Let's just say that one measure of the hype that surrounds any emerging technology is the amount of new (and largely superfluous) jargon that it generates.
THE ENTERPRISE AUTOMATION MARKET NEEDS PRAGMATIC ADVICE
The market for robotic process automation (RPA) has been in hyper-growth for a while now. RPA and its extension into intelligent automation (IA) is an important market because it forms the tip of the spear for broader enterprise automation. We've previously estimated that IA technologies will release $134 billion in labor value by 2022. Meanwhile, the hype surrounding them is incessant, with vendors and pundits racing each other to create new words to describe capabilities. Often, these terms end up muddying the waters and confusing buyers. Lost amid the clamor is rational, pragmatic advice around how to succeed with RPA.
Research from Forrester shows that just 52% of enterprises have progressed their RPA initiatives beyond their first 10 bots. What gives? Just as with any other new enterprise technology, automation is a program that needs to be nurtured. Building your first bot may seem simple, but scaling an organization-wide RPA program is a whole different ball game.
GOLDEN RULES FOR RPA SUCCESS
In new research, my colleague Craig Le Clair and I cover important considerations to keep in mind, whether you are starting out or looking to scale your RPA program. Here are a few of the themes that we uncovered:
- Process, governance, and culture are critical choke points. Each of these choke points play out at different levels of scale and maturity. Early-stage RPA programs struggle to identify business cases and realize ROI out of their first automation initiatives. Mid-stage programs must put down effective governance models to manage automation in their quest for sustainable scale. Culture is the third choke point -- automation cannot thrive without an automation mindset and support from your human workforce.
- Your bots demand care and feeding, too. The temptation to cut corners early in your RPA program is easy to succumb to, but poor choices demand payback later. RPA demands the same levels of attention as any other enterprise platform, including a focus on coding and testing standards, security, and resiliency.
- Don't leave your humans behind. Your people are key to your success with RPA and with broader automation. Invest in building a strong robotics quotient. This is especially true in the post-COVID-19 era, as enterprises rush toward automation not just for cost-takeout but also to improve their organizations' resiliency to face such "white swan" events.