Five burning questions on RPA

21 December 2021
Some takeaways
  • Assess your company’s automation potential
  • The owner of the process is also the owner of any automation within the process
  • Maximize the ROI of your RPA project

RPA is a process technology solution to create business value. By automating repetitive, low value-adding tasks, organizations free up valuable ‘human’ time. It’s our ambition to help you get the robot out of your employees. In this short blog article, we answer five burning questions on RPA.

1. How can I know if a business process is RPA-ready?

Before you unleash the power of RPA within your organization, you need to make a proper business analysis. What

processes should be automated and how to identify them? Initially,

select processes with a high business value and low complexity, the

so-called low-hanging fruit. Processes that are repetitive and performed on a frequent basis with a high volume that involves one or more FTE will turn out as a good business case. On the other hand, your process needs to be mature, stable, and preferably standardized using clean and structured data.

2. What are the most common business processes that can be robotized?

Within the Finance and Administration department, Invoice Processing is probably one of the most familiar use cases. Some popular use cases among financial institutions are KYC (Know Your Customer) and Loan Processing.

Banks and insurance companies were early adopters. Their processes were often very tedious, high in volume, and error-prone. Claims processing and Underwriting were the first picks to be automated.

The most common business processes selected for RPA are the ones that most probably meet all RPA requirements. A candidate process should be mature and standardized, repetitive in nature, with a high transaction volume.

3. How do I create the business case for an investment in RPA?

First of all, you need to assess the company’s automation potential by evaluating manual business processes in terms of technical feasibility and FTE savings (labor hours), operational risk, customer and employee value for a process fully or partly executed by bots.

For start-ups or companies going through a transformation, it might be necessary to include a forecast of future automation potential that becomes relevant when the company grows, new processes are added and processes become more complex.

You should also include a variable beta factor that displays your ability to fully make use of the working time gained. It normally takes some time for employees to get familiar with the new tools and the way of working which regularly leads to productivity loss in the first months.

On the investment side, you need to include one-off costs for software installation, training, change, and project management. These costs are highly dependent on your RPA requirements. Finally, your business case should include recurring costs for licenses, maintenance, and support (external or internal).

4. Who is the owner of RPA: the business or IT

Any process automation, whether software automation, RPA or point-to-point solution (specialized software implementations operating across multiple process steps), runs from within a process.

The owner of the process is also the owner of any automation within the process, including RPA.

This also applies to supporting processes executed by IT. A specific RPA product can have its own product owner, but this is rather a matter of personal interest, ambition, and ability, rather than a matter of department ownership.

5. How to measure the ROI of an RPA project?

If your company has just started with RPA, you might be struggling with Return on Investment. Be aware that a Proof of Concept is just that: proof that the robot runs well.

To maximize your ROI, business processes should be optimized and automated end-to-end. Bots should be able to run 24/7. Companies starting with RPA often deploy bots only on subprocesses or have them run only a few hours per day.

You should look for the tilting point where suboptimal bots become profitable. Aim for bots running continuously on optimized processes. And don’t forget that ROI reaches beyond finance. There’s also ROI to be expected from increased efficiency and better customer/employee experience.