What is RPA and RCA? We´ll show you, what’s behind automation

Automation has created a lot of buzz, especially recently with advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Automation, however, covers many technologies. Different types of automation software and hardware bring companies varied opportunities. Find out more.

Automation hardware can be either analog or digital (ranging from power drills through automated assembly lines all the way to walking robots), while software can comprise of:

  • Custom software development
  • Integration
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  • Robotic Cognitive Automation (RCA – also called AI or simply, cognitive)

In Deloitte we mostly focus on RPA and RCA and the following articles will be more specific to these topics. It is important to have a general understanding, however, of where these technologies fit in to the broader picture.

Generally, the most widely applicable advantages to all types of automation are the following:

  • they aid in increased productivity,
  • reduce labour costs,
  • minimize and/or remove room for errors,
  • keep businesses competitive,
  • provide opportunities for employees to perform more value-added work.

Automation hardware encompasses physical machines that replace humans in a production line; largely affecting, for example, automotive manufacturing.

Automation in practice: Software that act and think like a human

Automation software, however, is more diverse. Unlike with industrial automation, these robots do not “walk” or physically move. Let’s say an employee has to enter structured, standardized customer data in multiple systems and then sends the output by e-mail in a standardized template. Depending on the amount of time it takes the employee to perform these tasks, and how frequently they are required to do so, the work could very well be automated using RPA tools. RCA, on the other hand, is better suited for cases that deal with unstructured data. This is software that can act and think like a human, making decisions based on pattern recognition, and a self-taught systems.

While I am only scratching the surface in discussing automation, my aim is to provide enough context in order understand how businesses and anyone from junior to C-suite level employees are going to be affected. A lot of attention has been paid to the negative consequences of automation, but there actually exist many advantages and exciting opportunities for those affected by these technologies. The next three pieces in this series will explore what awaits employees in occupations that are seeing the introduction of automations, what challenges those in managerial roles will face and what we need to think about when we talk about cognitive.

What can you expect in the next part of our series about RPA? We will discuss in more detail how to identify and define RPA processes as well as what the human factor’s involvement will look like after the process is automated.

RPA RCA Automation

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