Something to Consider August 2019 1
Despite increase in adoption and high sales numbers, satisfaction ratings for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) have not improved in the last 2 years, with just over half of respondents expressing a positive experience. With big promises of transformation and process automation what is going wrong?
Therein lies the issue – big promises. Over hyped expectations and an oversimplification of the realities of process change are to blame.
A dose of realism is needed, with clear goals, tasks, realistic effort and cost laid out from the outset. The evidence is that RPA, in practice, has been largely ‘Task’ rather than ‘Process’ automation’. Even massive productivity benefits at a task level do not scale to the same level of end to end business process benefit. The much promoted ‘ease’ of development and ‘freedom’ of agile approaches have been challenged in reality.
Our own experience illustrates that any transformational business change needs a genuine end to end business process focus, the detailed data on process execution and customer value, and the collaborative, business partnering skills required to engage the gears of innovation and change.
Phil Hersht, CEO of HfS research put his thoughts together in an interesting blog post on the top 5 RPA challenges;
- The over hyping of how easy it is – transformation is not meant to be easy, that’s why humans resist change! To describe RPA as an easy project, undervalues its potential
- Lack of real experiences being shared publicly – we need to be learning from early adopters, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly to avoid mistakes, for others to realise value quicker
- Translation issues between Business and IT – they have different goals and understanding of what RPA is for and how this is going to be achieved. Alignment between these lighthouses is crucial to success
- Obsession with number of bots deployed rather than quality of outcomes – the age old adage, “quality over quantity” is important to the future of RPA. Get one right rather than 100 half right.
- Failure of big ERP vendors to embrace RPA – there’s been little uptake of RPA amongst those ERP vendors that we have put our trust in for years. We need their vote of confidence and easier integration so that RPA starts to become the norm within business processes.
Over-setting expectations is putting the automation industry at risk of failure, not setting it up for the success it should be. As with all types of transformation, process needs to be central to planning and goal setting, investing in the right technology to make this happen has to be the last step to achieve real transformation. RPA has huge potential but its not currently being given the chance to achieve this.
You can find Phil’s blog post that delves into these issues here