‘As a Service’ is at your service- Employ Technology
In nearly every office across the globe, there are repetitive tasks being performed by employees. In nearly all of these instances, the tasks are performed with enough frequency that they require neither the oversight, nor the skillset, of the person in charge of execution. Regardless of how mundane they may be, these are tasks are detailed, and need specific attention. At the same time, they need to be done quickly and without error. This was the concept behind Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Can a software 'bot' take care of these tasks faster, and with more accuracy than their human counterpart? If this were possible, how much more could the company achieve with the excess bandwidth of its human employees? After all, the true intent of automation is not about the elimination of workforce, but rather the enablement and empowerment of their strengths and capabilities.
Like most newer concepts/products though, RPA has come at a price that was not conducive to all businesses. Be it through a financial, technical, or operational roadblock, it has often been one that precluded smaller companies from taking advantage of the benefits. RPAaaS (Robotic Process Automation as a Service) has now changed all of that.
Bringing it to the Masses
The greatest tool or product can exist, but if a company can’t find a way to implement into their environment, it has no value. In many ways, that has been the RPA journey for many businesses. No matter the capabilities, too many factors stood in the way of purchasing RPA bots. Budgeting, flexibility, sustainability, and implementation are four operational areas where the story has really started to change, opening the door to much more widespread opportunity for adoption.
On-Demand is in demand
Enterprise companies want to own their solutions. Cost is not usually as big of a barrier in that space. To purchase RPA requires a large initial investment. Typically end users purchase individual bots in addition to the first year’s maintenance. These are upfront costs. Before even beginning to consider the added expense of training and implementation, it is not uncommon to be in the vicinity of an $18-$20K investment for a single bot. When purchased as a subscription however, the entire path to implementation changes.
Capex vs Opex
As the dollar amount becomes evident, companies find themselves needing to determine how they will pay for the investment. When buying the software outright, many companies will determine that this should be considered a capital expense. This poses many challenges. Red tape, and time to approval can be enormous barriers. Multi-tiered approvals, typically from those who have some distance from the problem being addressed, can blur the overarching purpose of the project. The cost can also be viewed as a hinderance to other projects and be pushed back or rejected. Remember, these are repetitive tasks with a clear process. It is easy to argue that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ and simply move on, ignoring the efficiency and productivity that could be gained.
Even when approved, decision makers may put unreasonable expectations on the number of years the product needs to be in service to reach a desired return value. Buyers can find themselves in an awkward position of purchasing beyond their need/capability because the thought is that the solution needs to last X number of years to get the full value/return. Alternately a product is bought that is obsolete too quickly in a counterproductive effort to reduce the expense. This is an incredibly difficult balance to achieve.
In the RPAaaS model, the expense can be allocated as an operational expense. In the 'pay as you go' model, though contracts will be in place, the term can be made more reasonable and palatable. This is especially true in terms of supporting infrastructure. In that the solution is hosted, the end user can avoid the additional in house hardware expenses, and simultaneously pass the security and compliance risk to the provider. In addition to avoiding many of these issues, there are benefits that can be realized in the flexibility and scalability of the on demand model.
Stop buying a tool and focus on a solution
Flexibility and Sustainability
As mentioned, the purchase of software can leave a company at a disadvantage. As the product evolves contracts don't always allow the end user to move in parallel. In the 'as a service' model, the end user can often work with their vendor to upgrade or pivot their course to take advantage of the latest and greatest offering. Another invaluable benefit is the option of scaling up/down the solution. Many companies have seasonal changes, natural rises and dips, in their workload that can drastically modify needs. RPAaaS accounts for these changes and offers the flexibility to still take advantage without the cumbersome and overreaching requirements of ownership.
At your service- Membership has its privileges
According to a 2019 EY study 30-50% of RPA implementations fail. Reasons vary, but a common theme is the undertaking itself. RPA is not an "out of the box" experience. There is a large amount of internal knowledge and product knowledge necessary to kick off a successful project. Often times the in-house bandwidth and/or capabilities are underestimated or simply do not exist. Training, testing, and maintenance of the process can be a daunting undertaking without the proper resources to handle the demand. In the RPAaaS model, companies have the cushion of a built-in expert. Traditional models do offer a level of support but where/when/how the support is offered is really at the whim of the manufacturer. RPAaaS is more like a partnership. You are getting the expert team as part of the service, not just through onboarding. From design and architecture through launch, testing, production, and beyond, the service provider has a vested interest in your success that just doesn't exist when working with the manufacturer. This relationship is where RPAaaS can really blossom and from a tool to a solution.
Companies can find a great deal of freedom in the advantages of RPAaaS. By putting the control in the hands of the end user, the playing field has been opened to small and medium sized businesses. The barriers of purchase had often excluded smaller companies who now can wield the power of this transformative technology to compete.
At Roth Automation, we identify repeatable processes that are worthwhile automating and provide a return on their investment. Although this will identify processes appropriate for RPA, the Roth team looks at the entire business process to insure that, by automating one task, we don’t create bottlenecks elsewhere in the process. Automating a single task in a business process provides savings and efficiencies, but not as much as automating the entire process. RPA is just one of the tools we use and can often be used in conjunction with other valuable automation tools such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Conversational AI. Hyperautomation pairs these technologies to tackle all aspects of your workflow.
Through Roth Automation, companies of all sizes can now take advantage of the technology to reduce costs, increase productivity and streamline their business process. As machine learning and AI capabilities continue to improve, business process automation and intelligent document processing become even more valuable. Speak with the Roth Automation team about how we can offer RPAaaS at an affordable price and how we deploy these technologies in a synergistic way to make your business run more efficiently.