Big data has certainly been the hottest technology trend of 2016, with many companies frantically rushing to implement different big data projects, worried of falling behind competitors. The natural progression of data collection is data and process automation, and for organizations serious about making big data gains, now is the time to take this logical step.
Decisions are made by analyzing data, drawing conclusions from it, and ultimately executing upon those conclusions. The massive rise of data acquisition and analysis has enabled us to draw amazingly complex and intricate conclusions, and automation is providing the best way to facilitate this process.
Considering the enormous growth of data sources available to many organizations, Enterprise Process Automation (EPA) using software robotics has never been more accessible or necessary to organizations. However, while many executives get excited about the fact that they can automate more than 80% of entire business processes end-to-end, we need to remember that a robot is only as good as the data it’s fed.
Robots – What Are They, and How Do They Work?
When thinking of automation software, many think of simple scripts designed to complete one specific, repeatable task. However, the enormous access to data we now enjoy has given rise to a new phenomenon – software robotics. Instead of focusing on a single task at a time using swivel chair automation technology at the user interface, a software robot can manage entire business functions such as the supply chain or the internal finance processes of an organization. Robots not only automate each individual job within these operations, but manage and control the interdependencies of each section as part of the wider ecosystem. Managing the entire ecosystem allows an organization to enjoy greatly increased efficiency as well as provides a much higher level of quality control, reduction of errors, and a complete and accurate audit trail.
As you can imagine, this requires just as much if not more data that a human would require if they were to be doing each part separately. This is where the importance of good data management comes into play, and cannot be understated.
The Role of Data, And How It Is Collected
It’s important to understand the different data flows available to software robots. Good robotics solutions are data agnostic in the sense that they can take any form of data and convert it to a standard format which the robot can then use. As such, the best source of data is establishing a direct connection with a data-generating application, such as an Oracle system, to guarantee real-time and accurate updates. If this is not available, a middle layer such as SAP is the next-best data reservoir for a robotics solution to tap.
If an organization does not use a higher level data processing tool, the robot can sync directly into most data lakes, or even just a simple SQL database. However, the higher the level of synchronization, the lower the chance of entry miscommunication or other errors when the robot is performing various tasks.