About Automation

Web automation

Not all processes rely on internal systems. Learn how to automate complex workflows involving third-party web applications.

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If you’ve ever used software robots to handle your mundane tasks for you, you’re probably familiar with technologies like robotic process automation (RPA). Traditionally, RPA was used for routine, repetitive tasks, like data input. However, as technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) become more powerful, the possibilities for automation are rapidly expanding.

Now, businesses can automate more than just their internal processes. AI and machine learning (ML) empower people to automate more complex workflows, including those that involve third-party web applications. It’s at this intersection of external web apps and internal processes where web automation comes into play. 

What is web automation?

Web automation, as you might expect, is using software robots to automate business processes with in-browser web steps. Such steps could include anything from filling out lengthy forms to scraping web data. 

It might help to think of web automation as a subcategory of RPA or business process automation (BPA). While all three use software robots to automate processes, web automation uses them specifically for automating web-based tasks. 

Let’s say you have a multi-step business process that requires you to populate an internal application with new data from the web every day. Rather than manually going and collecting that data yourself, you can train a helpful software robot to do it for you. Even if you’re just saving yourself ten minutes every day, over the course of a year, you’ve gotten back nearly two days’ worth of time.

So, how does web automation work?

Imagine you’ve been given your own personal assistant to help you with your daily work tasks. Before they can get started, you need to train them on how those tasks should be performed. You can either write out step-by-step instructions for each task or perform the tasks yourself while your assistant watches and learns.

Although web automation is a bit more complex in how it works, it’s not entirely different from this scenario. However, instead of training an assistant, you’re training a software robot. You can give the robot instructions on how to perform a web task. Or, it can follow along as you perform the task yourself and then replicate those steps with incredible accuracy.

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Aside from saving time, what are the benefits of web automation?

Web automation certainly helps you save time by carrying out tedious, time-consuming tasks on your behalf. However, regarding business benefits, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Web automation benefits include:

Getting results faster

Web automation doesn’t simply take care of web tasks for you. It can complete the same tasks as humans at far greater speeds. In fact, a web process that takes hours for a human to complete could be completed by a software robot in minutes or seconds. Therefore, people who use web automation aren’t just saving themselves time. They’re improving efficiency while giving themselves more time to focus on tasks that rely on human skillsets.

Improving accuracy

There’s no denying that the benefits human employees bring to an organization are irreplaceable. However, there are certain areas where software robots are better suited to the task at hand. For instance, humans are prone to errors, like hitting the wrong key or copying an incorrect dataset. This is especially true when humans are tasked with carrying out the same tedious web process over and over and over again. Software robots are trained to carry out tasks the exact same way every single time, and they aren’t as susceptible to error as humans. Therefore, they are less likely to make an incorrect keystroke or miss a step. If trained correctly, they provide significantly better accuracy than any human.

Adding value from the top level to the shop level

So, what do faster and more accurate web processes add up to? When combined, greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency amount to greater value for your organization. Not only are you completing more processes faster than ever before, but you’ll also save time by reducing errors and the time it takes to correct them. In simple terms, you are saving both time and money when you incorporate web automation into your wider automation strategy. Not to mention, your human employees will have more time to focus on tasks that challenge them mentally and creatively. Now, that’s a win-win-win situation.

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What web processes can be automated?

Imagine you’re an e-tailer who needs to know up-to-date competitor pricing across digital channels. Or, say you’re a marketer who relies on timely customer data from a cloud-based system. The beauty of web automation is its adaptability to different web processes. Two people could use web automation for two completely different tasks but with the same goal of increasing speed and accuracy. Here are some common examples of web processes suited to web automation.

Automated form filling

Form filling is a tedious and time-consuming task. It is also prone to frequent errors, as even one missed keystroke could prove costly. Web automation can automatically fill out forms with the correct information almost instantly, reducing human-induced errors and bottlenecks in web processes.

Automated content scraping

For many businesses, third-party web data plays a major role in informing strategy. For e-tailers, knowing up-to-date pricing for competitors can help determine the cost they list their own products for. Alternatively, digital marketers use search data to understand who is ranking on search engines for specific keywords.

No matter what you might use web data for, web automation provides you with faster access to it. It can scrape the necessary information from the web and input it into the desired internal systems so that you can focus on strategy, not data input.

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What are other real-world use cases for web automation?

The business world is evolving. You’ve likely experienced first-hand the migration from legacy systems to cloud-based applications. With this migration, web automation becomes more relevant with each passing day. Here are just a couple of the many business use cases for web automation.

Inputting customer data into web-based systems

Let’s say your business uses a web-based customer relationship management (CRM) system. You need to constantly update your system with relevant, up-to-date data on your customers to gain actionable insights.

When a conversion is recorded or when a customer fills out a form with their information, that data needs to be recorded. With web automation, software robots can automatically input that data into the CRM app, giving marketers timely data to help inform decision making.

Brand monitoring

Imagine you run the marketing team for a well-established brand that has recently released a new ad campaign. To monitor the campaign’s effectiveness, you need to see how receptive the public has been to it. 

Web automation bots can scrape web data from various relevant sites, such as social media platforms. The bots then input that information into a program that performs sentiment analysis on what people are saying about the campaign. Through this process, you gain real-time insights into how your campaign is performing with audiences.

Want to learn more? Discover how web automation tools and software can help you

As more businesses migrate to cloud-based applications, web automation is more important than ever before. However, most business processes aren’t limited to just the web or internal systems. You need to choose a web automation tool that integrates easily into your wider internal processes beyond just web-based tasks.

The UiPath Business Automation Platform™ connects your web automations with your wider business processes for seamless end-to-end automations. It incorporates AI and ML to allow for the automation of even the most complex business processes.

So, whether you’re migrating to a new web-based system or simply relying on data from the web to make decisions, we’ve got you covered. Want to see how automation can help with your role? Explore our automation solutions for different departments.

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Discover more resources

UI Automation: Step-by-step instructions for using our Web Automation Activity
Web Automation Summit


UiPath Web Automation Summit: A new era of productivity is on the horizon.
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Love the idea of web automation? This Academy course is a great place to start!