As with any leading-edge technology, the internet is rife with information and misinformation about Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This makes it difficult to discern facts from myths. This blog debunks some of the most common myths found on the internet regarding RPA; to help you gain a better understanding of what RPA is and if it is right for your organization.
RPA does not require IT resources
Many consulting firms are pushing RPA as a purely business driven automation initiative that does not require any support from IT. While it is true that RPA is generally a business led initiative, the implementation will require the support of your IT team. To implement RPA successfully, the business will require infrastructure (Virtual machine or a physical host machine), robot’s user account, access to systems, access to email servers, security considerations and more.
Although IT’s role in RPA implementation is minimal compared to other automation projects, IT team should be engaged as a key stakeholder to ensure a successful implementation.
RPA robots are not 100% accurate
There are numerous blogs and articles on the net that talk about the fact that RPA robots are not always accurate as they will follow instructions without “thought” or “common-sense”. So, if there is an error in the instructions provided, the robots will replicate the errors until a human intervenes. This in fact, proves the fact that robots are 100% accurate. Unlike humans, a single robot can flawlessly follow multiple processes without the need for reprogramming or restarting. For example, if the robot receives a payroll file, it follows the payroll process. Next if it receives a claims data file, it will flawlessly follow the claims process.
What this “myth” found on many blogs and articles does highlight is the fact that the team you select to implement your RPA robot must be experts at capturing and mapping processes. Each loose end must be discovered and accounted for. Even a tiny error in process mapping or programming the robot can have significant impact. At Imagis, our proprietary solution for mapping processes guarantees the robot will not encounter any challenges that it does not know what to do.
RPA is only about replacing humans
First and foremost, RPA cannot replace humans. The technology required to replace a human simply does not exist. What RPA can replace however, is the predictable, repetitive, high volume tasks (Essentially the mundane data entry, manual data processing, basic calculations etc). Taking away the mundane from the day job typically results in a more engaged workforce that can focus on value added work. As an example; instead of data entry, staff can be diverted to customer service. In fact, it has been shown that when people are freed from repetitive work, they become more loyal to the company, have higher job satisfaction and drive innovation. In fact, depending on how you implement RPA within your organization, you may require additional staff to manage your RPA implementation.
RPA is much more than just automating repetitive task as well. Key benefits of RPA are:
- Integrate – RPA allows you to integrate systems that otherwise would be difficult and expensive to integrated, such as legacy systems
- Speed – Robots can process data faster and without breaks leading to predictable, consistent and real-time processes
- Accuracy – a single robot can support several different processes with guaranteed accuracy, robots will follow instructions without fail
- Flexibility and scalability – RPA can grow with your business and can even help manage seasonal peaks and valleys with ease
- Improve – employee and customer satisfaction
RPA can be utilized for any process
RPA is excellent at automating highly repetitive, high volume work that humans typically don’t want to do and that is where the effort should be focused.
General guidelines for processes that are well suited for RPA include;
- High volume
- Finite and predictable steps
- Low exceptions
- Digital data source
Anything outside of these guidelines is not well suited for RPA. With the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning, RPA can automate more complex processes however, most RPA implementations are founded on these guidelines.
Even if a process meets these criteria, there may be more appropriate alternatives that should be considered. Such as, readily accessible APIs or other integrations. In these situations, RPA is fully capable of driving the desired automation, however it is not ideal.
RPA is expensive
When compared to alternatives, RPA is extremely cost effective. In particular, when compared to automating systems through integration. RPA can be implemented in a fraction of the time it would take to integrate systems and reduces operating expenses just as quickly. It has been shown that ROI on most RPA implementations is within a year. Beyond the first year, is all bonus. In addition, once implemented, the robot will work 24/7 with 100% accuracy and can grow and scale with your business.
However, RPA can get costly if you select the wrong partner. Consulting fees, partner costs, subcontracting markup are a few examples extensive overhead costs that some larger vendors need to recoup. While other vendors will push RPA into every aspect of the business, even when cheaper or better solutions like APIs or other integrations are available, to drive the profits up.
How/where can I get more information?
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Imagis Inc is a Mississauga, ON based independent business advisory firm focused on helping private and public sector organizations transform their business by leveraging leading-edge technologies like Robotic Process Automation, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, internet of things and custom software. Our leadership team are experienced practitioners in their fields, recognized for their depth of knowledge and a track record of making a significant impact on businesses. To learn more, contact us.