What is RPA and how to use it in various ways to improve your business efficiency

What is RPA and how to use it in various ways to improve your business efficiency - Blog Header image

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, the leading ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Software of 2022 is an all encompassing solution. However, combining Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Microsoft Power Platform, and AI Builder with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers a comprehensive solution for process automation, data integration, and advanced analytics. This integration can drive operational efficiency, cost savings, improved accuracy, and enhanced customer experiences, ultimately leading to a competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

What is RPA and how does it help your business?

RPA is a technology involving the use of software bots to automate repetitive tasks in an organisation which usually require human intervention, they mimic the human interaction with digital systems, such as data entry, invoice processing, or interacting with various other applications and systems enabling end to end automation of processes. RPA has gained significant popularity due to its potential to enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs and improve accuracy.

Let’s understand what is RPA and how it helps:

  1. Saving Time and Efficiency: Today, saving time and increasing efficiency are one of the major concerns for all small and medium sized enterprises (SME). It is crucial to automate tasks that are repetitive in nature and exhaust a lot of human time and efforts. RPA leads to considerable time saving and faster processing of tasks which increases operational efficiency.
  2. Budget cuts: Small or Medium sized enterprises are always seeking to reduce labour costs. RPA does the job by cutting the need for repetitive tasks which are usually done manually. It also reduces the likelihood of errors and the cost that comes with rectifying that error.
  3. Accuracy: Accuracy is a vital aspect for decision making, customer satisfaction, financial health and the compliance & legal issues within an organisation. Accuracy also improves the operational efficiency and improves interpersonal relations between vendor and supplier. The ability of RPA software to run with an elevated level of accuracy helps in minimising the chances of human error and thus achieving the said results.
  4. Scalability, Efficiency & Consistency: Humans have been fulfilling the task of operations and data handling manually for years now irrespective of the size of the organisation. But in today’s age it has become vital to keep a competitive edge with other organisations and industries and to provide the best to customers, which demands a digital transformation of the processes.
    RPA bots have the ability to work around the clock while minimising errors. They can manage data across multiple systems, databases and applications. They can easily scale up or down based on the volume of work and do not require added labour. They ensure consistent work with predefined rules and established procedures.
  5. Free up human Focus: Humans carry the power to think strategically unlike the bots and it would be a valuable addition to business if repetitive tasks were replaced with bots and free up human focus for more strategic, creative, critical thinking and decision-making matters.
  6. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Carrying out ethical responsibilities and adhering to legal boundaries of law is important while carrying out business. Adhering to regulations ensures that the business avoids legal penalties, fines, and reputational damage. Compliance also builds trust with customers, investors, and stakeholders, showcasing the company’s commitment to ethical practices. 
    The RPA system helps ensure that tasks are performed in a consistent and compliant manner, reducing the risk of non-compliance with regulations and policies by reducing human involvement to minimal. It can also provide detailed logs of all actions performed, facilitating easier audit trails and reporting for regulatory purposes.
  7. Better Customer Experience: A better customer experience drives loyalty, repeat business and positive word of mouth referrals for the business. Moreover, focusing on customer experience boosts employee morale, encourages feedback, and fosters adaptability in a rapidly changing market. Ultimately, prioritising customer experience is a strategic investment that fuels business growth and sustainability. 
    RPA helps in improving this experience by enhancing the order processing, billing, and customer service interactions directly affecting customer satisfaction. The elimination of error is important to avoid customer complaints, loss of trust, and damage to the company’s reputation.

To understand better how RPA functions with other tools of Microsoft, let’s understand more about them.

Microsoft Power Platform is a suite of tools that enables you to build low-code or no-code solutions for your business needs. It allows users to create custom applications, automate workflows, analyse data and integrate various systems.

One of the main components of Power Platform is Power Automate, which is a workflow automation tool that allows you to create workflows that connect various applications and services, both on-premise and in the cloud. 
Power Automate also supports RPA through its desktop flows feature, which allows recording and replay actions on your desktop applications. It allows users to create workflows that trigger actions based on specific events of conditions streamlining the business process.

AI Builder is a component of Power Platform that allows adding artificial intelligence capabilities to your workflows without the need of extensive coding or AI expertise. AI Builder provides pre-built models for common scenarios, such as form processing, object detection, prediction, and text classification. You can also create your own custom models using your data and business logic. 

By combining RPA and AI Builder, you can create powerful solutions that automate complex processes involving unstructured data and legacy systems like Microsoft Dynamics Business Central. For example, you can use AI Builder to extract information from scanned invoices / receipts, and then use RPA to enter the data into your Microsoft Dynamics Business Central. Or you can use AI Builder to analyse customer feedback, and then use RPA to send personalised emails based on the sentiment.

How Microsoft Power Platform and Power Automate enable RPA with low-code development:

Our in-house solution supports different modes in RPA Domain, Attended and Unattended. The Attended mode is set up to work alongside humans to automate tasks that require some level of human intervention. Unattended mode is set up where no human intervention is needed and can streamline a fully automated process till the end. 

An example of unattended mode is mailing document attachments to a chosen email address and Power Platform processes them from the attachment and completes the process. In this blog, we will further show the solution workflow for the Attended mode.

Power Apps (canvas app) / Power Page to upload the PDF file of Invoices

Step 1: Add correct data source (for e.g., Microsoft Dataverse, Data Lake, SharePoint, etc.).

Step 2: Add attachment control with PDF Viewer on Power Apps to allow users to upload the files.

