Simply put, the robot is a piece of software which connects with existing IT platforms to execute a task. This could include fetching a number in one system and paste it into another. While a company’s long-term IT vision could be to integrate both systems tightly, robotic processes don’t start systematically from the IT architecture so much as from the specific task.

[Read the main article, an interview with If’s head of robotics Asko Mustonen:
• His new robots will do 2 million tasks this year
The other side articles:
• Cancellation robot makes changes in 5–6 systems
• Don’t confuse RPA with the other buzzwords]

When there is a something that you do many times, in a routine way that does not require human judgement as such, there are good chances that an automation effort could pay off in terms of saved time and less errors. Does your back-office process include any standardised routine element that is repeated many times by employees?

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“Most of the financial sector companies are in the middle of a huge transition, moving into one consolidated back-end system or two – and that’s fine, that’s what we also encourage them to do. But those are long-lasting, expensive programs. Some have said that robotic process automation is more like a duct tape type of fix to problems. And that can be fine too, when you don’t have time and money, or the business case, for doing the whole thing,” says Asko Mustonen.

“Yeah, duct tape is not my favorite comparison,” he chips in. “But the idea is that it can do the trick. So that’s what we do and this year robots will be completing 2 million tasks every month.

Can inform the big IT shifts

While the core IT architecture is thus a whole different issue, Asko Mustonen suggests one could ’sync’ the robotic development with it.

“If you know that for two years nothing will happen with the old system, and you have a reasonable volume, it makes sense to build a robot and run it over that time.”

Further, the robotic process can collect metrics that make it possible to design better core IT systems when that day comes.

“The robot tells you exactly how this process works, and what is relevant and what not. Even professionals rarely realise this. In a lot of these huge transformations of backend systems, the main bottleneck is the access to people who can tell you what requirements are important. When you have a robot that has worked on the process for a year or two, that tells you exactly what is important. It might tell you a completely different story than a person doing the tasks.”

Read the main article, an interview with If’s head of robotics Asko Mustonen:
• His new robots will do 2 million tasks this year
The other side articles:
• Cancellation robot makes changes in 5–6 systems
• Don’t confuse RPA with the other buzzwords