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How Robotic Process Automation is changing businesses — and careers

A robot toy on the floor

Industries across all sectors are changing — and fast.

Digital transformation is crucial to continued growth and success in the modern marketplace. The days of one employer and a gold watch retirement gift are long over. So are the days of high-value, tech-savvy workers doing repetitive, mundane tasks. Organizations — regardless of industry — need to step into this new reality. One answer offering solutions and new career opportunities across all industries is Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

RPA is a technology used to automate business processes by emulating human interactions with digital systems using software robots, or bots. These bots, often called Digital Workers, can complete repetitive computer-based tasks with great accuracy and efficiency. This frees up the time of skilled employees for more complex, high-value activities that only humans can do — such as planning, coordinating, and customer care.

For mid-career professionals, it can be an intimidating field to transition to but that’s where SAIT’s 16-week Applied RPA Developer bootcamp comes in. With upcoming intake in Fall and Winter 2023, this course gives mid-career professionals a foundational RPA skillset augmented with an understanding of strategy and industry best practices. By partnering with local leaders in the industry, this course teaches hands-on skills as students learn about real-world solutions and applications.

To give an inside look at the growing demand for RPA, Matthew Sentes, Bootcamp Instructor and RPA Developer, and Andre Bourgeacq, Bootcamp Industry Partner and National Leader at Blue Prism, share their insights on the meaning, value and future of RPA.

What is RPA?

Matthew Sentes: RPA is computer software installed on a desktop or virtual computer. Once running, the software acts as a Digital Worker using the same applications as its human co-workers to complete the same processes and tasks. The software can mimic human mouse movements such as mouse clicks and keyboard strokes. As a result, the Digital Worker uses the applications on a computer just like a person would, so you're able to identify manual processes and build automated solutions.

One of the biggest benefits is time savings. Digital Workers are there to continuously perform repetitive and mundane jobs that were previously completed by skilled employees. These employees continue to work eight hours a day but are now free to focus on higher value-added tasks creating better business outcomes and more empowered, engaged employees.

How are RPA and digital transformation impacting businesses of all sizes?

Andre Bourgeacq: Blue Prism conducted a global survey in 2021 with 6,000 executives, and the results showed that overwhelmingly executives are looking to leverage intelligent automation — such as RPA — to better meet customer demands and enhance their brands in the marketplace to become more innovative and competitive. From an organizational standpoint, the application of intelligent automation can be broken down into three main buckets: people, systems, and the digital workforce.

This digital workforce serves as a type of glue between the people and the systems, with the ability to break down traditional silos within an organization. These silos are connected using intelligent automation as Digital Workers move seamlessly through systems improving the collective performance of an organization.

Yet, there’s still a myth that RPA must be an enterprise-wide solution. However, everyone from small businesses to big corporations can benefit. At the more mature end of the RPA life cycle, we arrive at citizen development where individual employees use the RPA software and develop their own automated processes on their own desktops.

What tools do organizations need to incorporate RPA?

Matthew Sentes: One of the biggest benefits of RPA is that it is plug-and-play. Every organization has applications that are not producing results to meet business needs. So, what do you do? Build an RPA that interacts with the application. Now the system is producing a beneficial output. That new data can be transferred to other applications, so there is no need for extensive application or infrastructure upgrading in an organization. If an organization has older, legacy systems, RPA can be used to manipulate that legacy system, or that old application, to produce the required output.

What talent is needed to implement RPA?

Andre Bourgeacq: Blue Prism was the founding company that first developed RPA as a stand-alone technology. The way RPA is designed ensures that process improvements through systems and building automations can be done without having to code, go to software developers or hire a bunch of IT people. RPA is created for businesspeople and those who understand that the business processes to build automation will improve operations.

Matthew Sentes: Implementing RPA is not so much about the technology, but how you use it. Building the process is just one portion of the whole overall goal. Building good Digital Workers means understanding how to select a good RPA process and stand up a successful RPA practice in an organization. These are all skills we are teaching at SAIT’s Applied RPA Developer Bootcamp.

Having the ability to learn best practices, get access to like-minded communities and people who have been through it before, will speed up the adoption and implementation of RPA programs. This enables organizations to upskill their current knowledge workers and help to expand and empower both organizations and employees.

Our digital transformation bootcamps are designed to reboot your career opportunities in only 16-weeks. With flexible, blended delivery, these programs are informed by industry experts and designed to suit your busy life. Previous web knowledge is considered an asset, but coding ability is not required.

Build fully functional automation processes as you learn the latest technology and theory in RPA.

Discover design thinking and learn how to work with a team to create products that solve real-world problems.

Learn to apply user experience skills by working directly with a product manager and a software development team.

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