According to HelpNetSecurity, bot traffic makes up 64% of Internet traffic with 39% of Internet traffic from bad bots. This is up from 50% just a few years ago that I wrote in an article called Hacking is becoming less human, more robotic. Hacking is becoming more robot-like and less human.
Gartner states that robotic process automation revenue will reach $2 billion in 2021 which is an increase of 19.5%. If you are not familiar with robotic process automation, this post is for you. Robotic process automation explained. We will break down what, how, and the tools of robotic process automation. It is not a new concept but it continues to grow.
As businesses\’ are looking to automate their repetitive tasks, robotic process automation can provide a significant increase in productivity for employees and in some cases decrease their costs with fewer people. With a shortage of talent in the marketplace today, these tools are going to increase in use and value to organizations.
Along with RPA open source tools, there are apps that automate the desktop too on the iPhone, Android, Mac, and Windows desktops. We will also explore those tools.
What is robotic process & desktop automation?
Robotic process automation is about automating repetitive, mundane, manual tasks for employees. It allows users to create good bots to record and playback tasks over and over again that they would normally do manually. The tools can increase productivity and lessen the workload of employees. An example is to automate the process of pdf forms, capturing data from the forms, and storing them into excel or a database automatically.
Desktop automation is tools integrated into the operating system that allows users to automate personal tasks in a drag-and-drop GUI environment. iPhone, Android, Windows, and Macs all have desktop automation apps that can be used. We will explore each of them briefly in this post.
How does RPA / Desktop Automation work?
A robotic process automation tool is an integrated development (IDE) for creating bots. Normally, some tools do not require programming knowledge but understanding scripting would be helpful. They can be done visually or as a high-level script that the tool runs for users when called upon. You create the script visually or through a simple scripting language and you run the script. The script will run and you will see the results of the script if processed visually. You can use these scripts for automated user testing of software and/or web applications. The tools are simulating what the user clicks and enters during the running of the script. So, it has the ability to act as a robotic user.
On the iPhone, Android, Windows, and Mac, there is an easy-to-use GUI integrated development environment that provides a drag-and-drop interface to creating automation which makes it simpler than the text-based open-source environments. You create the automation, save them, and you can click on them to do your automation. iPhone adds an ability to integrate with Siri so you can set up the shortcuts to launch by Siri. Each of these tools makes it easy for users to automate their repetitive tasks on their devices.
A Few Examples of the More Popular Open Source RPA tools
There are a few popular examples of open-source RPA tools available in the marketplace. They are as follows:
- Robot Framework is a generic open source automation tool for test and robotic process automation use cases.
- OpenRPA is an open source robotic process automation tool for automating processes and tasks.
- TagUI is an open source process automation tool developed by AI Singapore using a very simple scripting language.
These tools can be used to automate software and web browser testing along with their automation capabilities. They can be integrated into the software development testing process.
Benefits of using Open Source RPA Tools
There are many benefits to using open-source RPA tools such as the following:
- Free and strong open-source user communities
- Saves time and money by automating repetitive tasks
- Improves employee productivity
- Reduces data entry errors
Cons of using Open Source RPA Tools
There are some cons to using the open-source RPA tools such as the following:
- Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is using text-based editor with a text-based scripting language.
- Requires some programming knowledge to use these tools; not designed for normal users
How does Desktop & Personal Automation work?
Along with the open-source tools, all major operating systems whether it is the iPhone, Android, Windows, or Mac all provide desktop automation apps to help automate repetitive tasks for users. These apps provide a GUI interface to create the automation which is different from the open-source RPA tools above. The following list highlights each automation app:
- iPhone Shortcuts app is a personal automation tool on the iPhone that allows you to create shortcuts to repetitive tasks you do on your iPhone. These shortcuts can be launched with Siri, a tap, and through an event.
- Android\’s Automate app is an automation tool for Android. It allows you to automate repetitve tasks you do with your Android phone. Automate is the most popular but there are other apps in the Android world that you can use.
- Window\’s new Power Automate allows users to automate their desktop. You can create user automations along with more complex robotic process automations in Windows.
- Mac\’s Automator allows users to automate their Mac desktop and workflows. You can also use Automator workflows with the Shortcuts app on the iPhone.
Each of these tools on all devices provides you with a way to help automate the repetitive tasks you perform on your phone or your computer. You have a choice of open source tools or the built-on GUI tools on your phones or computers. These tools really bring automation to the user in an easy-to-use manner.
RPA and desktop automation tools can really improve the productivity of repetitive mundane tasks that you or your employees do every day. In the long run, you will save lots of money using these tools through the increased automation they provide. They will also help cut back on user errors in doing these repetitive tasks so it will increase not only productivity but also reduce data entry errors.