Are legacy systems RPA compatible?
One of the main concerns when adopting new technology is the way it will integrate with the existing systems. Legacy systems are part of a company`s backbone and they usually took years in terms of arhitecture and deployment. But are they flexibile enough for the current everchanging market?
The whole idea of a system is largely viewed as a perfect integrated ensemble of parts that together, do a better job than the individual parts. But innovation is, from more than one point of view, disruptive. It initially shatters the seemingly circular processes that these systems have been relying on. And this is why the large scale adoption has been delayed.
As time passes and innovation becomes an approachable novelty, the market`s dynamics usually brings about a rise of interest. RPA, for example, was firstly seen as a Band-Aid type of solution. Since it has evolved and has become comprehensibile and available to mass markets, it is turning into a legitimate systemic tool. In regards to its relationship with legacy systems, RPA needs to be evaluated against other approaches to integration as this is not a ‘either or’ situation, but rather a continuum set of approaches to integration.
Characteristics of different forms of system integrations
|Difficulty & cost of change||Cost & time of improvement|
From the table above, it stands out that RPA is more flexible, faster, and cheaper to deploy than APIs or integrated applications. APIs and integrated applications tend to be better suited for high volume transactions but carry much higher costs of deployment and offer less flexibility.
In addition, many organizations still run a large inventory of green screen, mainframe legacy applications that cannot be integrated through API and for which RPA is the ideal solution. Finally, the costs related to change are usually underestimated. Any business process outsourcing (BPO) vendor or large organization knows that training humans to run processes differently (and at scale) is expensive, time consuming and error prone. Readjusting an RPA script is comparatively cheap.
Because business models and needs tend to change ever faster, it is increasingly difficult to rely solely on ‘elegant’ system architectures made of fully integrated applications to keep up with the needs of the market. These tend to be costly to deploy and are often obsolete by the time they are fully implemented. The reality is that over the past decades, companies have been automating clerical work mainly according to functions (e.g. finance, human resources, customer relations) using specialized full stack applications that were deployed by specialized IT departments. However, digitally native competitors have raised the bar of user experience by focusing on customers key processes. This evolution requires a ‘process’ orientation to digitization from organizations across their legacy function-based information systems. To offer such ‘process-oriented digitization,’ organizations and IT departments need a set of technologies that will allow them to create fast and process automations cost effectively with the participation of business users themselves.
RPA is a new enterprise application that is necessary in the overall ‘tool kit’ of a as they think of their entire system landscape. For example, the UiPath Platform we use at Linksoft is further integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and API management, thus becoming the ideal solution for providing a relatively fast ‘born native’ customer experience built on top of legacy systems. The platform offers a robust set of capabilities from the UI integration capability sustained by UiPath AI Computer Vision.
To conclude, RPA is far from a Band-Aid technology. It is a foundational strategic tool that allows organizations to answer today’s business imperatives in a cost effective way.