Are you considering using Robotic Process Automation (RPA)? Or have you already started your first RPA projects? In this article you will find some of the most common stumbling blocks and mistakes when it comes to planning and implementing RPA. The good news is that most of them are quite easy to avoid...

  1. Unclear process selection: Employees want to automate unpleasant processes quickly. But: Quality before quantity. Select and prioritize your processes properly in order to achieve the greatest possible impact. This is the only way to convince your Management of RPA.

  2. Wrong objectives: Do not stubbornly focus on FTE reduction. Above all, think of objectives like (working and product) quality, productivity and innovation. Be creative and define KPIs around process performance, business benefits and ROI calculations.

  3. Don't talk to IT: From the practical implementation to the strategic approach, it is important to have the IT department onboard. You need a comprehensive RPA infrastructure and IT has the methods and expertise to manage it.

  4. Talk to IT only: RPA requires an absolute detailed understanding of a process at its smallest level (working instructions), including all exceptions. This is called a "user story". RPA is therefore not an issue that you only discuss with IT.

  5. Underestimate necessary skills: Process automation requires a variety of competencies and skills that go beyond the mere use of technology. The market for such specialists is (still) manageable. Get external help if necessary.

  6. Think too small: If you start initially with RPA, the Management's expectations are correspondingly high. Think tactically, you need a critical mass of projects to deliver convincing results that are relevant to the organization.

  7. Think too big: Do you want to automate complete processes? Too demanding, time-consuming and complex to maintain. Start with 60 to 80 percent of a process. You can then reuse workflow building blocks of repetitive activities in other processes (agile RPA).

  8. No Management buy-in: Do not start with RPA without a high-ranking business sponsor. RPA will change your entire organization. You need a decision-maker as supporter with the opportunity to act company-wide.

  9. No roadmap: Do not think you can go ahead without a plan (see points 2, 6 & 8). You need strategy, planning and efficiency, and at the same time, the general conditions are changing. Keep all this in mind with a roadmap and remain visionary.

  10. Enjoying success: RPA is just the beginning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will drive automation forward and enable end-to-end process automation. Do not rest on your laurels.


Download a short overview of these 10 RPA mistakes here.

Read more about the RPA lifecycle in this whitepaper and learn more on how a lifecycle approach ensures RPA success.