20 RPA Pitfalls & the Checklist for Avoiding Them [2019 update]

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is gaining acceptance especially in the finance and telecom industries however we have spoken to a number of executives and there are plenty RPA failure stories, too. A recent survey showed that >40% of RPA projects fail to deliver expectations in terms of

  • implementation time
  • implementation cost
  • cost savings due to RPA
  • benefits to analytics

We outlined some of the most common pitfalls that lead to these gaps between reality and expectations. We explain these points in detail below:

  • Organizational pitfalls:
    • 1- Lack of time commitment from local team
    • 2- Lack of leadership buy-in
    • 3- Lack of IT support
    • 4- Lack of support from Analytics/Data function
    • 5- Lack of support from HR
    • 6- Unclear responsibilities
    • 7- Company lacking a clear RPA strategy
    Process pitfalls:
    • 8- Choosing a process that changes frequently
    • 9- Choosing a process with insignificant business impact
    • 10- Choosing a process where errors are disproportionately costly
    • 11- Choosing a process that involves higher level cognitive tasks
    • 12- Choosing a complex process. Though its sub-processes are simple, process itself may be complex if it has too many sub-processes
    • 13- Choosing a process where better custom solutions exist
    • 14- Striving for end-to-end automation when it is not cost-effective
    Implementation pitfalls:
    • 15- Pursuing in-house RPA development with in-house teams that do not have enough capacity
    Technical pitfalls:
    • 16- Choosing a solution that requires intensive programming
    • 17- Not relying on RPA marketplaces and other readily available tools
    • 18- Choosing a solution that did not demonstrate scalability
    Post-implementation pitfalls:
    • 19- Not building for scalability
    • 20- Not taking maintenance needs into account

    Organizational pitfalls: Alignment is key for any project’s success

    Especially in projects where there’s no outside implementation partner, organizational alignment is key because your organization will be responsible for the whole solution. Both local team and leadership needs to be fully on-board, with top management regularly reviewing progress and local teams devoting significant time to automating processes getting help from departments like Strategy. Read more

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Despite the claims, Robotic Process Automation’s benefits to analytics are limited

We had explained RPA extensively in layman’s terms and outlined its benefits. One of the frequently cited benefits is improved analytics and big data analytics has been a priority for executives for the past decade. So how does RPA benefit analytics?

Explore how RPA contributes to analytics

We should consider the analytics funnel above to see where RPA can contribute. Bots have essentially 2 critical functions from a data standpoint:

  1. Create meta data: As they complete tasks, they record their progress and the issues they face for diagnostic purposes. This data can be used for both the client or the RPA provider to identify RPA bugs and improve bot performance.
  2. Enable access to data in legacy systems: Since they overtake tasks that require interfacing with legacy systems, they make previously difficult to access data accessible. This can transform data collection capabilities of enterprises, especially those that depend on legacy systems.
As you can see, bots do not essentially improve analytics capabilities but aid in data collection. Even RPA vendors agree with this, underlining that core benefit of RPA is in data federation: the capability to collect data from many different sources and aggregate it in an easy-to-analyze format.

Explore how data federation can contribute to your company’s performance

Firstly, data federation should not be a major concern for an SME or startup. However for large companies, it is a major concern as legacy systems historically held large companies back in terms of easy access to data. Now with access to granular data about processes, large companies can reap 2 important benefits:

Process optimization thanks to process mining

Granular data about processes can help identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies, enabling corporations to increase both speed and efficiency of the process. Furthermore, it makes dissemination of best practices easier. Since process flows can easily be visualized with the help of data, process flows in different regions can be compared to find the best processes for the whole company. Read more

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61 RPA Use Cases / Applications / Examples: In-Depth Guide [2019]

We explained Robotic Process Automation before. RPA has a fancy name and >50 solution providers, however few people I have spoken to could pinpoint exact areas where RPA can be applied.

So we prepared the most complete list of all RPA use cases/application areas and categorized them to in 5 buckets:

  1. Common business processes and activities
  2. Activities in commercial functions
    1. Sales
    2. Customer Relationship Management
    Activities in support functions
    1. Tech Support
    2. Technology
    3. Finance
    4. HR
    5. Operations
    6. Procurement
    Industry specific activities
    1. Banking
    2. Insurance
    3. Telecom
    4. Retail
    RPA applications for personal use such as digital assistants

    Common business processes and activites

    1- Quote-to-cash

    Every business needs to sell to survive. issues in the operations side of selling can result in customer complaints or selling at reduced prices due to clerical errors.

    Automating complete sales operations process eliminates these errors and provides fast service to your customers. Since automation processes sales faster than manual processes, customers will receive invoices earlier, leading to earlier payments and improved cash flow. This can also be simpler process to automate since it mostly relies on company’s structured data to generate invoices to be sent to customers. Read more

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15 RPA Benefits Compiled from Top Sources [2019 update]

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation RPA include improvements in analytics, HR, customer satisfaction, compliance

Most RPA companies and consultants are publishing on the benefits of RPA. On top of our findings, we benefited from 2 articles that helped structure our thinking on RPA benefits. Top 15 benefits of RPA from those articles and our insights are below. They cover RPA’s overall benefits as well as its specific benefits to customer satisfaction, analytics, HR, IT and compliance.

On top of these benefits, RPA is one of the fastest to implement yet customizable technology solution. This is why, RPA has achieved phenomenal growth in the past years. Read more

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