Basics
Robotic FAQs
Capabilities
WonderBotz answers common RPA questions including investment, security, controls, functionality, and roles and responsibilities.
Controls
 Basic questions 
What is robotics (aka Robotics Process Automation, RPA)?

Robots are automation software (i.e., RPA) that uses applications the same way that people use them, only without the ability to take subjective actions. Deferring judgment calls and unexpected situations to humans, robots go through their assigned work step-by-predefined-step and can handle as many exceptions as you want to configure. This re-allocation of the work between humans and robots makes the jobs more interesting and rewarding for your people. Although robots could handle end-to-end processes, it’s more common for them to perform tasks within a process.
What are indicators of potential robotics opportunities?

Businesses are best matched with RPA if employees are consumed with high volume repetitive tasks that follow structured business rules that generally result in different outcomes. These are good guidelines:
  1. You are able to describe the work. This doesn’t mean your documentation exists or is current. The task could be described by recording a user performing their work on a computer including how they handle exceptions. 
  2. The work is rules-based rather than subjective. Robots need to be prepared (aka, taught, trained, configured) to perform specific actions on your systems. While getting closer each year, current technology is insufficient for a robot to determine on its own what to when faced with a new situation. 
  3. The work is performed electronically. It doesn’t matter how many different applications are required or whether they are in-house, cloud-based, Citrix, desktop or mainframe. 
  4. The required data is structured (could be structured). If not, you may be able to utilize an OCR and/or cognitive application capable of structuring the file.  Alternatively, you could have people enter the data into a structured format. 
What should organizations expect for their cost-benefit-analysis ("CBA")?

There are many factors that influence the CBA for robotics automation. For example, are you standing up your first automation or are you at scale and adding another automation?

Generally, it's hard for slow-moving organizations to make a great case as they are unable to generate enough value to offset financial entry costs. However, a hard-driving organization with scale should expect to save 50-80% of onshore costs and save 25-40% of offshore. Our Robotics-as-a-Service offering helps organizations achieve comparable value.
Capability questions
What types of organizational roles are needed for robotics?

There are several roles to be covered
  1. Robotics COE (below) is the governing body within the organization with representatives from the business and technology as well as its own dedicated resources for benefits realization tracking, scheduling, methods and standards, and prioritization. The Design Authority role which has final say on automation design and configuration delivery quality would sit in the COE.
  2. Configuration teams comprised of robotics developers, process analysts, architects and quality control. A rapidly scaling organization would have its own teams and would often contract additional third-party teams. In addition to robotics expertise, configuration team members are often highly proficient with common tools/skills like spreadsheets, formulae, workflows, and macros.
  3. Business-as-usual teams who load and keep the robots running in production, and may also perform minor enhancements
  4. Control room team (which may be part of BAU team) schedules robot resources, sets and resets priorities for processing and engages with the operations on the performance of the robots, including identifying potential functionality enhancements for additional value.
What is a robotics COE or Center of Excellence?

A center-of-excellence is a means to deliver robotics at scale and operating could be:
  1. Single group that handles multiple automation programs in one or more areas
  2. Multiple stand-alone groups that focus on their own scope but coordinate with other COEs for governance, methods, for example.
As organizations embark upon building robotics capabilities at scale, they start often with the former and migrate to the latter over time.
How much help is needed from IT team?

It is not necessary for IT teams to change any existing systems for an RPA solution.  RPA software can non-invasively interact with target applications through same user interface utilized by humans. Leading RPA software tools can interact with most major mainstream and legacy thin and thick client applications based in Java, Mainframe, Web, and Windows. If the robots were run off-premises, IT team would need to grant robots with system access as they would do with a new employee and keep the underlying applications running.

How are automations impacted by network performance and target application availability?
 
Robots simulate end-user interaction with networks and target applications.  If networks and target applications are unavailable it will impact a process but alerts can be set to immediately flag internal staff. Well designed will maintain the integrity of the work queue when faced with an unanticipated application or network performance breakdown.

What is needed for technology infrastructure?

This varies by RPA platform provider. Assuming a typical existing operation and representative RPA platform, organizations need RPA software licenses, a virtual machine for each robot license, database, and development/UAT/production instances. The software could be on-premises or cloud-based.
 Control questions
How do RPA solutions secure information for compliance and audits?

Leading automation solutions have native multi-level, configurable, auditable logs in addition to reporting and alerting features. These allow organizations to meet or exceed their industry-specific regulatory requirements including SOX, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.
What prevents unauthorized robots from causing issues?

Leading RPA tools allow for out-of-the-box and customizable role-based access rights that support separation of duties.  Administrators, developers, and other end users are restricted based on their permissions.  
How do solutions manage credentials for target applications?

Most RPA solutions offer integrated credential managers, functions, and features that allow the automation software to securely access target applications with masked user IDs and passwords.  

How do solutions handle sensitive information?

Leading RPA tools use server platforms with application level encryption that is Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) compliant including AES 256.  
Is dashboard, alerting, and reporting commonly available?

Yes -- leading RPA tools provide global and customizable dashboards, audit logs, and management information reports and features for enhanced visibility and monitoring.