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Robots here, there and everywhere, and now in the office - Nuance - Blog

Robots here, there and everywhere, and now in the office

Nuance’s Document Imaging Division is now part of Kofax. Learn more

Excuse me for one moment while I move away from my laptop to let the eufy RoboVac work its magic around my desk. In 2019, it’s hardly novel that little robot vacuums wander around hundreds of thousands, if not millions of homes sucking up dirt and dust, saving time and making indoor air and surfaces cleaner. Over the past forty years, robots have migrated from science fiction books, movies, and television shows, to the real world of automated manufacturing, toys, autonomous vehicles and now consumer “tools” like vacuums. We are surrounded by robots and have been for a while now.

Each year, robots become more versatile, useful, and less expensive, enabling people to work smarter, safer, and get more done in less time. Robots are good at vacuuming, completing precision manufacturing tasks, and driving trucks and cars, but can robots help with something like office work?

You may not see them at the coffee station or water cooler, but a growing number of enterprises are rapidly deploying robots in the form of software that automate an array of digital tasks. This category of software tools is referred to as Robotic Process Automation, or more commonly RPA. RPA is one of the fastest growing segments of the software industry, with some analyst estimates showing greater than 100% growth annually over the past two years. If you are not familiar with RPA software, this post will break it down, including why it’s important for office work.

A Brief RPA History

While it seems to have come out of nowhere, RPA software has roots that extend back to the 1990s. Software developers used “automation” tools that could be programmed to manipulate another application. The programmers could feed it a long list of instructions and the automation software would follow each step testing the new application the way an end-user would operate it. The automation software would detect bugs and log them for the programmer to fix. Using automation, a programmer could let the “bot” test her or his software while they went onto another task in parallel. It was not as thorough or reliable as a human quality assurance tester, but it helped speed up repetitive testing tasks.

As automation tools evolved, they gained different capabilities to support a wider array of tasks. One of those capabilities is referred to as “screen scraping”. As the name implies, the software could detect fields and values on a computer screen by tracking and measuring pixels. Once a required field was identified, the software could copy (“scrape”) the field data and move it to another location like a spreadsheet or database. Most of the uses for this technology were limited, but for critical tasks, this removed the tedious and error-prone task of moving small amounts of data from one application to another.

In the late 1990s, with the arrival of the internet, the browser and HTML (hypertext markup language), there was now a universal platform available for efficiently sharing a lot of new data. As web applications exploded in number and usefulness, a massive number of data sources came online, literally. While those web apps, including sites like, eBay and many more, published a lot of data to the browser, there was no direct way to access it without manually copying and pasting a lot of data, or manually keying it into a spreadsheet or another database. This is where the concept of RPA really took hold.

As HTML standards matured, RPA tools could more accurately and dynamically map the user interfaces for an almost unlimited number of web applications. Once an automation routine was mapped to the coded tags that defined the page, the software could replicate human tasks, entering search queries and then exporting the resulting text, links, images and whatever else the app returned into a spreadsheet or database. This approach came to be defined as “virtual” or “synthetic” APIs (application programming interfaces). Regardless of the name, it served a critical purpose by programmatically, automatically and accurately capturing data from one system and accurately replicating it in another.

The inability to synchronize data between different systems has been a major information technology problem for decades, including most major industries. As the volume of applications has exploded in, so has the interoperability problem, driving up the cost to maintain systems and making it harder to drive greater operational efficiency as information becomes locked in system silos. By combining automation, screen scraping, virtual APIs and other capabilities, RPA provides a dynamic middleware platform that effectively unlocks information from virtually any human accessible source.

A Breakthrough

Suddenly a whole world of previously hard to collect web and system data was accessible at a dramatically lower cost and in near real time. RPA made it easier to:

  • Safely and efficiently replace and upgrade critical business applications, like replacing one brand of ERP or CRM system with another, without disrupting the business
  • Collect valuable data from small niche sources in real-time, like traffic information, retail prices or weather data
  • Synchronize data between disparate systems quickly and accurately without the need to write dedicated software code
  • Provide office workers with access to more timely and accurate information in the format that works best for them, like an excel report rather than static PDF documents.

With a relatively low-cost profile (several products are available as free community versions), enterprises have quickly adopted RPA technology deploying bots for a wide range of critical applications. Because RPA is adaptable to virtually any interface, enterprises can creatively access a wide range of data sources without making any structural changes to those sources. RPA bots will not transfer data as quickly as two systems with a bidirectional integration, but they can be run in parallel to increase overall throughput. In some situations, banks can run very high volumes, in the billions, of automated transactions tasks using RPA bots.

The combination of flexibility, relatively low-cost, a rapid rise in structured web-accessible data sources and a never-ending need for accurate, dynamic data has fueled the recent boom in Robotic Process Automation software. You won’t see them sitting in the cubicle near you, but the robots are in the office, helping workers perform many data centered tasks that were inaccessible before.

In the next of this two-part series, learn how RPA capabilities differ from and complement Document Capture software to deliver the most complete information capture solution for structured, semi-structured and unstructured information.


