RPA-for-overcoming-legacy-integration-challenges

How to Overcome Legacy System Integration Challenges With RPA?

Robotic process automation, or RPA, continues to grow in popularity from the time it has come into being for the amazing benefits to businesses and independent software vendors (ISVs). It offers business leaders the premise for strategic research and helps them address the shortage of resources. It is known for improving labor productivity and is growing at a CAGR of 38.2% from 2022 to 2030. 

RPA continues to mature thanks to advanced technologies that make it an essential aspect of intelligent automation systems. 

As per a report, intelligent automation is likely to eliminate over 40% of service desk interactions by 2025, thus improving the operational productivity of businesses.  Xerox saw quick returns on their RPA investments with growth in repeat business and a continued expansion in the pipeline of use cases. 

RPA, in tandem with chatbots and other technologies, will continue to reduce human interventions and make intelligent automation systems mainstream. While doing so will help businesses overcome legacy system integration challenges with ease. 

RPAs succeed where APIs fail

Despite cloud adoption and modern applications, some businesses have many legacy systems that are mission-critical but not very user-friendly. Gartner defines a legacy application system as ‘an information system that may be based on outdated technologies but is critical to day-to-day operations’.

Such systems hold tons of data, but moving data in and out of these systems is impossible. Businesses are finding themselves grappling with these issues even after having custom integrations tailored as per their needs. The answer lies in RPA. This is because RPA can work pretty much the same way as humans do. 

The process, however, can be complex and can rack up time and resources. After all, modernizing legacy applications is expensive. Businesses are realizing this and are leaning towards RPA instead of opting for specialized legacy apps that necessitate hand-coded integrations. RPA provides a more flexible and faster solution than application programming interfaces or APIs. 

APIs may be good for high-volume transactions but not ideal since it is impossible to train employees to learn to do things differently that too at scale. Besides, the typical ‘green-screen’ mainframe legacy applications (yes, they exist even today) are not easy to integrate using APIs. All in all, where everything else fails, RPA provides a way to automate processes and manage tasks in an error-free and efficient manner.  

To know how it works, picture this! It integrates legacy programs using bots assigned the task of automating routine activities. They copy the exact human input to ensure human-like thinking and efficiency minus the errors.

The business impact

RPA has been making a difference across domains and use cases. We have seen it render actionable insights and value to help businesses drive data and decisions closer to home. Trigent recently curated an automation solution for a healthcare enterprise to extract unstructured data from legacy software. It was able to bring structure and consistency to more than 100 dermatology clinics and dermatologists that were part of the healthcare network. The challenge was bigger since each entity followed different service codes and field standards, making it harder to analyze day-to-day operations for assessing KPIs. 

A detailed activity matrix combined with automated dataflows and dashboards using RPA solutions did the trick. Bots extracted the data and gave C-level decision-makers the clarity they needed to make essential decisions via data visualization. Data was moved to the cloud for flexibility and scalability, while 150+ automated actions helped the group with time and cost optimization.  

The recent partnership between rapidMATION and Coates, Australia’s largest equipment solutions provider, focuses on the groundbreaking potential of RPA. The company is now using RPA to monitor emails, classify documents, extract relevant data such as PO numbers, and transfer the invoice data to the ERP system. In just 145 days, the company has been able to process 91,000 mails and 87,000 invoices while saving up on 2.900 human work hours – $87K saved in just 5 months.

RPA has hugely helped global insurer QBE too. The insurer has saved 50,000 work hours, equivalent to 25 full-time workers, by automating 30,000 customer claims tasks per week since it adopted RPA in 2017. It equates to $1.75M in annual savings.

The quality of integration should never be compromised

The ability of RPA to mimic humans has opened new avenues for businesses. RPA can emulate humans in how they interact with software apps and even scroll. Bot resilience has increased over the years, and techniques like optical character recognition, natural language processing, and machine vision are helping businesses leverage RPA perfectly to scale enterprise automation. We are now witnessing an era of hyper-automation that combines new automation capabilities and tools to help enterprises scale quickly. 

RPA for legacy application upgrade

But what hyper-automation essentially does is that it expands the boundaries of RPA to enable both decision-making and analytics. While many organizations focus on the speed of automation, one must remember that speed means nothing unless the API does the work efficiently it was designed to do. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping organizations by analyzing real-world data, offering continuous feedback for optimizations, and providing the recommendations required for workflow & field mapping, spotting inefficiencies, and developing more resilient API test cases.  

Your RPA will be only as good as your data

It is essential to process data carefully to reach its target destination. The key steps to follow include:

  • Collection of heterogeneous data from multiple devices (scanners, computers, laptops, and smartphones)
  • Segregation of images to enable image processing and correction
  • Identification and classification of the documents with the help of bots, machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) to differentiate them as purchase orders, sales orders, invoices, etc

Security first

Organizations get so caught up in the integration work that they fail to realize their security is at risk. Rapid integration necessitates security and compliance both at rest and in transit. Those that understand this put their backend systems to work to manage workloads without adding expensive modifications. 

While handing over control to software robots, organizations need to remember robots are here to supplement and not replace human resources. Unattended robots should be handled using the right security mechanisms such as multifactor authentication, credential rotation, robust passwords, and suspension of privileged credentials. Workato has been ensuring trust, transparency, and security with industry-leading security features like zero data retention and hourly key rotation.

Unleash the potential of RPA with Trigent

Integration challenges with RPA can be overcome effectively once you correctly identify the use cases best suited for RPA. Also, it is important to blend automation with security to leverage the full benefits of RPA. Our team of technology consultants works proactively to help you scale with RPA and deal with all the challenges while keeping risks at bay. 

Call us now to book a business consultation. 

Author

  • Mamta Bhat Dang works as Associate Director- Customer Experience at Trigent. She comes from a strong B2B marketing background and has worked in top global IT firms.

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