Intelligent Process Automation: A short glossary

Intelligent Process Automation, IPA

Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) refers to the practice of process automation with solutions that involve smart attributes. IPA solutions are tailored to the specific requirements of the target process by combining technologies like, chat bots, computer vision, machine learning and robotic process automation software.

Robotic Process Automation, RPA

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to process automation with software robots. The robots are programmed to use the applications required for the execution of the target process in the same way as a human operator would. They always follow pre-programmed rules and are easy to integrate into existing business processes.

Software robot

Software robot is a software application that is used in robotic process automation to replace the actions of a human worker interacting with the user interface of a computer system. Software robots may have some vendor specific attributes, but implementing these technologies never requires changes to existing systems.

Enterprise RPA

Enterprise RPA refers to the use of RPA technology in a large and industrial manner to achieve automation requirements of a large enterprise. Enterprise RPA solutions are scalable, easily managed and maintained. These features are achieved by specialized services such as: managing component libraries that allow the re-use of automation objects, expert support, staff training, following and managing RPA performance, support in setting up internal robotic center of excellence.

Business Process Automation, BPA

Business Process Automation refers to a high-level strategy that aims to streamline all business processes. It involves recording – and re-designing- all processes within the business to digital format and then integrating them with an automation software.

Digital worker/ Virtual worker

Digital or virtual worker refers to a software robot that takes over a process or task otherwise performed by human workers. Digital workers deliver Robotic Process Automation (RPA) services where the used technology is a pre-programmable software.

Intelligent digital worker

An intelligent digital worker is a technology platform that combines pre-programmed software robots with different cognitive technologies. An intelligent digital worker is able to handle processes that consist of more complex tasks involving unstructured data and interpretation. Intelligent digital workers are used to deliver Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) services.

Robotic Center of Excellence, CoE

Robotic Center of Excellence (CoE) is the organization’s management center for the use of automation technologies. The job of the CoE-team is to create, measure and manage a virtual workforce that supports the organization’s strategic goals.

Robotic Desktop Automation, RDA

Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA) refers to computer-specific automation that is applied to speed-up or enhance the performance of a human worker using the desktop. While RPA technologies can be referred to as virtual workers, RDA technologies work hand-in-hand with their human counterpart and thus may be called virtual assistants.

Optical Character Recognition, OCR

Optical character recognition (OCR) refers to the conversion of images of typed or hand written text into machine encoded text. OCR programs analyze scanned-in images to detect light and dark areas in order to identify alphabetic letters and numeric digits. When a character is recognized, it is converted into code. OCR is often being used to digitize typed or handwritten information.

Natural Language Processing, NLP

Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies enable computers to process large amounts of natural (human) language data. NLP technologies typically rely on machine learning to help them automatically learn new rules.

Computer Vision

Computer Vision technologies are used to enable computers to gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. These technologies seek to automate tasks that would otherwise require the human visual system.


Chatbots are computer programs that can conduct a natural language conversation. They are designed to simulate a human conversation partner convincingly either via auditory or textual means. Depending on the level of sophistication of the solution, chatbots can make use of NLP technologies or analyze keywords.

Machine Learning, ML

Machine Learning (ML) gives computers the ability to “learn” (i.e. progressively improve performance on a specific task) by processing data. ML technologies can “learn” under supervision, i.e. learn general rules to map inputs to outputs based on a set of example inputs and their desired outputs. The “learning” may also be unsupervised, in which case no examples are given to the learning algorithm. Instead, it is left on its own to find structures from its inputs. Unsupervised learning can be a goal in itself (discovering hidden patterns in data) or a means towards an end (feature learning).

Cognitive Computing, CC

Cognitive Computing (CC) describes technology platforms that involve cognitive technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and chatbots. The purpose of cognitive computing is to combine these technologies to find meaning from and understand a data set at a higher level. Rather than just pure data or sensor streams, cognitive computing can deal with symbolic and conceptual information. Cognitive computing enables computers to interpret information extracted from large data sets, while humans remain in charge of the decision process.

