RPA: Disappointed customers despite growing maturity?

 

The number of analyses and studies on RPA is exploding. Forecasts show the same trend: steep growth. The hype promotes intense competition with ‘Intelligent Automation’ already touted as the next stage in development. However, there is a rather widely ignored challenge with RPA, which is the reason analysts expect disappointment among RPA customers despite rapidly growing improvements in the technology. 

Almost all RPA analysts mention two major issues for 2020: Artificial intelligence and the scaling of RPA. This might not appear a major obstacle at first, after all, intelligent automation is just a natural evolution that will complement basic rule-based process automation and open up new possibilities.

Scalability, on the other hand, sounds benign, but could be a real problem. A study by HFS Research already showed in April 2019 that only 13% of the companies using RPA are able to successfully scale their automation. As is so often the case, both Artificial Intelligence and RPA scaling, show there is a  gap between technological expectations and what is actually achieved in practice.

A leading global market analyst predicts that 40% of companies will have buyer loyalty to robotic process automation by 2021. This is due to misalignment, silo use and lack of scalability.

 

Through 2021, 40% of enterprises will have robotic process automation (RPA) “buyer’s remorse,” due to misaligned, siloed usage and inability to scale.”

Gartner Critical Capabilities for Robotic Process Automation (December 2019)

 

Topic #1: Intelligent AutomationLink to E-Book: In 5 steps to the RPA Center of Excellence

In 2019, RPA solutions integrated the first intelligent components. Companies have expanded their scope and goals of RPA over the past year. After automating individual, isolated tasks, RPA users are now looking at more extensive processes and application scenarios. To enable this, many companies often rely on Natural Language Processing (NLP) in combination with RPA, as this offers a huge and diverse automation potential, especially within customer service, as this example shows.

In 2020, intelligent components and machine learning will help further still, with process identification and evaluation, for example. It will also be easier to deal with process variants and exceptions during automation.

Topic #2: Scalability

There are two aspects to Scalability: one is the growth of RPA throughout the organization meaning a strategic, controlled rollout of company-wide deployment of automation. The second is efficient scaling technology that allows users to ramp up their RPA resources quickly, easily and cost-effectively.  While the patented ‘Secure Session’ technology from Servicetrace enables companies to reduce the scaling and operating costs of RPA by up to 80% (learn more here), in order to successfully scale RPA across the enterprise, you must also consider the following:

  1. Automation Mindset: For automation, you need C-Level support. Because RPA affects the entire organization, its people, its processes and procedures, companies need to eliminate fears about automation and in fact assure employees it will help and empower them.
     
  2. Clear goals: In addition to measurable targets, evaluate the extent to which RPA can affect and benefit long-term business goals. This will help you plan a successful RPA roadmap and implementation.
     
  3. Automation Lifecycle: RPA is more than just creating an automation workflow. Think about RPA holistically in terms of a lifecycle, beginning with process evaluation and documentation. After implementation, if you want to operate, optimize and scale your enterprise resource planning efficiently, the best option is a holistic platform that allows you to manage all phases of the RPA life cycle.
     
  4. RPA ownership & governance: The more that employees can automate processes, the faster and greater its impact. However, a top-down approach is essential for your RPA success. You’ll need an individual or team that has central responsibility for RPA, commonly in the form of a Center of Excellence. This person or competence team is then responsible for the general governance and evolution of RPA throughout the organization.

 

With all the hype surrounding the robotic process automation market, most organizations are buying from one of the three big vendors in this market; however, there are other strong, competitive products in the market with innovative features.”

Gartner Critical Capabilities for Robotic Process Automation (December 2019)

 

Analyst tips to counter RPA disappointment: Take time for a comprehensive product selection

 

The Gartner Critical Capabilities for Robotic Process Automation report, published in December 2019, states: “With all the hype in the market for robotic process automation, most organizations are buying from one of the three big vendors in this market; however, there are other strong, competitive products in the market with innovative features”.

This is good news for customers as there is an exciting choice of credible and innovative RPA solutions on the market. Procurement need not mean heading for one of the big three and vendors like Servicetrace are also long-established with a solid track record of innovation.  Our advice is:

  1. Take time to formulate your goals and requirements for RPA and then look for the right product.
     
  2. Don’t think in small, silo projects with RPA. Approach RPA strategically and company-wide. Strive for comprehensive adoption and deployment throughout your organization and plan for scaling.

These are good prerequisites for achieving long-term value from your investment in RPA.

And just in closing, according to Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q4 2019, “Servicetrace is a good choice for companies with end-to-end process problems that require orchestration of different people and automation, and for companies with high security requirements that traditional RPA platforms struggle with.“

Read how leading industry analysts rate Servicetrace.