“We’re Too Busy” – the Surprising IT Objection to RPA


For IT organizations, the prospect of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) deployment might understandably cause some consternation. You’d expect some IT teams to feel threatened or at least defensive about software programs capable of executing complex tasks requiring extensive and specialized training. But even when the manual processes being considered for RPA are in business operations (i.e., not in IT) we have seen resistance from IT. This push-back is based not on a fear of job loss, but rather on the belief that RPA represents an additional, burdensome project that will stretch resources, create extra work and disrupt the enterprise.

RPA implementation, the thinking goes, will absorb IT capacity and staff and divert resources from existing projects and priorities. IT executives assume that RPA requires massive server, storage and memory resources to implement and manage. This concern extends to already-stretched IT staff, who executives fear will be burdened with implementing and supporting RPA applications.

Given this view, opposition is not surprising. However, as with security fears, concerns regarding RPA resource requirements are based largely on misperceptions. Because RPA applications run as allocated resources on local servers, they have minimal impact on IT-managed infrastructure or technology resources, CPU performance or network traffic. Bandwidth, storage and compute capacity requirements are similarly unaffected, and existing change management protocols are still applicable. RPA can reside on cloud or traditional platforms and, again, require no change in underlying systems or databases.

From a broader perspective, objections to RPA reflect an inherent inclination to resist dramatic change – and RPA is certainly a dramatic change. Education and early involvement of IT is essential to overcome opposition to RPA and to recognize the significant benefits the technology can deliver. A clear understanding of the details surrounding RPA development, deployment and maintenance can facilitate a partnership role for IT.

Indeed, RPA represents an opportunity for IT departments to work with the business to stimulate innovation – by identifying tasks across the enterprise that are well-suited for automation, by developing interfaces across systems and applications to integrate and expand automation and by demonstrating leadership to users by embracing automation tools.