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Contrary to common belief, RPA is just software and does not involve, or require, any custom hardware. Technically speaking, you need a computer to run RPA, but RPA bots and the platform itself are just software. Read on to learn about the beginnings of RPA and how it developed in a new edition of the What is Series.


At its origin, automation processes were labeled “bots.” While bots were a nod back to “robots,” they also pointed back to little programs that are used in the process of running small tasks independently and as a group achieve a much-encompassing goal. Taken as a platform that groups up many technologies that help automate several business processes to complete a much larger task, the term “robotic” seemed to fit the bill.

Even when it fits the bill, it also creates confusion.

Robots are also in use in the manufacturing industry. These mechanical components and entities are also in use all across science fiction and pop-culture. These types of physical robots lead to the common misconception that these are the only type of automatons. While physical robots and software bots have a lot in common, there is a massive difference between what you can accomplish with industrial automation versus RPA bots.

Software bots in RPA platforms allow users to complete their tasks faster, automating the repetitive part of their day-to-day. Automation helps them become more efficient and increase productivity. Take, for example, one person able to complete many insurance claims in a day. With the right implementation process and an RPA bot, the output from that employee can increase by 10, 100, or even 1000 times what it was before.

Regardless of performance, accuracy, and other benefits; the platform and bot running RPA is software. And because RPA is software, it also means there is a need for a computer, desktop, laptop, or server in which to run it. So we are not without the need for hardware where it should run.

Nevertheless, RPA is software.

The fact that RPA is software means you don’t have to purchase specialized hardware to run this type of process. You build your automation and run towards a more productive business.