Finding A Partner With Genuine RPA Experience - Not Just Hype

August 25, 2021  |  Mark Hillary

I hosted an interesting discussion on my CX Files podcast recently. It featured Alex Mead, a customer service director based in Bahrain. Alex has often mentioned on LinkedIn that he doesn’t believe that any of the customer experience (CX) experts named on all the various ‘top 50’ lists actually know much about CX.

When I talked to Alex it became clear that he does have a valid point, but there are many types of experts. There are analysts, advisers, trainers, coaches, and people on both the buy-side and sell-side of the industry. I think that everyone in all these different areas has different expertise that they can bring to the table. The point is really that an ‘expert’ should only focus on the areas where they have genuine expertise and experience – not start handing out certification and courses.

I was thinking about this recently when I recorded a discussion about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with the team at IBA Group. You can watch the discussion here on YouTube and I think it was a useful contribution to the understanding of RPA.

RPA is one of those tech subjects that has been hyped for years.

If you look at Google searches for information on RPA over the past 5 years, then you can see that interest has tripled during that time.

It took until 2019 for business journals like Forbes to finally start declaring that RPA has moved from being mostly hype to being an important business tool now. But there is still a lot of confusion around – that’s partly because there are so many competing vendors, but also many of those promises about automation were inflated.

What I find interesting is that many IT managers exploring RPA do some basic research then call up a vendor directly and ask if they can manage a pilot – just to prove what is possible. This is a classic approach to testing out a new technology because it’s low cost and risk-free, but it does lock you into a single vendor.

If that pilot works then that RPA vendor will get the business. But during the process of running that initial pilot, the IT manager might find that another vendor looks more suitable – but they aren’t in the room. It’s a natural consequence of getting more familiar with the various vendors. They all have strengths and weaknesses.

It’s not my job to directly promote IBA Group here on their blog – they have all their own information and marketing materials here anyway. However, the reason I connected the podcast on ‘who is really an expert’ to the RPA discussion on YouTube was that I was impressed with the underlying knowledge and experience of the IBA team.

Mark Hillarywriter and analyst focused on technology

They are not just producing flashy white papers or videos talking about the benefits of automation. In the discussion, it was mentioned that they have implemented RPA systems for over 70 different companies and across several different vendors. So they know the strengths and weaknesses of the various RPA platforms and they have actually completed real implementations hundreds of times.

If I needed to explore RPA in 2021 and I didn’t have much direct experience then I think I would rather get a team like this in to build a pilot and advise on the best platform, rather than randomly choosing a vendor just because they featured in a nice magazine article.

As my podcast suggested, sometimes it can be hard to work out who is a real expert and who is just great at marketing. In this case, the IBA team certainly rates highly on the ability to just get the job done.

To watch the RPA discussion on YouTube please click here.

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