Artificial Intelligence, AI

AI is loosely used as an umbrella term for all cognitive technologies that enable computer systems to perform tasks normally requiring some form of human intelligence. A true AI machine would combine these different technologies in such a way that it would have augmented intelligence, surpassing humans in accuracy and insight. The individual technologies, on the other hand, that are performing tasks by simulating a specific area of human intelligence are called cognitive technologies.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, VR/AR

Virtual Reality technologies are being used to create simulated environments. These technologies allow the user to experience the simulation around them – as they were part of it – not just looking in from the outside. Augmented Reality (AR) integrates digital information with live video or the user’s environment in real time to augment the video with artificially added elements or effects.

Business Process Management (Suite), BPM(S)

A business process management suite (BPMS) is a set of automated tools for designing, implementing and improving activities to accomplish a specific organizational goal. BPMS is designed to support the entire process improvement life cycle from process discovery, definition, monitoring and analysis, and through ongoing optimization. BPMS tools allow the organisations to redesign or re-engineer the whole process or set of processes and often also the related IT systems (unlike RPA which is solely using existing IT- system without changes).

Enterprise Cognitive Systems, ECS

Enterprise Cognitive Systems (ECS) are a form of cognitive computing. They are focused on action, not insight, and their intention is to assess what to do in a complex business situation. ECS makes evidence-based suggestions about how the business can achieve its goals. It does so by finding past situations similar to the current situation, and extracting the repeated actions that best influence the desired outcome.


Digital Workforce is the only company purely specialising in Intelligent Process Automation services on an industrial scale in the Nordic countries. We automate the routines of computer based knowledge work and liberate human employees’ time for more productive and important tasks. Learn more about us and our services on

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Robotic Process Automation: Cloud vs. on-premises

How cloud based RPA differs from on-premises solution? Partner and co-founder of Digital Workforce, Jukka Virkkunen, talks about the difference between the two options. Most importantly, he says, the cloud service is about thinking the use of robotics strategically – making choices about what is left undone.

Is cloud service simple as robotics from the plug?

Pretty much, choosing cloud makes it possible for our clients to start using and seeing the results of RPA within days. It offers a quick and convenient way to begin using robotics. Introduction of pre-built and optimized cloud service is easier and faster than using on-premises solution. In cloud service, there is a network segment already pre-built for the client. When the client starts using the cloud, the robots are immediately ready to operate.

By utilizing Digital Workforce’s Repository process and component library, the automatization of the chosen processes can be further speeded up. Also, Repository helps to create significant cost savings by cutting the cost of a single automated process by a halve. Simply put, repository is a library of ready-made automation components. These parts of previously automated process can be utilized to automate new objects. Excellent maintainability, consistent quality and efficient change management are ensured, by using the same components in several different processes rather that executing processes separate from each other.

Does cloud service allow flexibility when volumes change?

New robots can be put into service flexibly when needed. The need for robotics rises often little by little, but it rarely decreases as time passes. Cloud service is often more cost-efficient way than buying high-capacity licenses and training employees to become RPA-experts. When using cloud service, Digital Workforce buys and converts licenses ready for the client. Today, clients do not need to test and try the service beforehand but they can move straight to use it. The robots work reliably within their assigned mandate and use the same applications as any home user.

Does the client organization need to understand RPA in cloud service?

Clients need to have basic know-how before introducing the robotics to avoid failures. In the long run, having some knowledge of RPA is also important to be internally able to identify more processes suitable for the technology. Understanding the possibilities makes it possible for organizations to tap into larger, strategic benefits.

Digital Workforce is a specialized service provider arranging training in robotics. Depending on the client, their location and the scope of the use, the training can be done either online or onsite. Digital Workforce Academy learning environment is designed to match the different levels and forms of RPA training needs that companies have.

