If you were to ask any C-level executive implementing automation “Why Automate? What is the key driver????, most of the answers would end up being??? RoI??? or something around that.
Is it implicit that RPA increases RoI? As it turns out, RoI is the single-most deciding factor for Organizations to choose RPA. So, we need to understand what parameters drive better RoI. RoI metrics are critical in creating an effective roadmap for RPA implementation.
Quantifying the expected and actual returns on investment in RPA can help companies make better decisions. RoI is what provides the justification of any business use case. There are multiple stages of assessment in deriving the RoI.
- The initial level of investment
- What RPA technology can deliver
- How best technology can be operated and sustained
Then there are other intangible benefits of deploying the technology.
Faster the implementation, better the RoI
A lot at this stage is driven by assumptions. Assumptions of how many processes fall in the bucket of ‘Easy to Automate’ to the processes that will have to be tweaked or optimized before being considered for automation. It would be wise to have a pipeline of automation tasks ready before investing in RPA. This helps the management to assess the processes landscape in their enterprise and its suitability to RPA. Next comes the costs related to RPA toolsets and instituting the RPA development practice. Different RPA toolsets have different pricing structures and a proper evaluation of vendor and tool is necessary. Reliability, scalability, extensibility, and availability of resources play a major role to attain faster ROI. Implementation roadblocks and costs of overcoming those also need to be considered.
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Critical Capabilities of RPA
The Business case needs to outline in measurable terms what RPA technology can deliver. It can be in terms of metrics like hours saved per process, employee, process turn-around time and Overall productivity. A detailed process-wise framework to track benefits is recommended. Every bot is to be accounted for.!
An expected RoI with an acceptable level of variance can be derived using these measures. Additionally, it would be prudent to assess the benefits of either decreasing employee workload or augmenting it by way of automation. RPA also extends the life of legacy IT infrastructure that translates into direct cost-savings. Also, compliance audits take lesser time and are more accurate. Re-works due to high accuracy gets avoided. Adequate response measures should be in place for downtimes when processes fault and bots don’t work. RPA cost-savings are location-centric. Higher the cost-savings, the better.
But not all geographies may meet the minimum threshold cost savings requirement for RPA implementation. Scale, Speed, and Accuracy are necessary attributes to demonstrate the value of RPA and metrics need to be designed keeping these attributes in mind.
Plan a Sustainable Enterprise-Wide RPA
Stable standard processes that don’t change over time and are automated perhaps give the best returns. Any change in the user interface environment can affect the process, which means the software applications also need to be stable over time. Any change means re-development effort and unfortunately downtime. Failed bot runs must be minimized. Recurring failed bot runs are an absolute disaster. Imagine having to do critical system migrations or large data processing again and again due to RPA failure! Bot failure negatively impacts business directly and retards RoI realization.
Building RPA development competencies are vital. Or seek out a good implementation partner. “The Business user can automate??? theory doesn’t work well in practice, and definitely not when you are doing your all to better the RoI. Having a great ticketing system and a good support team does help matters. Maintaining knowledge bases, re-usable workflows and proper troubleshooting can help re-deploying a solution quickly and effectively.
Organizations need to channelize this knowledge when more and more processes even the complex ones are taken up for automation. It goes without saying that a centrally organized and structured manner of developing and deploying RPA solutions will eventually turn out to be more cost-effective.
RPA is a key technology in the process automation spectrum. Estimating RoI is important to justify the business case. But what is more important is to develop and set of metrics to track the benefits of RPA and have processes in place to sustain RPA profitability. The intangibles of the technology cannot be ignored – better employee, vendor and customer satisfaction, more streamlined work that can be efficiently organized. RPA is also a kind of gateway to implement AI services via third-party integrations.
RPA can be put into effect for a wider set of processes that thrusts the enterprise ahead in AI technology adoption making it more technically agile.