Part 2: Business Engineers : 7 Things to Consider, Before Investing in a Personal Robot

So you’ve made the decision, robotics process automation (RPA) is for your business. You’ve winnowed down a list of suitable vendors and are ready to start some serious shopping. Great. But before you plunge right in, there are some final things to consider. 

The following is a list of questions for would-be buyers to which they should give serious thought to before moving forward. They range from the existential — what role will your employees play as RPA expands within your organization? To the practical, such as training time frames.

1. RPA Tool Selection is Less Important Than You Think

The actual tool itself is not that important for most companies, especially those that are just starting with RPA. What is more important is the methodology that the tool uses and how it guides the user to select the right processes to automate. It is underpinnings such as those that will result in a successful project.

2. Different Tools Fit Different Industries and Businesses

It is common sense to pick a tool that has a vertical focus if you are an insurance company, for example, or a general tool if you are just getting started and so on. It also makes sense to have a general understanding of your IT ecosystem as well.

3. Who is a Good Candidate for RPA?

Any company with two or more people doing a repetitive task that has structured data is a good candidate for RPA. A two-person operation will realize an ROI from an RPA tool in three years. For three people, the ROI window narrows to two years. Having 50, 60, 100 or 200 people doing the same repetitive task, it’s not unusual to see a triple or quadruple ROI.

4. Understand the Scope of What RPA Can Do For Your Business

Most business have an idea about what RPA is and they have an idea about where it can drive value for them. What many haven’t done is look exhaustively as to how they can leverage RPA and other automation tools across their entire landscape to drive a different outcome.

5. What is Your Time Frame for Training?

How important is it to you to train your people, in say two weeks? That is a key consideration if you are planning on rolling this out through your line of business because some level of training will be necessary. It’s not so important if you’re just going to have a handful of experienced developers build the bots for you.

6. Speed of Deployment

Some businesses are happy to move RPA throughout their enterprise as fast as they can. Their motivation is to realize cost savings as quickly as possible. Other businesses are implementing RPA in a slightly more cautious manner — they want to make sure they don’t adopt RPA at such a pace that it brings on unexpected consequences.

7. Think About the Role Your Employees Will Play

Many of us feel slightly uncomfortable about the level of automation and related disintermediation that is going on. But the attitude that businesses are starting to take is that things will be disrupted no matter what and that you might as well be part of the change.

Companies that are able to impart that attitude to employees often find their employees adapt, then become fully engaged in this process by being in a constant learning mode. No matter how sophisticated the automation becomes, you still need people who really understand the original process, who can help continually thinking about automation some piece of the process.

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