What is RPA and what is the history behind it?

What is RPA exactly?

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. Very simply, robotic process automation means using software to automate common, repetitive tasks. In customer service, the information department, or in customer contact centres, employees often perform repetitive tasks: logging in, consulting, processing and switching between data in different systems. Often with the aim of ensuring that all those systems have the same data - are up-to-date - and processes remain consistent. RPA can play an important role in automating these repetitive and usually boring routine tasks, allowing people to focus on the real, valuable contact with customers.

RPA software

If robotic process automation is about software, then what about the robot? That depends on how you define the term 'robot'. The robot in robotic process automation is not a robot with human characteristics (we will come back to this later), but rather a computer robot: a piece of software that performs routine tasks quickly, continuously, and without error.

In the video on this page, robotic process automation is explained by our colleague Ernst Vegter.

The history of RPA

Typical advantages of Robotic Process Automation include automation of processes that are normally long and boring, faster and better execution of processes (which saves costs in the long run), and scalability. RPA is a revolutionary digital development that was preceded by several similar processes.

Screen scraping

As a form of automation, screen scraping preceded RPA. Screen scraping is a computer technique in which data is read from a computer screen and used for input into another, underlying program. This technique is used to automatically transfer computer output from one program into another.

rpa voordelen

RPA for Dummies

In this e-book, you learn everything you need to know about Robotic Process Automation, step-by-step.

Want to know more about Robotic Process Automation?

Could robotisation benefit your business? You've probably heard about robotisation before, but could it be profitable for your company? For example, at 40% cost savings, x number of fewer errors, or by enabling you to handle customer service queries twice as fast...

If you knew the answer to that question, you would probably want to get started with robotisation right away. But where do you start? Robotisation, or RPA, has numerous benefits, and the possibilities are endless. It's therefore natural for you to want to know what it can bring to your business.

Here you will find our quick reading guide on RPA:

Rpa in de praktijk

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