You’re probably already aware of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) tools. You’ve possibly even used one (or more) to enhance your OSS experience. In some ways, they’re a really good addition to your OSS suite. In some ways, potentially not. That all comes down to the way you use them.
There are four main ways that I see them being used (but happy for you to point out others):
- Automating repeatable tasks – following an algorithmic approach to getting regular, mundane tasks done (eg weekly report generation)
- Streamlining processes / tasks – again following an algorithmic approach to assist an operator during a process (eg reducing the amount of data entry when there is duplication between systems)
- Predefined decision support – to guide operators through a process that involves making different decisions based on the information being presented (eg in a highly regulated or complex process, with many options, RPA rules can ensure quality remains high)
- As part of a closed-loop system – if your RPA tool can handle changes to its rules through feedback (ie not just static rules) then it can become an important part of a learning, improving solution
You’ll notice an increasing level of sophistication from 1-4. Not just sophistication but potential value to operators too.
We’ll take a closer look at the use of RPA in OSS over the next couple of days.