What is the competitive edge of cloud based RPA?

Replicability and scalability of the cloud service produces competitiveness. Robotics has an important role in decreasing operative costs. Often a service starts from a customer-specific cloud. If the client uses public cloud, the next step is to take the service there, in which case the cost level will further decrease.

It is rarely wise for companies to host their own cloud environment. Digital Workforce hosts its cloud 24/7, which ensures the continuity of the service and quick response to failures. Hosting this kind of cloud would be extremely expensive for a company to execute. Nowadays almost every company has outsourced this kind of environments to partners.

How can companies tap into the large-scale benefits of RPA?

Companies get the most out of robotics by knowing what to automate. To tap into large-scale benefits, they should first understand what tasks should be automatized, where the technology can be utilized and what are the potential savings. Everything else can be copied, but the company’s way of doing things – make sure you know what is the core of your business and what is not, then work out ways to minimize the costs everything that is not strategic.

Robotics bring one way to do thing more efficiently. Most the areas of business are operative or tactical – not strategic, in which case robotics can be used to minimize cost. Hence, the company can invest to more important tasks rather than investing in tactical or operative areas. With the help of robotics, the tasks are done quickly and effectively, and the company does not need to use their time to areas that are not strategic.

How safe is cloud service?

Robot is often safer than a human. Sometimes business insights and guidelines do not recognize a robot-like way of doing things, which may raise fears about security. However, using robots is completely safe. Robots are connected to customer’s own AD, and the client determines its access rights and scope. The client decides, who has the access rights to applications, and whether they need to be humans or robots. Digital Workforce does not open robot’s log information to the client, which increases safety. Robot replaces a human in information work, and does not do anything that is not allowed to do or make any human errors.

The main thing of security in the use of robotics is how the robot is managed, how the processes are automated, and how they are maintained and improved. Robots usually get the minimum access rights and the ability to read or write specific things relating to the process. When a robot is in a cloud production, it cannot be reached from outside. However, the performance and functionality of the robot can be easily monitored, for example, from a mobile device. Digital Workforce has developed a user-friendly RPA Management -tool that makes it possible to manage and monitor the robots whenever and wherever.

How does RPA relate to other robotic technologies?

When the robotic maturity increases, we stay above the curve. The consultants of Digital Workforce are accredited software robotic specialists. Digital Workforce has invested especially in deployment services that support the client in the rapid and efficient application of the new technology. At the same time, we try to speak for robotics as a part of a greater ecosystem – RPA is an important tool for today’s companies but it can be best utilized when the technology is applied strategically as a part of a larger toolset. For the client utilizing a cloud service, it is the most important to think of the use of robotics strategically – what is central to business and what tools help us to focus on our core business. When RPA fits the bill, the rest can be trusted for our specialists!


Face tomorrow’s challenges with digital workforce by your side! Contact us to unravel the automation potential hiding in your organisation.

Article: Jukka Virkkunen – Digital Workforce Partner and co-founder
Picture Wonderlane licence CC BY 2.0

RPA – Fra nul til hundrede på bare 100 dage

Det siges, at brugen af digitale arbejdsstyrker (eller RPA – Robotic Process Automation) er enkel. Projekterne er hurtige og mindre omkostningstunge end traditionelle IT-løsninger. I løbet af få uger kan du automatisere næsten enhver rutineopgave i din organisation. Endelig kan vi sige farvel til IT-budgettering og lange IT-ønskelister, som aldrig bliver implementeret. Er virkeligheden så rosenrød? Både ja og nej.

Søgen efter replikation og skalerbarhed

Implementering af automatiseringsscripts er nemt og hurtigt – når du først har fundet de rigtige opgaver at automatisere, og besluttet hvad der vil ske efter automationen. Hvordan vil teams arbejde sammen med de virtuelle medarbejdere, og hvilke slags nye opgaver vil mennesker varetage, når de ikke længere belastes af trivielle og kedelige rutiner?

