Robotic process automation or RPA has emerged as a game-changer in the world of business. A world that is probably as competitive as it’s ever been currently with a plethora of organizations trying to one-up the other. Therefore, it should be no surprise that this overwhelming sense of competition has led to the rise in the use of technology. This could help businesses compete with each other & gain an increase in profits – RPA is one of those technologies.

The global market value for robotic process automation is at almost $1.40 billion with expectations of it rising over $11 billion within the next 6 years or so. If this doesn’t make a strong case for the popularity of RPA, nothing else really can.
 
With RPA bots, there exists a possibility of either minimizing or eliminating the need for human labor in rules-based tasks. This would obviously lead to a higher return on investments and an overall increase in productivity – both aspects that businesses love to get in on.
 
So, the question therefore arises, what really is RPA and how can one make the most of it?

What Is RPA?

Wikipedia defines RPA as a rather emerging form of clerical process automation technology that’s reliant on software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers. In more specific terms, RPA is a generic tool that using technologies such as screen scraping to create specialized agents that have the potential to automate clerical tasks.
 
Companies globally still use legacy systems i.e. traditional/outdated network/hardware forms. But with RPA they have the opportunity to automate their workflows. In other words, it provides hope to the seemingly hopeless.
 
RPA offers companies the chance to step into the world of automation. While also maintaining a sense of comfort and familiarity that they’ve gained from their traditional methods. With RPA, you do not need to complete a 180-degree turn but are slowly guided towards change through a transitionary process.
 
At the end of the day, RPA can help organizations across industries and departments to save not just a lot of time. Also a huge chunk of their capital.

Importance Of RPA

The simple answer to that is that it’s probably the most cost-efficient and effective way to automate modern-day office tasks.
 
More so in today’s world, employees use a bunch of resources and tools to carry out business processes. So there exists an increased need to integrate these tools and create structures that can help them perform their tasks to the optimum level.
 
At the end of the day, RPA helps bridge any gaps. While enabling businesses to embark on a new technology-centered journey that can bring about benefits for them.
 
Now that we’ve set the tone for what RPA really is, we’re going to dive into the world of open-source RPA tools that can help you begin the process of integrating RPA into your businesses.

What Is Open Source Technology?

Before delving into open-source RPA tools, there’s a need for us to understand what we really mean by open source technology.
 
As the name suggests, this is openly distributed program code that affects how an application or program functions. With access to the source code of software, software engineers, developers and programmers can add features, improve utility and optimize the entirety of the program.
 
How it differs from closed source software/technology is precisely this. In the case of closed source, the organization delivers the finished product without giving access to the underlying source code. You get an application and can use it without changing anything around to suit any specific needs. This is the case with everyday use software such as Microsoft Office, Zoom, or Adobe Reader.

Benefits Of Open Source Technology

Increased Security

With access to the underlying source code, company developers can easily see, locate and fix any issues or vulnerabilities in the code along with also fixing any bugs.

Higher Flexibility

Probably the most beautiful thing about open-source software is the customizability that comes along with it – developers have the opportunity to take the base product, and then add any features/capabilities to it that have been specifically optimized for their particular business needs/uses.

Improved Quality

Since open-source software is dependent upon the user for any improvements. It is often created by developers for developers, who then build on the existing code in an attempt to consistently improve it over time. Hence, leaving you with an overall better product at the end of the day.

What Is Open Source RPA?

We’ve already introduced RPA, and the potential it holds to not just reduce organizational/administrative costs. Also, help you increase your organization’s overall productivity.
 
At the same time, it has the capacity to scale leading to a reduction in overheads and an increase in profits in one go.
 
But, why would you want to opt for open-sourced RPA rather than a closed source?
 
The answer to that question is quite simple. With open-sourced RPA you get the opportunity to explore the benefits of RPA with a strong foundation. With these foundations, you can build your own customized robots according to your individualized needs.
 
Moreover, if you end up working with closed-source software. You have been stripped away of the opportunity to explore and develop on your own and are instead forced to work with limited capabilities and higher upfront costs at the same time.

