New terms like Business Process Automation (BPA) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) have now begun to appear frequently in the IT and enterprise technology discourse, much like terms such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) a few years ago. Simultaneously, organizations around the world are also realizing the benefits of process automation and seek to implement it in their business to increase time and cost efficiency.

You may be curious, too, about what BPA or RPA can do for your business. There is no need, however, to get confused with jargon and abbreviations. In an attempt to help you make sense of some of this jargon, we have created a glossary of process automation terms and their definitions which, we hope, will help you.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): 

Is the ability of a computer to simulate human thinking and understanding.

Algorithm:

Are the precise instructions telling the computer how to do a task or manipulate data.

Automation:

Refers to making a task, workflow or process happen automatically.

Automation Disruption:

Refers to the major change and upheaval the automation has, and is, causing to the traditional workplace, the job market and the daily tasks.

Automation Operating Model:

A model for how RPA will be designed and rolled out.

Business Intelligence:

A system of technologies, practices, and applications that help companies collect, analyze, and present information related to business operations.

Business Process Automation (BPA):

The practice of using modeling, automation, data insights to optimize business activities, enterprise goals, and employee operations.

Read our blog on business process automation.

Business Process Management (BPM):

Is the discipline of applying different methods to improve, measure, analyze, and automate business processes.

Cloud Computing: 

Describes a service delivered over a network by remote hardware and software.

Cognitive Automation:

Automation that goes beyond regular RPA that can work on semi-structured and structured data alike, leveraging cognitive capabilities.

Command line Interface (CLI):

A way of interacting with a computer program by triggering actions with lines of text (command lines) directly to a program.

Compliance:

Is the act of conforming to a rule.

Deep Learning: 

A pattern based processing method that is a type of Machine Learning (ML).

Deployment:

To deploy a new application onto your systems.

Developer Platforms:

A software platform that enables users to create applications without the need for extensive coding knowledge.

Enterprise Class: 

A product or service is labeled enterprise class when it can handle complex transactions or processes at large volumes.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP):

A system that allows companies to manage operations such as accounting, project management, and procurement through software packages that enables companies to gain insight through a single database of shared information.

Enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA):

An RPA scenario where a company aims to automate and optimize the execution and rollout of RPA robots.

Hyperautomation: 

Is the expansion of automation, going beyond the simple, repetitive task oriented automation to AI based advanced
automation which enables organizations to automate highly complex business.

Implementation: 

When you implement something, you carry it into execution or what it was designed to execute.

Industry Specific Processes:

Processes that are unique to a specific industry.

Machine Learning (ML): 

Is a branch of AI based on the realized theory that systems can identify patterns and learn from data without human intervention.

Read our blog on integrating machine learning with BPA.

Natural Language Processing (NLP): 

Part of artificial intelligence, NLP allows computers to understand, interpret, and mimic human languages.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR): 

Software that singles out letters and symbols in PDFs files, images, and paper documents that enables users to edit the content of the documents digitally.

Orchestrator:

Allows a company to schedule, manage, and monitor all robots in one secure place.

Pilot Program: 

A test of the automation that follows the initial proof of concept phase to see if the robot will perform as expected in more advanced, complicated conditions.

Proof of concept (POC):

A test run of the automation to discover its limitations and help ensure that the robot will work as intended.

Rule-based system: 

Is a system that applies human made rules to run the desired action.

Robotic Operations Center (ROC):

A robotics department which specializes in rapid automation and high quality, low cost change management.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA):

Software robots that mimic and integrate human actions within digital systems to optimize business processes.

RPA Roadmap:

A plan that comes after the automation design phase and provides companies with guidelines to meet their RPA goals.

Role based access control (RBAC):

Security parameters that restrict employees to only have access to information that is required to do their unique jobs.

RPA environment:

The combined processes that have been automated in a company, usually within a singular department.

RPA Multi tenancy:

An architecture where a single instance of software application can be used by multiple teams/departments.

RPA operating model:

A plan for how RPA will be designed and rolled out.

Robotic execution:

Any action induced via a robot.

Screen Scraping: 

Copying data from one application to another using a computer program.

Scripting:

A programming language used for automating tasks.

User Friendly: 

Something that is easy to understand and interact with.

User Interface:

An interface where humans interact with a program or application.

Unstructured Data:

Information that isn’t organized in a defined way.

Virtual Environment:

The system created by automation software and programs that manage an organization’s processes from within a company’s existing IT setup.

Workflow Automation: 

A business process where a task is completed from beginning to end. It requires input, a set of rules, and the expected output.

Read our blog on workflow automation.

The area of process automation is always evolving. And so is the knowledge on the subject. Our list of definitions will continue to grow too, so remember to visit this page regularly to discover more terms and explanations.