RPA or Robotic Process Automation is a means to create a virtual world free of the problems and obstacles faced in manual processing.
RPA is generally used to automate high volume processes that are repeatable and driven by business rules. PDF accessibility is one such business process that forms an excellent case study to understand the core of RPA. When numerous PDF pages need to be verified daily, it becomes too cumbersome to be handled manually since the contents need to be minutely checked to make them accurate and in sync with the applicable business rules. Thus PDF automation is a necessity that needs immediate action.
RPA Tools for PDF Automation
There are 3 commonly used tools available to enable PDF automation. They are:
- The UiPath,
- Automation Anywhere and
Using UiPath has certain advantages like:
- Popularity with developers,
- Increased appeal to the Microsoft culture,
- Drag and Drop feature,
- Speed and robustness and
- Free Community version for individual developers.
Thus with just a basic knowledge of C#, .NET and VB.NET, anyone can use this tool to enable RPA.
PDF Automation using UiPath
A PDF generally has some headings, lists, images etc. Each of these components is assigned a tag generated by the PDF generator and editor, Acrobat. The UiPath then verifies the document by matching the tags individually to its business rule. Thus there are 4 phases to enabling PDF verification using UiPath. They are:
- Verifying whether business rules are being followed and implemented,
- Creating a log of the issues found,
- Correcting the issues found and
- Lastly generating the PAC or PDF accessibility checker and accessibility reports.
Some important use cases that need to be verified and fixed are:
- H1 tag, only 1 H1 tag should be present,
- Document tag, the count needs to be verified,
- Section tags, only 1 section tag need to be present,
- List tag,
- Nested lists,
- Table tag comprising of the table summary and header along with the ListIn table,
- Broken links,
- Note tag and figure tag,
- TOC tag hyperlinks and
- Note Tag lists.
The automated PDF tool created when implemented, goes through all the PDFs individually, verifies and checks for errors minutely and fixes them.
After this automation, the PAC can be used to augment the accuracy of the verified PDFs. PAC generates a detailed report and then an accessibility report is generated by Acrobat.
Use of RPA in Different Areas
Like PDF automation, RPA can be implemented in many other areas like:
- Data entry and its updations and validations,
- HR for employee history verification, payroll processing etc.,
- Email automation using INET protocol,
- Desktop application automation,
- Web and mobile application automation etc.
RPA can only automate processes and not products. Its usefulness stems from the fact that RPA implementation is time and cost-effective. Thus any process that occurs repeatedly needs to be automated on priority.
Watch the below video to understand everything in more detail.