Robotic Process Automation, Explained: What RPA Means for Automated Document Processing

Robotic process automation (RPA) makes repetitive tasks the job of a computer, not a human. The idea behind automating back-office processes is to establish a more efficient workspace, as well as to reduce the amount of rote work necessary for employees. 

Many businesses use RPA software to increase efficiency while keeping employees available for specialized tasks that require a human eye. Businesses that introduce robotic process automation can avoid employee burnout, improve productivity, and save money. 

Let’s take a look at how RPA works — and what it means for automated processing. 

What is Robotic Process Automation?

At the core of robotic process automation is software written to reproduce human tasks. By combining APIs and other applications, you can automate manual processes like scanning forms, sorting invoices, collecting payments, and more. 

When you create software that executes these tasks with rule-based automation, you can streamline these processes — and accomplish more, in less time. 

There are plenty of computer-based applications that can automate tasks without using RPA — plenty of legacy applications do not use rule-based software robotics. A benefit of RPA is its ability to replace traditional legacy applications with API-based applications, bringing businesses into the digital age. 

Aside from API, other applications that RPA uses include user interface applications and virtual desktop infrastructure. 

How Robotic Process Automation Works in Modern Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)

Among all the rote manual tasks businesses commonly encounter, document processing is one of the most time-consuming — and one of the most common. Plenty of technological advances have been used to automate the document processing process, with mixed results. 

Many businesses have invoices, bills, receipts, and other high-volume documents that need to be recorded in a timely manner. Having an employee manually process these documents can quickly lead to burnout, with skilled employees stuck performing rote, repetitive tasks. 

For the past few decades, the solution to this problem has been optical character recognition (OCR) technology — which uses a template-based approach to document processing. With OCR, an employee can design a template to collect information from a structured document without the need for a manual recordkeeper. 

From the 1980s until the most recent decade, optical character recognition has been at the forefront of automate document processing. But there are plenty of drawbacks to OCR technology that leave room for improvement. 

Because OCR templates do not allow variation in formatting, each new format requires a different manually-created template. This also means that, whenever a document contains an imperfection, it requires an entirely new template for effective processing. 

Optical character recognition may have been an effective technique for thirty years ago, but today’s businesses can thankfully move past the painstaking template-based approach. With intelligent document processing (IDP), businesses can process semi-structured and even unstructured documents with deep learning technology. 

Robotic process automation helps to make IDP operate more smoothly. The idea behind IDP is to process documents with neural networks that use deep learning to gather information, and to improve over time. 

RPA combined with IDP allows businesses to process a high volume of documents that have many different variations in format — without the need for manually-created templates. 

The Benefits of Using Robotic Process Automation in Modern IDP Solutions

Robotic process automation is an integral part of IDP technology, with plenty of applications within the world of document processing. With rule-based API, businesses can use RPA to sort and collect documents, to move documents into the right folders, and to open documents using login credentials. 

RPA can automate tasks from opening documents to retrieving relevant documents from email attachments, so you can easily collect and sort all relevant documents. In areas from healthcare to finance and more, RPA is bringing automation and sophistication to the workplace. By using RPA with IDP, you can robotically collect, organize, and process data without the need for manual processing. 

Now, employees can use their skills more effectively — without performing hours of repetitive tasks. Across the world, employers and employees agree that automation can help to improve productivity. 

Robotic Process Automation with Rossum

At Rossum, our intelligent document processing can be combined with an RPA provider for effective results. By deploying RPA, employees can avoid the frustration of manually collecting and sorting documents, and oversee an intuitive workflow that gets more accurate over time. 

Because IDP uses machine learning to improve over time, data collection can become even more accurate as your system gathers and processes data.

We’re constantly finding new ways to bring RPA into the world of document processing — and with the help of UiPath, you can use Rossum to deploy a code that extracts data from invoices within 15 minutes. If you’re tired of template-based processing — or worse, manual document processing — Rossum is here to solve your efficiency problem. Check out our 14-day free trial, and see how Rossum combines intelligent document processing with RPA for stellar results.

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