Step 3: Use Powerapps V2 trigger in Power Automate to process the file further with AI Builder.

Power Apps canvas app Power Page to upload the PDF file of Invoices

Power Automate flows to process uploaded PDF files and uses AI Builder model to recognise it and process them to Business Central

After creating Power Apps, create a flow to process the document. This connector allows you to access your Business Central data and actions from Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents. To use this connector, follow these steps: 

Step 1: In the whole flow solution, we consumed AI builder (invoice processing), Dataverse, Microsoft Business Central, (optional components like Adaptive Card and Microsoft Teams for approval).

Get the approval on Teams

Power Apps and Power Platform is created, now you can get approvals from Manager / authorised personnel over Microsoft Teams: 

Step 1: You can use the approvals app in Teams to create, manage, and share approvals from your hub for teamwork. You can quickly start an approval flow from the same place you send a chat, a channel conversation, or from the approval app itself. Just select an approval type, add details, attach files, and choose approvers. Once given, approvers are notified and can review and act on the request. These approvals are triggered directly with the Power Automate infrastructure and do not require a flow with an approvals action.

Get the approval on Teams

Step 2: After the document is approved, Power Automate processes the document further and creates the relevant document in Microsoft Dynamics Business Central.

Solution Workflow

Below is the sample invoice which is uploaded on solution (in Attended mode) / comes as an attachment with the email (Unattended mode): 

Solution Workflow RPA Blog

Uploading the file on Power Apps / Power Portal page:

Solution Workflow RPA Blog

After approval, the document gets scanned, processed to be made available in Business Central:

The features and functions of pre-built AI Builder model and how it enhances RPA with artificial intelligence:

Text recognition

  • You can use the business card pre-built model to extract information from business card images. If it detects a business card in the image resulting in the AI model extracting information such as the person’s name, job title, address, email, company, and phone numbers. 
  • The text recognition pre-built model extracts words from documents and images into machine-readable character streams. It uses state-of-the-art optical character recognition (OCR) to detect printed and handwritten text in images. 
  • The language detection pre-built model finds the predominant language of a text document. The model analyses the text and returns the detected language. 
  • The text translation pre-built model translates your text data in real time across more than 60 languages. This prebuilt model could help remove language barriers within your company. 
  • The sentiment analysis pre-built model detects positive or negative sentiment in text data. You can use it to analyse social media, customer reviews, or any text data you are interested in.

Document or form processing

  • Document processing lets you read and save information from standard documents such as invoices or tax documents. When you automate this process, you can save valuable time by reviewing, extracting, organising, and saving the data automatically by using Power Automate and Power Apps. Train the model with different formats of documents. 
  • Receipt processing is a pre-built model that uses state-of-the-art optical character recognition (OCR) to detect printed and handwritten text and extract key information from receipts.

More Use cases where RPA and AI Builder can be applied together:

Use case 1– To ease data synchronisation and retrieval with Microsoft Business Central, front-line workers will capture an image of a product or an object that has an identifier or a price tag on it. 

Use case 2– When a customer expresses their dissatisfaction with the service on ‘X’ (previously twitter), using the service provider’s hashtag, and complains about not being able to access their account or receive any notice of site maintenance, the AI Builder Sentiment analysis model automatically detects the negative sentiment of the tweet and triggers a flow to notify a customer service representative.

Use case 3– To gain insight into how the employees feel about the new HR medical policy, an HR manager conducts a sentiment analysis on the comments they provided in the survey. The analysis shows that the overall sentiment is neutral, but there are some negative comments as well. The manager reviews the negative comments and finds out that many employees are confused or unaware of the benefits of the policy. To address this issue, the manager organises informative sessions where the policy is explained in detail and questions are answered.

Use case 4– The audit staff in charge of the front-line operations capture images of the merchandise on display. A computer vision algorithm finds and counts each item in the image. This data can be integrated with the inventory management system to reflect the current stock.

Use case 5– Using a camera device, a field agent captures an image of a product. The system finds the product and retrieves all the relevant information that was previously entered manually. 

Use case 6– One of the major operational costs for businesses is travel and expense (T&E). This cost is also challenging to manage because it involves a lot of manual work and can lead to mistakes. You can simplify this process by uploading a receipt, which will automatically extract the data from the receipt and populate the expense report fields. Moreover, you can streamline the entire extraction process, scanning receipts as they are stored in a central location, and reconcile them with credit card transactions.


In this blog, we understood how the union of Microsoft power platform, AI builder, and Dynamics 365 Business Central have paved the way for a transformative approach to RPA (Robotic Process Automation). These tools integrate and channel the capabilities of low-code development, artificial intelligence, and seamless application connectivity to revolutonise the operational activities for its users.

The automation of the routine-based task frees up human resources for more strategic tasks. The user interface of Power Automate helps in automating workflow without the extensive use of coding. The prebuilt and custom AI models offer intelligent decision-making improving accuracy.

When integrated with Dynamics 365 Business Central, the RPA capabilities become even more potent by improving the interactions between applications, data, and services and achieving automation across supply chains, fiscal management, customer service and beyond.  

There must be emphasis on change management and strategic planning as and when the organisations embark on their journey of harnessing the potential of RPA using Microsoft tools. The acceptance of this technology integration businesses can empower their workforce and lay the groundwork for more optimised processes.  

Learn more about our RPA solutions at Winspire Solutions. Contact our experts for a demo, licence requirements and further enquiries.

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