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Operating Models Must Evolve To Address RPA Gaps

Blog: Craig Le Clair's Blog

The search for “quick solutions” to fragmented business applications has pushed RPA investment. I’ve taken over 200 hundred inquiries on RPA in the last six months and also attended Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, NICE, and other vendors conferences and spoken to thier customers. About half the enterprises I have talked with are just starting out either in vendor review or staging early POCs, with the other half in production and looking for the next process to robotize. I’d estimate only about 10% are in any form of large scaled opertations. And most have tackled simple processes that I define as less then 200 human clicks replaced by a Bot that access less then three applicaitons.

But things are moving quickly. RPA tools are relatively cheap. And they work fast. There is no requirements document. You can download free RPA software and develop a Bot in a few days. And who needs a business case when projects can be self-funded from productivity gains? Yet, I’m sensing that early enthusiasm has led to tapping the breaks. Here’s why?

Stakeholders are not properly aligned to the emerging digital workforce. Yes. It might take only a month to build the digital worker. But six times that to get management and other stakeholders on board. In most organizations, the number of people working for a person is a measure of importance. So when you tell them you will replace humans with digital workers they are threatened. Tech management also has a long list of objections and may resist small changes to legacy systems that make Bots work better. Senior technical leadership is often not on board. And thats just for starters.

Some bad processes are getting robotized. RPA plugs gaps in legacy systems and sometimes will delay needed system modernization. Some processes you don’t want to institutionalize by adding robots. If we can improve things first, then do it.

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