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RPA Glossary

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Attended RPA includes scenarios where decision-making and/or user input is required, such as desktop automation. These software robots work at an employee’s workstation and are triggered by two situations: a user’s command and instances where robots need input from the user to continue a task. Access is often limited to the employees within a specific department or workstation.

BPA (Business Process Automation) is an advanced RPA strategy that aids in the business procedure. It usually involves tasks like redesigning, recording, and integrating with automation software.

Chatbot is a computer application that involves conversation. Moreover, there can easily stimulate simple conversation.

CoE (Center of excellence) – a department within a company created early on in the RPA rollout to support the implementation and ongoing deployment of RPA. This team uses RPA tools and technical experience to identify and manage ongoing RPA implementation. This team should include members from multiple departments across an organization.

Cognitive automation – automation that’s a step up from regular RPA that can work on semi-structured and structured data alike.

Cognitive Computing is a platform that deals with cognitive technologies. This includes machine learning, computer vision, language processing, etc.

Computer vision – the technology that allows automation software to recognize and interact with information from images or multi-dimensional sources that can be used for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and pattern recognition.

Deep learning is a pattern-based processing method that is a type of machine learning. Deep learning allows automation robots to mimic human tasks like identifying images on a screen, recognizing language, or predicting outcomes.

Digital transformation (DX) is the process of using digital technologies to modernize the business as a whole. Digital transformation initiatives typically entail sunsetting legacy technologies and inefficient business processes to adopt a more synergistic operating model that is unified by new digital technologies.

Digital/Virtual worker is a software bot or that has already taken over the assignments or tasks from your human workers.

ERP (Enterprise resource planning): a system that allows companies to manage operations such as accounting, project management, and procurement through software packages that enable companies to gain insight through a single database of shared information.

FTE (Full-time equivalent) – the amount of work a full-time employee does in a department, or on a certain project.

GUI (Graphical user interface) is a method of computer interaction that allows users to trigger program actions with windows, icons, and menus.

Hot-seating scenario: Working places where employees do not have fixed machines and they are free to use any machine in the working space. This situation applies in contact centers or other offices where people work in shifts.

Hyperautomation – the application of advanced technologies like RPA, AI, machine learning (ML), and process mining to augment workers and automate processes in ways that are significantly more impactful than traditional automation capabilities.

IA (Intelligent Automation), also known as intelligent process automation (IPA), is a term used to describe the combination of RPA and advanced capabilities like AI, NLP, and OCR.

ML (Machine learning) – the process that allows software robots and AI to learn new processes through pattern recognition rather than needing to be individually and precisely programmed for each new situation.

NLP (Natural language processing): part of artificial intelligence, NLP allows computers to understand, interpret, and mimic human languages.

Non-persistent VDI: a generic Virtual Desktop Infrastructure that doesn’t save shortcuts or file settings that the user makes, instead of reverting back to a uniform desktop each time a user logs out.

OCR (Optical character recognition) – software that singles out letters and symbols in PDF files, images, and paper documents that enables users to edit the content of the documents digitally.

Pilot Program is a test of automation that follows the initial proof-of-concept phase to see if the robot will perform as expected in more advanced, complicated conditions.

POC (Proof of concept) is a test run of the automation to discover its limitations and help ensure that the robot will work as intended.

ROC (Robotic Operations Center) is a robotics department that specializes in rapid automation and high-quality, low-cost change management. Where a CoE supports early RPA implementation and roll-out, the ROC supports existing robots, automates new processes, manages RPA-related security, and performs compliance functions for more mature RPA models. It is a structured department with a defined budget and operational service-level agreements (SLAs).

RPA-as-a-Service (RPAaaS) is a consumption model similar to the SaaS model, where the client pays for the use of the technology versus purchasing the software outright or via license. RPAaaS solutions allow companies to access automation without taking on the risk and resource constraints associated with building an RPA solution in-house. Benefits include the elimination of complex licensing, instant availability of the latest version of the technology, and access to RPA expertise to guarantee success, in addition to the risk and resource constraints. RPAaaS can be more cost-effective than licensed RPA.

RPA roadmap is a plan that comes after the automation design phase and provides companies with guidelines to meet their RPA goals. This includes a cost-benefit analysis of the processes selected for automation.

RBAC (Role-based access control) – security parameters that restrict employees to only have access to information that is required to do their unique jobs, preventing them from reading documents or sensitive materials that are not relevant to their day-to-day work.

RPA operating model is a plan for how RPA will be designed and rolled out. This model often involves process architects, technology experts/advisors, and ongoing maintenance and support staff. The model changes slightly based on company and industry to best suit their automation

Structured data is comprised of information that is predictable and repetitive, like names and addresses in a standardized entry form. RPA robots can easily recognize data with a pattern, like numbers that are in the same section of every form. Structured data is highly organized and formatted so it’s easily searchable in databases. RPA robots work best with structured data since it is so straightforward and ready for use in automation goals.

TCO (Total cost of ownership) refers to how much it will cost your business to own and operate your RPA software. Licensing costs only represent about 25-30% of the total costs associated with RPA. The remaining 70-75% represents the cost of support personnel, the underrepresented category of the cost that isn’t discussed nearly as much as it should be. TCO includes one-time costs, like establishing a CoE, and ongoing costs, like annual overhead for support staff, ongoing training, and continuous bot monitoring.

Unattended RPA – software robots that need little- or no human intervention to carry out actions on a 24/7/365 basis when triggered. These robots complete work continuously in a batch-mode model that allows for around-the-clock automation. These robots can be accessed remotely by different interfaces and platforms, and administrators can view, analyze, and deploy scheduling, reporting, auditing, monitoring, and modification functions in real-time from a centralized hub.

Unstructured data – information that isn’t organized in a defined way and is often filled with text, dates, and numbers in an unorganized system.

Workflow automation – using RPA technology to automate steps in manual or routine business tasks to improve day-to-day practices, make employees more efficient, and allow humans to focus on higher return work.

Vanilla RPA can only process structured data in highly organized, prescribed steps. AI-capabilities are excluded.

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