Home Hunting for Collaborative Bots: Farm, Cloud, or Back Office?

In the News
April 18, 2017

Robotics process automation, or RPA, is all the talk among companies looking to optimize efficiency and improve quality in many back-office functions.

The robots used in RPA are called “bots” and are more akin to a software program than to a futuristic machine with metal limbs. They are also notable for their collaborative attributes, working alongside and supporting people, rather than being designed exclusively to replace them.

At EY, we use hundreds of bots every day to perform predictable and repetitive tasks associated with rules-based activities, such as processing transactions, manipulating pre-existing data, and communicating with other digital systems. These are important but tedious tasks, and they are rather easily mimicked once a software configurator studies the motions and “interprets” the activity for computer application.

In short, RPA is possibly the best and most straightforward example of how advances in back-office robotics are taking the robot out of the human. For us, this means upskilling our high-performing professionals’ time to take on more interesting and value-added work on behalf of our clients.

Once your company has decided to implement bots in corporate functions — such as finance and accounting, tax, treasury, human resources, IT services, supply chain — you then face a number of other important decisions related to implementation. These include how to secure funding, choose the right software vendor, and develop work plan and a timeline.

While introducing RPA to the workplace requires minimal IT infrastructure changes, bots do need a home, a platform, a base from which to operate. That means you will need to select a place for them to reside from among a range of hosting options. Microsoft, Rackspace, and Amazon are among major players.

The pros and cons of four hosting platforms
Choosing the best vendor for your needs is an important decision and should be based on careful consideration of a number of critical success factors, such as the industry you are in, company size, and financial and human resources to be committed to implementation. You should also consider the level of control you need to exert over installation, operations, and backups.

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