When do I start to pay for robotization?

If you decide to go for robotization on your own, most often with a help of external specialist who assist in rolling out RPA project, than significant up-front investment need to be done. Apart from the actual cost of hiring external company (and these costs may exceed hundreds of thousands Euro), internal robotization is associated with following costs:

  • Investment in IT infrastructure required for hosting robots internally
  • RPA licenses – in most vendors’ offer licenses are acquired in a long term agreements (exceeding 1 year). Moreover, one license can accommodate robots doing equivalent of 3-4 people work, what means that efficient utilization of RPA licenses requires scale.
  • Investment in IT Center of Excellence team which will be able to maintain the infrastructure, platform and tools required for robotization.
  • Setting up RPA development team, which will not only develop new robots but also reconfigure them when needed after they are launched.

Digital Teammates® is offering robots in pure Rent-a-Robot mode so expects to be paid for robots only since they start doing actual work for our Clients. The whole phase of potential recognition, development, testing and deployment is investment- and cost-free for our Clients. So all the above costs associated with launching robotization internally are non-existing in Rent-a-Robot model.

Konrad Jakubiec
Board Member

How much does the robotization cost?

Largest organizations can opt for fully fledged robotization setup. That means that recruitment of full RPA Center of Excellence is needed. On the top of that a team of RPA developers, IT infrastructure and licenses need to be acquired. This approach is recommended for organizations which have a potential for robotizing hundreds of FTEs jobs. One of very important factors of estimating costs of robotization in this setup is where the Center of Excellence is located. That is particularly important for international organizations which tend to have R&D and IT competences located in more developed countries and back-office operations outsourced to places with lower employment costs. Such setup increases pressure on robotization and requires even larger scale as development of robots is more expensive relative to back-office costs and achieving economic benefits is even more challenging.

Typical smaller robotization projects last between 6 and 12 months and consist of strategy, process analysis, process optimization and robotization potential identification. From our experience this approach is the trickiest as the further robotization and maintenance of robots requires having RPA developers and part of Center of Excellence on board. That means that without careful prior planning robotization in such mode may miss initial economic analysis.

There is another option available on the market which is based on Rent-a-Robot business model. Robotization with Digital Teammates® is done this way, what means that it doesn’t cost anything before robots start doing actual work. Their ‘salary’ is a fraction of the cost of an employee, who did the same work before robotization. Typically, robots start their work 4-6 weeks since the start of cooperation. What is even more important, in Rent-a-Robot mode Clients do not need to invest in RPA competences in order to have fully functional team of robots on board. In such mode robotization is considered as a straightforward saving from day one rather than a cost.

Konrad Jakubiec
Board Member

Hand in hand with robots – how people react to digital teammates?

As you can easily imagine, the decision to introduce robots that perform tasks handled by people can be a controversial topic for human employees. Our experience shows that even mere delivery of such news can stir the emotions and open up argumentative discussions. Both surprise and fear of the change itself and a potential loss of daily tasks can turn out to be a daunting blocker if not addressed in time.

Making employees accustomed to the subject and transparently presenting them what the planned changes are associated with is always a good start. Let’s not be afraid to say that robots will actually do some of our people’s work, but at the same time, we must not forget to emphasize that robots will handle the least liked tasks. Clear explanation of the fact that in the present reality we have much more work than resources to handle it is also a good argument because it’s our employees’ everyday reality and they can relate to.

A good introduction is one thing, but the best results in convincing people to robots stems from employees’ involvement in the very process of their development and the fastest possible launch of robots. These are the characteristics on which the Rent-a-Robot model offered by Digital Teammates is based. The most crucial here is the immediate transition from theory to practice what allows to convince our employees that robots are their allies, not their enemies. By handling the most repetitive and tedious tasks, they allow people to focus on a more creative side of their work and strongly emphasize the expert status of our human crew. Supervising the tasks carried out by the robot and at the same time necessity to handle most unique, complicated and complex cases by humans allows for the continuous progress of their specialist knowledge.

Reluctance related to employees’ anxiety of unknown and new technology is also easy to overcome by showing people that they are necessary for proper processing of tasks by the robots. The technological aspect and familiarizing people with the way that RPA works have an additional value, worth emphasizing in the conversation with our teams. Considering the dynamic growth of popularity of robotic solutions coupled with their relative novelty, first-hand experience gained by working side by side with robots, will be exceptional and almost exclusive for our employees. This is another aspect worth emphasizing.

In practice the introduction of robots can work wonders, especially in case of sudden spikes of volumes. Our employees noticed quickly that thanks to having digital teammates on board they are no longer asked to do overtime to handle additional volumes. The robots will take care of them gladly and without complaints and thanks to that our crew will be well-rested and much more effective.

Based on our experience, it can be noticed that despite the initial fears, anxiety of the unknown, and even resentment and controversy, robots can win the sympathy and favor of the employees. The combination of theory, elements of education and taming, and finally the launch of the first robots are enough for our teams to become convinced to RPA and to open them to accept the benefits of this solution.

To sum up the topic, I will quote the situation which happened few weeks ago – passing one of the employees in our office, instead of the usual “Hi!”, I’ve heard: “Magda, these robots are not so bad, after all. When will we get the next one? ” It seems that this short yet pithy point speaks for itself.

Magdalena Adamczewska
Head of Operations

What do I have to do to start robotization?

We are strongly supporting an idea that robotization should be done in a way that shows first benefits very quickly and does not require much upfront investments – both in terms of money and time. That is why n order to start we just have to find first process that fits for robotization and understand its logic. Once we know what process it is and what application it uses all we need is accounts for robot for them and we can start the actual development.

The important feature of Digital Teammates and its Robo Shepherd team is that we do not require detailed mapping of processes, documentation or any other sophisticated preparation. Finding robotization is as simple as just showing our Robo Shepherds what people are doing. Usually a workshop which is few hours long is enough to have a very good start. We are even able to develop a fully functional robot based on a video recording.

We prefer project discover phase to be kept as short as possible as we want to have first deployed robots early and it is more natural for us and our Clients to search for other processes for robots once robots and their logic is familiar.

Once the first processes are identified, our Robo Shepherds develop the first robots. This process usually takes few weeks, 3-6. After this period robots are deployed and start doing their job.

Bartosz Pietras
Head of IT