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Robotic Process Automation. These are software algorithms or robots that automate tasks that would otherwise be performed by a human. The automated tasks are typically interactions a user might have with a software application interface, like copying and pasting data from one app interface into another.
Hadoop researchers estimate that RPA is going to save businesses between $5 trillion and $7 trillion by performing the work of 140 million full-time workers. That’s a lot of workers and maybe too optimistic, but RPA is on the path to save businesses a lot of dollars. A survey by Nintex in 2018 found that 43 percent of decision makers leading digital transformation programs place RPA high on their list.
But, like anything, RPA isn’t perfect. It’s not that much different than implementation of any new business process. The results are very reliant on planning and execution.
What could go wrong?
Overoptimism is one thing. Don’t be hasty in selecting processes to automate. Select processes that are simple and where the return in value will be high.
Lack of planning can impact any project adversely. Choose an RPA technology with a track record of solving process problems similar to yours. There are many different RPA options available; choose one that best targets your needs.
Underestimation of resources. Automation implies robotic processes running on server and client machines. Transaction times will likely soar, but so will network bandwidth utilization. Make sure that the infrastructure is able to scale to support the new demand.
Ed Hansen, Partner at Morgan Lewis, said that “I think what we’ll find over time is that the real benefit driver of robotics in the business setting will not be the FTE savings, but its ability to collect large amounts of data, what happens with that data, and being in a better position to be able to mine it and apply business intelligence. RPA is here to stay, it is working, and if done right it can be a very powerful tool, but people should be working to avoid repeating past mistakes.”