Robotic Process Automation. The description is a little deceiving based on how it is used. Generally, people think Robot and they think mechanical apparatus, computer brain, a bit scary. However, the current use of that description is more broad and is also used to describe software based workflow solutions.
With or without a mechanical or physical component, it seems that a better description might be Human Process Augmentation (“HPA”). Or at least it seems that if software is the apparatus, it is just augmenting the human process. You could say that using digital signatures is HPA. You no longer need to pick up a pen and send out an overnight package. You’re no scaredy cat.
The list of workflows that are being conceived and implemented by our customers seems to grow every week. From the very simple approval process to highly complex contract solutions involving intelligent routing and digital signatures, automation is happening. This evolution has been happening for a long time if you think about filling out forms on the web or a paperless invoice approval process.
It’s possible that the current push to HPA is a result of the pandemic. Users have crossed a barrier that had scared them off from accepting some of these digital processes. Emailing forms or documents around seemed to work just fine. But now, empowered by constant digital interaction, the user confidence is up and the opening is there to replace email and spreadsheets with a true solution.
Human Process Augmentation. It might be as simple as implementing a workflow so you have a live tracking mechanism. It could be that you just need an automated notification and reminder system. Quite possibly you are just ready to make that old review and sign-off process better. Whatever the motivation, the humans will appreciate the help. Don’t be scared of Robotic Process Automation especially when it is really Human Process Augmentation. You’re already on your way.