The Buzz on Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is certainly a hot topic today, generating sizable buzz regarding RPA predictions for 2019. Companies in various industries are diving deeper into RPA, with the goal of one day integrating this technology into their processes. In this article, we share our synopsis of predictions, processes, expectations vs reality, and even need-to-knows on integrating RPA from subject matter experts.
What is RPA? Robotic Process Automation is a form of technology, governed by specific inputs, that serves the purpose of automating various forms of business processes. Through RPA, an organization can configure a “robot” to harness and manipulate data, trigger desired responses and communicate the process with other configured robots. All for the sole purpose of achieving a specific business functionality that was previously controlled by humans.
So, who needs RPA? Contrary to popular belief, IT driven organizations are not the only ones achieving desired results through this form of automation. RPA can be an integral aspect of any organization wishing to optimize their standard business processes. This can be finance organizations, sales driven businesses, or tangible product driven companies.
What do the subject matter experts have to say about this breakthrough in technology? How do you get started in RPA, and how do you implement it into your business practice? Let’s begin with a synopsis on a recent publishing from Information/Age, where author Michael Baxter explores the realm of RPA in the article, RPA Predictions for 2019, from UiPath.
RPA Predictions for 2019 – UiPath
Out of the gate, we see a reference from Gartner‘s recent prediction regarding RPA. Gartner forecasts that in 2019, the use of RPA in business will grow by 57%. How is this claim supported? Baxter sits down with UiPath’s Chief Evangelist and subject matter expert Guy Kirkwood, who shares his six predictions supporting why Gartner’s forecast could very well be true.
Prediction 1) Attended robots in business will rise
Kirkwood states that the number of attended robots (which are robots working alongside humans) will surpass the number of unattended robots. Kirkwood supports this claim by explaining a ratio in the number of attended to unattended robots in the workplace.
Prediction 2) RPA in the public sector will explode
Simply put, Kirkwood states that the government is certainly not opposed to doing more for less. Therefore, a significant increase in the number of citizen-centric services would be the aftermath of RPA taking a more prevalent place in our government’s inter-workings.
Prediction 3) Business-cases for automation will be built on employee engagement rather than headcount
Kirkwood states that the biggest measurable regarding the effects of productivity from RPA should be based off employee engagement, as opposed to the reduction of manpower. He states that happier employees who share their work with robots in the workplace will increase employee moral overall, and therefore establish a more productive and customer-centric environment.
Prediction 4) Outsourcing will die
This was perhaps one of the more notable statements made by Kirkwood during the interview. The premise of this prediction is that companies will no longer need to outsource so much of their labor due to time constraints, as the implementation of RPA will have increased various avenues of production.
Prediction 5) Artificial Intelligence will slowly bleed into the mainstream
Though this prediction was not RPA related, Kirkwood states that in a recent webinar, the feedback from attendees who used AI in their business was impressive. Simply stated, AI will emerge from a futuristic way of thinking to a business standard by way of automation.
Prediction 6) Analysts will continue to underestimate growth
Kirkwood believes that analyst will continue to misconstrue the picture of RPA growth in business. In 2016, both Gartner and Forrester predicted the rise of RPA to climb by roughly 40-60% by 2020. Today however, RPA vendors are growing much more quickly. Kirkwood states that in the last three years, UiPath’s growth has been 480% CAGR.
How Your RPA Implementation can Fail – Expectations vs. Reality
Circling around to the “do’s and dont’s” of RPA integration, Blackline Magazine published a recent article on the biggest mistakes a company can make when implementing RPA, and how to avoid making them.
According to a recent report referenced by Blackline author and subject matter expert Nicole Schultz, a companies first RPA integration has a 30-50% chance of failing. Schultz highlights the 5 main causes of this failure, and how to avoid them if you wish to succeed.
Mistake 1) Your bots don’t scale
Finance departments are among the first to adapt RPA processes into their work environment. However, Schultz states that in order to integrate this correctly, you need scalable RPA, which is no easy task.
Mistake 2) Your RPA is IT-dependent
This may be a tricky concept to understand. You would think IT and RPA would go hand in hand, considering there must be an immense amount of coding in the process, right?
Actually, IT should actually be less involved in the process according to Schultz. Contrary to popular practice, the department that owns the process integrated with RPA should also own the solution, and changes to it. For example, the IT department cannot completely oversee the finance department. Finance should be under the business side of the organization. Some RPA solutions demand extensive IT support and countless bots, meaning more oversights and architecture.
Mistake 3) You have no internal support
Let’s go back to the example of finance. It may be difficult to gain support from your companies finance department when half are afraid to be replaced by robots altogether. This is where establishing a culture of innovation and exploration needs to take lead on your RPA integration.
Schultz stresses that while you can replace some humans with robots, this isn’t necessarily the best approach to optimizing scalable RPA. It is important for an organization to fully understand that, prior to implementation.
Mistake 4) Miscalculated ROI’s
Everyone wants to know the ultimate question when taking this leap of faith and strategy; how does it affect the bottom line? According to Schultz, it’s important to keep two things in mind when calculating the potential ROI of integrating RPA into your business processes:
- Robotizing 75% of your department’s tasks doesn’t translate into 75% savings, not necessarily anyway. When integrating RPA, the task that are robotized are essentially non-value. A significant amount of time is saved from the routine of human workers. However, it is still up to humans to fulfill the actual tasks required to achieve ROI.
- RPA needs to be a long-term goal. Businesses cannot expect robots to expedite their financial goals overnight. RPA integration does result in some quick wins. However, the real results are seen when RPA is integrated with the end goal in mind of maximizing profitability in the long run.
Mistake 5) Misunderstood bots
Poor bots, so misunderstood! When shopping around in the RPA market, it is important to understand the vendors. In promising to deliver automated goals fast, skyrocket ROI and relieve the manpower present in your organization, businesses can often be short changed.
It is important to understand the specific RPA solution offered by that vendor, and how it will affect your company’s specific needs. This is often the first flaw when RPA integrations fail the first time around. Be patient, be understanding, and most importantly, know what you buy!
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