“The most common myths and blockers of intelligent business process robotization”
Beliefs repeated hundreds of times start to imitate the truth.
Until recently, most companies treated robotization as a technological novelty, while RPA has permanently entered the mainstream of digital transformation. It is a technology that is considered practically everywhere where employees face:
• boring and repetitive work,
• unpredictable labour volume spikes,
• risk of consequences resulting from possible errors,
• difficulties with maintaining business continuity.
The popularization of this technology is inextricably linked with new erroneous beliefs. They emerge on the market, and if repeated hundreds of times, begin to be misunderstood. Thus, they block the use of Robotic Process Automation in many organizations. In the article below, we will focus on the common misconceptions about Robotic Process Automation.
Myth # 1: I have a large back office so my robotic potential is high
Companies in which back-office teams constitute a significant part of the organization are convinced that their robotic potential is proportional to the number of employees. Firms focus their attention primarily on the unit price per day of a developer and on the robotic license price. They ignore the equally high maintenance and modification costs of bots. A considered strategy for building and developing robotic competencies often leads to establishing expensive installations and maintenance, which do not solve the actual business challenges.
The decision to robotize business processes should be preceded by a potential analysis. It will confirm the legitimacy of the implementation and will provide information on the number and complexity of processes that are worth being robotised. These data will allow not only to prepare a plan for the construction and development of RPA as the strategic competence of the organization. Furthermore, the information given will be used to assess return on investment (ROI) on robots implementation.
Myth # 2: A robot must be cheap to develop
The order in which the implementation of Robotic Process Automation in the organization should take place is as follows:
- Identification of business needs.
- Verification of the robotic potential of the processes.
- Implementation and maintenance of robots.
Only in this sequence can success be guaranteed. Robots are primarily software with all its consequences. Considering the implementation of robots looking only at the development cost can be compared to buying a “pig in a poke”.
The processes undergo remodelling as a result of changes in business requirements or updates of IT systems. Dynamically appearing legislative changes and directly affect the shape of the process. They also have a significant impact on the modifications. These changes are visible in the areas of accounting, human resources, and payroll. In this situation, the robot also needs to be adapted to the new conditions of the process. Rebuilding a robot carries additional costs that were not initially planned. Not taking these costs into account when planning your budget results in:
- staying with a broken robot;
- development costs incurred;
- unused robotic licenses (which are very often one of the main costs);
- an unsupported automatically business process.
Myth # 3: Robotization can be done without involving IT
The domain of business is the identification of challenges and bottlenecks of processes. They define and identify the areas that require the implementation of digital assistants and relieve employees from performing repetitive and schematic tasks. In many organizations, business is also the initiator and leader of the RPA project, supplying solutions to IT teams. The involvement of the IT department at the stage of talks about the necessary accesses, improvements and infrastructure is a guarantee of success.
Furthermore, you need to be aware that robots are software with all its components: implementation, change management, security guarantee, process service quality, and maintenance. Lack of IT involvement in the long run also results in problems with deployment scalability. It leads to maintaining an ineffective solution, which ceases to be a response to business challenges.
Myth # 4: A robot should handle end-to-end processes
Often, when preparing a process manual, all possible ways of its course are taken into account. They also include low-volume paths, for example, those that handle several invoices from one vendor in a month. Therefore, the erroneous assumption is that the process should be automated from start to finish. Handling only single cases that are performed once a month or less frequently is not the goal of an effective and efficient RPA implementation.
The role of automation is to put in the hands of Digital Teammates repetitive, high-frequency processes. For the RPA implementation to be justified, the part of the process that is most often performed by an employee should be robotized. For single iterations or handling exceptions, it is wise to leave them to the employee. Developing a robot that will handle the end-to-end process is time-consuming and costly. The expansion of new alternative paths for servicing low-volume parts of the process increases the complexity of the robot’s code. It directly translates into extended development time and a rise in the cost of its production and maintenance.
In this article, we focused on some of the most common myths and schemes that often stop the automation of business processes. For the implementation of Robotic Process Automation in an organization to be successful, it is important to remember the fundamental first step, which is the verification of the robotic potential. A project valuation should be prepared on this basis, and a decision should be made whether the implementation is justified. When starting the implementation process, it is significant to keep in mind that the highest volume of repetitive tasks is handed over to Digital Teammates. Robots are digital assistants who are supposed to support employees in their daily work, and not replace them by performing a part of the process that is often unprofitable for robotization. In turn, the cooperation of business and IT from the very beginning of the project guarantees the creation of a scalable, fully secure solution, which is the company’s strategic competence. The result of a successful implementation is the high efficiency of human-robot cooperation, in which the employee uses his key competencies, and the robot is the guarantor of 100% correctly repeatable processes.