Quick Win or Transformation? Finding the Sweet Spot of RPA

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) continues to grab headlines and generate interest as businesses take advantage of the technology to improve a wide range of generic back office tasks as well as industry-specific processes such as healthcare claims processing.

As the market matures and enterprises reflect on lessons learned from early adoption, increasingly nuanced questions are being asked regarding the optimal path to achieving full benefit from RPA deployments.

For instance, should RPA aim for quick wins and low-hanging fruit? Or should the objective be to leverage the technology’s capabilities to drive a fundamental transformation of the enterprise operating model? Director Raun Kilgo says it’s not an either/or proposition, and that tactical and strategic layers of RPA benefits are interconnected. More specifically, Kilgo notes that using automation to alleviate immediate “symptoms” and reduce customer pain points can lay the groundwork for a smoother long-term transformation to a digital operating model.

Senior Consultant Darshan Shah, meanwhile, points out that the pressure to achieve rapid results from RPA leads enterprises to put end-to-end process redesign on the back burner; however, he says a blending of process automation and process reengineering expertise will enable higher ROI and greater business value.

Another key question businesses face when embarking on an RPA initiative: should automation be aggressively pursued at the outset? Or should existing processes be assessed and optimized before deploying the tools? Alsbridge Directors Paul Donaldson and Rod Dunlap recently debated the question in Outsource magazine, and ultimately agreed that, while automating broken processes is never a good idea, over-analyzing existing processes at the expense of achieving results is counter-productive.

Share your thoughts and experiences on optimizing RPA deployments.