Publish Date: February 14, 2019

2022 Buyers Guide Workforce Management


Alvaria Workforce
Alvaria Workforce (formerly Aspect Workforce Management) is a high-performance contact center software solution that provides the forecasting, planning, scheduling, employee self-service and real-time agent tracking to ensure that all agents and supervisors are productive, engaged in their work and delivering an exceptional customer experience.


Noble ShiftTrack WFM
Maximize the efficiency of your contact center and meet/exceed customer expectations with workforce engagement tools that help you accurately forecast workloads, match the right resources to your needs and keep agents motivated. More than just scheduling agents and tracking shifts, Noble’s ShiftTrack WEM solutions optimize labor costs, manage capacity more effectively and improve service levels.


Calabrio ONE
Calabrio ONE offers contact centres the complete toolset to unlock the tremendous value buried within customer interaction data and use it to transform the entire business. One seamless solution combines a fully integrated workforce optimization suite with powerful voice-of-the-customer analytics tools deployed—in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment.

Capture every customer interaction across all channels. Extract predictive and prescriptive insights. Elevate customer experiences, improve employee engagement and increase operational efficiency. Then, extend customer-centric strategies across the business to accelerate sales, drive innovation and move your business forward.

eGain Corporation

eGain Solve
Rated #1 by analysts and trusted by some of the biggest brands in the world, eGain Solve helps businesses design and deliver smart, connected customer journeys across social, mobile, web, and contact centers. You can sell smarter, serve better, and know more.


Eleveo WFM
Eleveo WFM was designed to simplify scheduling, forecasting and adherence for commercial contact centers with 500 agents or less. The product is easy to use for supervisors who are not WFM experts, but provides value for scheduling, shift changes, schedule adherence and supports multi-channel and multi-skill requirements. Eleveo WFM was built using open source, cloud technologies but can be installed on premise, in a hybrid environment or hosted for you in AWS.

ethosIQ, LLC

BPO Optimizer
ethosIQ’s Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) Optimizer allows clients to manage their vendor contact center resources without requiring manual intervention through our manufacture-agnostic data collector processes. ethosIQ collects schedule and exception data, based on your desired parameters. Collection of data is transparent and doesn’t require intervention from either you or your vendor resource. You know your needs, and now you can manage those needs effectively, efficiently and effortlessly, using ethosIQ’s BPO Optimizer!

Lieber & Associates

Technology Consulting Services
Lieber & Associates provides consulting services to select, contract for, test, implement, and optimize workforce management systems. It's technology consultants have worked with all major systems and many smaller ones. Counsel is informed by several decades of WFM experience.

MFE International

Agyletime Cloud Workforce Management
Agyletime is an enterprise grade true Cloud WFM and t is channel agnostic .
Its ease to Use , easier onboarding, forecasting and better scheduling.
You can integrate to CRMs such as SFDC, Zendesk, ServiceNow and others and to telephony systems such as AVAYA, CISCO, Genesys and other cloud telephony systems ; to independent Chat systems to aggregate data for WFM omnichannel forecasting, scheduling, optimisation and reporting.

OpsTel Services

The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Perfor...
(read more)

10.) Phonestat

Track staff performance, capture meaningful feedback and deliver quality customer experiences using Phonestat. Our cloud based solution allows you to create simple scorecards to provide instant feedback and training to your staff.

There are powerful integrations to source interactions from anywhere and an open API to allow you to build your own.


VADS Workforce Management
VADS Workforme Magaement is a smart tools that gives connectivity to the workers while working remotely. An intelligent workforce management system that aims to improve operation efficiency with the end goal to provide first.

QPC Ltd.

QPC WFM - Calabrio/Teleopti Specialism
QPC has a long and successful history of delivering tried and tested innovative workforce management systems, and the training and consultancy needed to ensure organisations can leverage the customer service and operational efficiency benefits workforce management principles and automated workforce management systems can deliver.

Simucall limited

Assessment of Contact centre job applicants
Pay As You Go remote assessment tool for contact centre job applicants.

NO set up or registration fee and NO minimum use contract

Assess your applicants ability to listen to a caller, recognise the important pieces of information and record them into a logging system swiftly and accurately under pressure.

Full management dashboard

Pay per completed assessment (no charge if abandoned or not taken by the deadline you set)

Choice of assessment environments - including Insurance claims, Financial transactions, Emergency service calls, Utility defect report and IT Helpdesk

Variety of UK accents used by callers (of different ages and genders)

You retain control of all communication with the applicants

View more from Nuance

Recent Blog Posts:
Customer Success: 6 steps to make your customer touchpoints countSeptember 12, 2019
How Apple Business Chat can help enterprises with their call deflection goalsSeptember 10, 2019
Hear the Call for Help! How Siren Detection Can Make Your Car a Force for Good.September 9, 2019
Nuance IQ is back for the summerAugust 26, 2019
Meet your patients where they are with 24/7/365 answers to their portal questionsAugust 21, 2019
Contact center transformation pitfalls (and how to avoid them)August 8, 2019
Robots here, there and everywhere, and now in the officeFebruary 14, 2019
3 ways speech recognition helps in police incident reportingJanuary 22, 2019
Building trust with a virtual assistant voiceJanuary 22, 2019
Television viewing is no longer a one-way streetNovember 15, 2018

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