Develop Successful RPA Projects Without The Risks Analysts Warn Of
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has had an interesting few years. The technology itself has only really taken off in the past five years, but there has been a frenzy of activity as each RPA system developer has offered their own view on the future of automation.
In 2019 the founder of HfS Research, Phil Fersht, announced that ‘RPA is dead.’
He followed this statement with a clarification in 2020 suggesting that the RPA market had always been full of hype: “Seriously folks… there’s the hype, then the excitement, then even more hype… and then the realization that it wasn’t quite what you thought… and then, finally, coming to terms with the fact you’re no longer going to hit that elusive jackpot. To hear some people still showering us with cryptic unaudited revenue numbers, and from neolithic analysts still parroting their marketing, just spanks of desperation to keep faking a market that simply isn’t there. Can we just push the off-button on this charade, please?”
What Phil Fersht and the team at HfS had identified was one of the big issues with RPA – everyone talks about it as an instant solution, but it really needs expertise and time. You cannot expect RPA to change your business overnight. In fact, there are several challenges that any executive thinking about RPA needs to consider:
- It can break often if not regularly maintained. 69% of companies using RPA report that their bots break down every single week.
- You need the expertise to get it right. Both for the initial implementation and then ongoing improvements.
- Processes need to be stable and these are usually not high-value areas of change in any business.
- Moving beyond basic RPA into Artificial Intelligence and smart workflows requires more investment and training.
When you read commentators like HfS and then consider all these issues it can look rather negative, but there is a strong case for RPA. It does work, it just needs careful thought. The Robocorp 2022 report The State of RPA reported survey respondents highlighting many strong advantages in their use of RPA:
- Speed of task completion (35%)
- Handling of repetitive tasks (30%)
- Accuracy of task completion (26%)
The real issue for many RPA projects is that companies do not really understand what they can achieve with RPA when they start on the project and how much it will cost to maintain the RPA system. Although these are just software robots, they still have a cost.
IBA Group has an interesting approach that answers many of these questions. First, they suggest always creating a Proof of Concept pilot before engaging in a full-scale project. Their engineers can work with an internal team to explore where RPA could add value and then they can build a demonstration – a real functioning system that shows what can be achieved.
This helps to dispel many of the myths and aligns expectations – managers should see and understand exactly what can, and cannot, be delivered by RPA.
Second, IBA Group has developed its own RPA platform called EasyRPA. There is no need to buy expensive licenses from one of the well-known RPA platforms and then also hire a developer to build the system. The IBA Group team can build a solution using their own EasyRPA system.
RPA is often talked about as a magic bullet – it helps to automate processes and reduce costs, but care needs to be taken with RPA projects. Managers must understand exactly what can be achieved and how much it will cost.
The EasyRPA approach using a proof of concept mitigates much of the risk and allows managers to really see what is possible before committing a larger budget to the RPA project.
For more information on EasyRPA and the IBA Group approach to developing a proof of concept before launching a larger RPA project, click here for more information.