Det er vigtigt at huske, at inden en RPA løsning bliver reproducerbar skal du finde ud af, hvordan du opbygger en skalerbar teknisk platform, hvor du enkelt og hurtigt kan tilføje flere digitale arbejdere.

Hvis du ikke ved, hvor du vil hen, er der mange åbne veje

Organisationer implementerer ikke RPA bare fordi det er sjovt (det er sjovt, forresten), men fordi de ønsker at opnå konkrete resultater. Nogle gange er resultaterne højere effektivitet eller kvalitet, nogle gange højere værdi. Uanset dit mål, skal du sørge for at definere det grundigt og derefter bygge en maskine der kan levere værdien. Det sker ikke af sig selv.

RPA er et yderst nyttigt og fleksibelt værktøj, når du bruger det på den rigtige måde. Men selv de mest fleksible værktøjer kræver ledelse og kontrolstyring. Man kan sige, at jo mere fleksibelt et værktøj er, jo mere skal der overvejes hvordan du skal bruge det i organisationen. Om alting er, hvis værktøjet er så enkelt, at alle kan drage fordel af det, og implementere det, vil du hurtigt blive oversvømmet af automatiseringsløsninger der skal omkonfigureres efter den næste ERP-opgradering.

Den digitale arbejdsstyrke skal ledes, præcis som dens kollegaer

Forestil dig en situation, hvor du ikke havde nogen regler eller mål. Alle kunne gøre, hvad de ønskede. Komme og gå som det passede dem, uden at afstemme noget med nogen. Jeg tvivler på, at dette ville fungere særlig godt. På trods af den stigende tendens med selvorganiserede hold er virkeligheden den, at disse strukturer langt fra er anarki. Selvorganiserede hold har et fælles formål og et sæt grundregler. Tilsvarende har digitale arbejdere brug for mål og styring. (De organiserer ikke sig selv, endnu i hvert fald)

Brobygning mellem pilotprojekter og reel produktion

Nogle organisationer oplever en skuffelse efter et succesfuldt RPA-piloter projekt. Forretningsmålene ser muligvis ikke indfriet, eller resultaterne er meget beskedne. Det skyldes almindeligvis, at der har manglet mål og styring kombineret med en anvendelse af en platform, der ikke tillader skalerbarhed, samt manglende operationelle modeller.

Vi hos Digital Workforce har konstateret et behov for at fremskynde RPA blandt vores kunder. Når du starter ad den rigtige vej fra begyndelsen, vil resten være meget enklere. Du skal have en vision og sætte klare mål for automatisering og opbygge en robust platform. Du skal også organisere dig selv omkring emnet og definere prioriteter og styringsmodeller. Det er ikke raketvidenskab, men det er en nødvendighed. Hvis du ikke er helt sikker på, hvordan du gør det eller hvor du skal starte, så ring til os. Lad os snakke sammen!

Tag den hurtige bane og øg hastigheden

Digital Workforce har allerede været på denne rejse med mange virksomheder. Vores erfaringer med nøglekunder i Norden betyder at vi sætter industristandarden og best practice for etableringen af RPA, og vi forstår vigtigheden af den individuelle organisatoriske kultur. Vi har oprettet et gennemgribende program, der hjælper dig med at indføre de nødvendige elementer til automatisering på bare 100 dage. Herefter er du klar til at fortsætte med dit selvfinansierende RPA-program! I samarbejde med os, er små automatiseringer og utallige pilotprojekter fortid. Vil du vide mere? Kontakt os!

Kontakt Tony Minana (Country Manager),, +45 9383 3880

Mød morgendagens udfordringer med en digital arbejdsstyrke ved din side! Kontakt os for at udløse det automatiseringspotentiale, der er tilgængeligt i netop din organisation.

Artikel: Jari Annala -Digital (R), Digital Workforce