with a click of a button.
- Once the customer submits the form, the Nintex Workflow engine can take that data and create records (perhaps in a ticketing / case management system like ServiceNow or Microsoft Dynamics) and then assign tasks to people or Nintex Foxtrot RPA bots that may be needed to respond to the customer. Plus, we can easily send notifications to the customer via email, text messages on their cell phone, or any other way desired.
- Since we need customer data from an old MS Access database – a task was assigned to our RPA bot, Nintex Foxtrot RPA simply opens Access on a desktop, pulls the data, and then responds to the workflow task.
- Now all of the data from our ticketing system, the old database, and people in our organization (perhaps an internal product expert) can then be used to create rich documents (using Nintex DocGen™) or passed to other systems such as Salesforce or anything in-between to close the loop with the customer.
- Lastly, all the information about this workflow is stored in Nintex Hawkeye™ Analytics so that reporting and auditability (think dashboards, KPI’s, etc.) of the entire process is only a click away.
Nintex Workflow and Forms are cloud solutions. So, there’s no need to install anything on your computer or servers. On the other hand, Nintex Foxtrot RPA automates workloads that are inside your network on your desktop or server and will be installed right on a Windows PC. Nintex Foxtrot RPA removes the confusing piecemeal approach to provide a simple, transparent approach to helping you tackle your automation challenges.
Check out DocPoint’s video tutorial on how we are implementing RPA for our SharePoint customers to solve these problems.