Administrative chores can take up a lot of time and possibly reduce the productivity of employees. A robotic process automation (RPA) system can help companies automate mundane, repetitive and labour-intensive tasks, and cut costs.
RPA is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the software market, according to a Gartner report (full report available to clients). The report also states that the RPA software market grew to US$1.9 billion in 2020. Businesses across the world may be looking to automate processes and workflows, and COVID-19 has possibly added to the need for improved and more integrated technologies. Before we delve deeper into the top four robotic process automation tools for your business, let us first understand RPA technology.
What is robotic process automation?
Robotic process automation is technology that automates business activities like extracting data, filling out forms, transferring files etc, using logical and structured inputs. Software robots operating on a real or virtual machine are the ‘robots’ in robotic process automation. In simple words, RPA has the ability to help businesses automate and optimise manual processes with the aim to reduce repetitive tasks.
This article offers a curated list of the best four RPA tools which small to midsize enterprises (SMEs) can use to automate mundane and manual tasks. The tools listed below are arranged in alphabetical order. We have chosen these software based on the following factors, and the full methodology can be found at the bottom of the article:
- Have an overall rating of at least 4/5 stars by users
- Have at least 15 user reviews in the last one year (from April 2021 to April 2022)
- Meet the market definition of robotic process automation software
- Value for money – 5/5
- Features – 4.5/5
- Ease of use – 4.3/5
- Customer support – 5/5
Hexomatic is a cloud-based no-code automation platform that enables enterprises to automate time-consuming processes using 90+ pre-built automation processes. The tool allows users to build such processes using Lego-style drag-and-drop blocks to automate repetitive operations at scale. Hexomatic offers services like scraping and analysing listings from any website by capturing product names, descriptions, prices, images etc, of the data, calculating the word count, or extracting search engine optimisation (SEO) meta titles and meta descriptions for product pages. The software can also capture screenshots of specific URLs in bulk and convert files and images of different file types.
Additionally, Hexomatic also offers competitor analysis for monitoring competitor pricing and customer reviews, finding fresh sales prospects using their search automation and email scraper features and detecting the tech stack —a combination of technology used to build an application— of other websites. Hexomatic also offers software integrations with a variety of tools. The tool comes with a free version, and more information on the paid version can be found at hexomatic.com.
- Value for money – 4.4/5
- Features – 4.3/5
- Ease of use – 4.3/5
- Customer support – 4.8/5
Lucy is a cloud-based order processing tool for SMEs that can help them evaluate, collect, and produce sales orders. It allows wholesalers to collect data linked to sales orders in their existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, such as purchase formats and stock codes. The tool can also flag incorrect stock codes or prices for review using artificial intelligence (AI). Using Lucy, managers can map purchase orders by marking sections in the document that correlate to fields like the order number, delivery address, date, stock code, customer code, quantity, and item price.
Using this tool, managers get email notifications when new customers, erroneous codes, or typos in sales orders are detected, helping to ensure accurate consumer pricing and adherence to company regulations. The software comes with a free trial, and paid versions are available via monthly subscriptions. More information on the paid versions can be found at letlucy.com.
- Value for money – 4.7/5
- Features – 4.2/5
- Ease of use – 3.9/5
- Customer support – 4.2/5
Microsoft Power Automate is workflow automation software that enables businesses to automate processes across multiple apps and services using low-code and drag-and-drop tools. The platform also allows customers to automate repetitive and paperless processes by utilising prebuilt connectors —components that allow businesses to integrate with apps and other data sources— for connectivity with third-party applications.
The software’s AI builder allows users to build, train, and publish AI models using pre-built templates and a guided process without having to write code. This feature could be useful for document automation, process approvals, images and text detection etc. The process advisor feature lets users visualise the processes end-to-end and also gives insights on areas of improvement, aiming to take the guesswork out of what to automate. Microsoft Power Automate is cloud-based and comes with a variety of pricing options. More information on pricing can be found at powerautomate.microsoft.com.
- Value for money – 4.4/5
- Features – 4.5/5
- Ease of use – 4.5/5
- Customer support – 4.3/5
UiPath is RPA software that lets SMEs and agencies develop and manage automation tasks to streamline front-office processes such as maintaining files and records. The software helps in the automation of processes using drag-and-drop AI-powered features and ready-to-go templates. The tool also lets users discover all the tasks that need to be automated via process discovery and documentation tools using task mining. UiPath’s StuxioX provides a platform where users can build their own automation processes without requiring the knowledge of coding.
Some other features offered by UiPath RPA are no-code development, picture recognition, optical character recognition (OCR), and document processing. The platform offers third-party and API integrations to automate workflows. UiPath also comes with a studio community platform that allows teams and individuals to access online training materials and communicate on software issues. The software comes with both on-premise and cloud infrastructure and their cloud variant is free for individuals and small teams for internal business purposes. More information on their pricing can be found at uipath.com.
The software mentioned in this article are listed in alphabetical order. The following factors were considered for the list of tools mentioned above:
- A minimum of 4/5 star average overall rating.
- The existence of at least 15 reviews of the software over the past one year (April 2021 – April 2022).
- All the above software match GetApp’s definition of robotic process automation software: robotic process automation (RPA) helps businesses automate and optimise processes in order to reduce repetitive work and improve employee productivity.
- Out of our resultant list of tools, we selected the four best tools with the top average overall ratings of at least 4.5/5 stars.
- All the software have the following core features: AI/machine learning and business process automation.