Benefits Of Open Source RPA

Open-source RPA falls under two particular types of businesses:
 
1) Those that are have just begun to explore the possibilities of RPA and want to experiment
 
2) Those that are aware of the benefits that RPA has to offer and have maybe integrated RPA or given up on RPA projects in the past
 
For the former, open-source RPA is obviously a relatively low-risk and less expensive means to explore RPA. There’s no need to lock a contract with vendors and they can utilize sample code or other developer resources to carry out building/testing of what suits their particular cases.
 
The latter however is aware of the usefulness that RPA offers. With the open-source, they now have the opportunity to explore more without there being many restrictions or the fear of high expenses. They can even go a step further and begin integrating RPA into other areas of their business through the utilization of open source by adding in their own optimizations or features.
At the end of the day, open-source RPA offers the following three major benefits:
 

Less expense, more return

Licensing a full-fledged RPA tool might just be extremely expensive, especially for someone who’s only recently begun understanding the benefits of software robots. Open source is a low-risk method of getting into the world of RPA, and utilizing your developer team.
 

Higher flexibility

Open source RPA provides businesses with the chance of utilizing it only when they want to use it. If let’s say you’re looking to automate yearly financial reports, you don’t need a long-term contract for service since that’s not your requirement. Instead, you would rather use an open-source RPA that offers you the flexibility of using the robots only when you need them.
 

More customization

Open source RPA stands out primarily due to it being easily editable and customizable. This means that you can create the optimal software robot for your particular uses. On the other hand, a closed source RPA might offer you pre-built automation but you’d struggle to edit it and also implement it to specific use cases.

Open Source RPA Tools

Now you know the in-depth understanding of open-source RPA. Probably thinking comes that how to get started with RPA? The following is a list of some open-source RPA tools like automation anywhere, UiPath or Kofax that you can start integrating into your business.

Automation Anywhere

A developer tool, automation anywhere combines RPA with elements such as natural language understanding which enables it to read any unstructured data. It consists of three major components:
 

1) Bot creator

2) Bot runner

3) Control room

 
With this particular platform, you have the option of automating any and all difficult tasks while also distributing them across multiple computers. This means that there’s a minimal chance of human error. While also reducing the number of hours an employee might have to give on an average.
 
This particular tool falls into the following industries:
 

1) Travel industry

2) Finance sector

3) Energy sector

4) Social platforms

UiPath

A windows desktop tool, it consists of multiple activities that help reduce repetitive tasks. Also, cut down on human power and improve scalability. It can be built into flowcharts, sequence and Framework, and consists of three main product suites:
 
1) Studio
 
2) Robot
 
3) Orchestrator
 
The unique aspect of UiPath tool is its ability to integrate with cloud environments or virtual terminals which adds to the overall accessibility it offers businesses.
 
This tool is useful in the following areas:
 
1) Finance and banking
 
2) Insurance
 
3) Manufacturing
 
4) Telecom
 
5) Public sector
 
6) Retail
 
Probably one of the simplest yet effective open-source RPA tools that a business can use in today’s world.

Kofax

With an emphasis on automating high-value, information-intensive processes. Kofax works on processes that require intelligent and process orchestration. Through the incorporation of a site, desktop applications, and portals with no information on coding. It enables users to centralize the deployment and management of robots.
 
This particular tool is a rather practical one since it offers multiple data sources/types. While also providing a high amount of flexibility with its uses which obviously leads to better scalability.

Future Of Open Source RPA Tools

Open source RPA tools have without a doubt, changed the entire market for automation processing. With more and more tools Launching into the market for developers and organizations. Hoping to take up the challenge and improve their productivity and returns.
 
What everyone has recognized across the board however is the impact that RPA can have on businesses and the potential it offers to its users. More so, with more and more businesses want to move towards RPA integration. There’s also a realization that an open-source tool is the perfect ‘first-step’ into the world of RPA. Since it gives users the opportunity to not just integrate the tool. Also, do it in a manner that suits their individual needs.
 
The future therefore for the world of RPA and more particularly open-source tools is rather quite bright and one can only jump on it to get an edge over their competition.