Short for Robotic Process Automation, RPA Technology refers to software-based “robots” that can carry out myriad mundane, repetitive tasks that would previously have required a person to fulfill; thereby freeing humans up to focus on more productive tasks.
The cloud, meanwhile, refers to on-demand computer system resources, typically for data storage and computing power, available to users anywhere so long as they’ve got an internet connection.
Put the two of them together, and you get RPA-as-a-service (RaaS), and assorted connected bots that utilize a cloud-based, pay-as-you-go model allowing them to be rented when and wherever they are required. This convergence is opening up a whole new era for RPA Technology and its usage in the workplace.
But what exactly are the principal advantages of RaaS? Here are some of the main ones to consider:
One of the big advantages of the cloud is the flexibility that it offers. Physical infrastructure comes with a long-term commitment, whether it’s buying an archive of physical media instead of Netflix or buying or long-term leasing a physical office instead of short-term shared workspaces.
It’s the difference between buying and renting — and, while both have their advantages in different contexts, one of the benefits of renting is flexibility.
RaaS means that businesses do not have to invest in servers, RPA licenses, and other infrastructure to use RPA tools. This is particularly compelling as a feature in scenarios in which businesses may want the flexibility to only draw on certain RPA tools for a limited time, such as when they are needed only for a certain period or project.
Furthermore. platforms that are accessible from the web make deployment of RPA Technology easier than ever. It means help gaining real-time access regardless of the location of employees.
Another big advantage to RaaS is the speed at which it can be implemented. RPA bots in the cloud can be up and running within days, significantly faster than on-premises alternatives. These software bots can be quickly deployed as part of a library of ready-made automation components.
The results of RPA can be evidenced in just a few days, vastly reduced from the multiple-month process that usually comprises massive-scale integration. Combined with the lack of up-front costs in infrastructure, this speed of deployment and ensuing results is particularly helpful in scenarios in which you may be trying to convince others in your business of the value of RPA.
No-one ever adopted a new technology hoping that it would be high maintenance in the amount of time input it would gobble up in exchange for productive outputs. That is especially true when it comes to RPA, which is widely considered to be a time-saver as one of its most compelling selling points.
Simply put: RPA Technology is useless if getting it to work effectively takes as long as it would perform the job yourself.
RaaS is especially low-maintenance in this regard, in keeping with the cloud’s promise of not requiring direct active management from users. Not only do you not have to worry about maintaining physical infrastructure, as mentioned above, but RaaS can additionally be used without worry about their installation, implementation, and administration.
This is also a game-changer when it comes to cybersecurity. By using a cloud-based implementation, RPA platforms can be kept up-to-date and secure at all times, without having to think about manual patching or limited updates. What more could you want?
A Tool For Democratizing RPA Technology
This is a catch-all point about the power of RaaS, but it’s worth stressing. RPA has the potential to be transformative for businesses. It can make them vastly more efficient by saving on the time that it takes to perform certain tasks, while reducing error rates, and, where this is a factor, improving compliance.
Humans who are currently spending their time carrying out these mundane tasks can benefit by shifting to other more engaging, collaborative, creative work that is more rewarding to them personally — and more valuable to their business.
But before RPA these tools were not necessarily easily accessible to everyone. There’s a great quote from the science fiction writer and futurist William Gibson, who proclaimed: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”
RaaS allows for that distribution to take place. It empowers businesses to take advantage of what RPA Technology has to offer while lowering the up-front costs, reducing the requirement for technical skills to build out this digital workforce, and allowing these tools to be rapidly and flexibly applied.
Don’t just think of this as a different way to pay: subscription versus up-front costs. It’s a whole lot more than that.