NICE Enhances Its Robotic Process Automation Software for the Enterprise


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dir="ltr">NICE beefed up its Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software today with the addition of management, security, and connectivity features. According to Karen Inbar, a solution marketer at NICE, the technology is now equipped to support more use cases and handle cumbersome, enterprise-level business processes.

Introduced in 2014, NICE's RPA leverages software robots to streamline routine front- and back-office tasks, with the aim of improving operational efficiency and freeing up resources for other work. The solution supports server-based and agentless (unattended) robotic automation, as well as agent-assisted (attended) desktop automation scenarios; it is designed to help organizations scale in a cost-effective manner, and according to their needs, as well as improve their productivity and accuracy.

According to Inbar, the enhancements aim to accommodate more complex processes, as it includes a beefed-up "control room" with advanced management capabilities, more rigorous security guidelines, and bolstered connectivity options.

An addition anticipated by long-standing customers, Inbar says, is a software development kit ( SDK) that allows users to create their own platform extensions and personalize the products to fit their specific needs.

The updated control room is "centralized and scalable," equipped to meet heightened security standards, says Inbar. It supports access to up to 25,000 clients and up to 1,000 robots on a single server, she says. Users can access role-based permissions and data encryption options, an advanced auditing mechanism, and version control log policies. The system can also detect breaches, emergencies, and errors to automatically restrict access to hackers.

Inbar highlights that the technology now incorporates a sharpened optical character recognition (OCR) engine that enables the system to draw data from applications, scanned documents and text images, PDFs, and remote desktops that work through terminal servers and rely on a screen to indicate the location of the data.

"The big advantage of NICE in this regard, and in general in the automation world, is that we don't only automate fully robotic, end-to-end processes, but we also automate processes on agents' desktops, and that’s typically a more complex automation scenario," Inbar says.

While an OCR might have trouble reading data from a PDF or handwritten document, the system can leverage an "attended automation capability" to pop up a callout window on the employee's screen asking them to help identify that data point. "If there is a name, figure, or number that the OCR couldn't pick up, then there is a need for a person to get involved and help with that—people can read handwriting text much better than machines, still.” 

NICE RPA integrates with NICE's customer experience, workforce optimization, and analytics offerings. With prebuilt connectors, the NICE platform integrates also with third-party and homegrown systems, including CRM, billing, networking, virtualization, and Microsoft’s Office suite.

In the coming year, NICE will work on incorporating unstructured data via its Nexidia text analytics and natural language processing (NLP) products. "We'll be able to take unstructured texts such as emails and letters and use that data in the automation workflows," Inbar says. The vendor will also integrate RPA with its case management solution, introduce a tool that can find new opportunities for automated workflows, and update the user interface of its "automation studio" tools.

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