RPA or Robot Process Automation is one of the most compelling technologies available to organizations. Allowing certain repetitive, high-volume, mundane tasks to be automated via software, RPA can not only increase efficiency within organizations but also free up human workers to focus on more important jobs.
But although RPA promises to make your life easier upon deployment, that doesn’t make the selection and development process pain-free. While a good RPA vendor should be able to answer all your questions, organizations should nonetheless be aware of the essential criteria they need to consider when choosing their RPA technology.
Here are five of those criteria to keep in mind in order to ensure optimal selection:
#1. It should be fast
Quiz 10 business owners over why they’re looking to implement RPA tools in the workplace and at least nine will cite speed as one of the top reasons. Simply put, one of the big promises of RPA is that it can carry out high volume, repetitive tasks more speedily — without needing to take breaks for pesky things like sleep, weekends, or vacations.
While speed isn’t the only benefit of RPA, it’s likely accurate to say that the technology would be a whole lot less compelling if it crawled along at a fraction of the speed a person could perform a certain action. With that in mind, a key criteria for selecting the right automation tool should be selecting one that can increase both the efficiency and speed with which key processes can be carried out. This is likely to be an important metric to assess when it comes to proving return on investment (ROI) and whether RPA is effective within an organization.
#2. It should be easily implemented
RPA may represent a bold new way of carrying out certain tasks in the workplace, but it shouldn’t require tearing up everything you have in place and starting again. RPA should be non-invasive in how it operates, and that begins with its implementation as a technology that sits comfortably with the legacy systems already in place. Organizations may not have the luxury of unlimited downtime as RPA tools get up and running.
Similarly, RPA tools should be easy for users to work with where necessary. This may be cutting-edge technology, but just because technology is described as disruptive to the status quo doesn’t mean that it has to be disruptive in the bad sense of the word.
#3. It should be scalable
Managing the headcount in a company is tough. Even though you can add more employees (and, less ideally, dismiss employees), it’s not always straightforward to scale up and down the workforce rapidly depending on need. That’s one reason RPA is so good: these tools can easily adapt to changing requirements. There should be no problem having large numbers of bots working in unison to execute many instances of processes.
The scalability of an RPA piece of software is one of the big questions organizations should ask when they talk with vendors about adopting RPA tools. Make sure that you have a sense of your projected growth for the future so that you can ensure vendors you’re in discussion with will be in a position to keep supporting your organization long after the initial development and deployment process.
#4. It should be the right price
Price is a factor with any new acquisition for a business. RPA is no different. But make sure that the option you select is the RIGHT price for the RIGHT product. The lowest figure that’s quoted by RPA vendors shouldn’t necessarily be the one you go for. Not only is there the development of the bot itself, which is far from a one-size-fits-all solution, but you’ll also want to consider user support into the future, proper maintenance, and features like security as part of the overall tender process.
A more advanced bot that will increase productivity significantly may be worth more than a cheaper, less sophisticated bot that will only increase it marginally. Don’t just look at the upfront costs, but the total cost of ownership — including license and vendor fees, implementation, and more. It’s important that stakeholders properly understand what they’re aiming for when they adopt RPA tools so that they can make sure they get the product that’s the best possible fit. Even if it’s not necessarily the cheapest option on offer.
#5. It should aid with governance
Governance is one of the most important criteria for RPA selection. A great governance framework is necessary for ensuring that the technology is rolled out in an effective, secure manner that allows for everything to work the way it’s supposed to — right down to the ability to audit the tools if necessary.
As RPA tools cross over into more and more sensitive areas, perhaps including financial or personal data, this will only become more crucial. RPA tools should offer visibility, allowing for them to be properly monitored and, where necessary, controlled. The idea with RPA unattended automation is that it can carry out tasks without needing constant human supervision. That’s not the same as offering zero accountability, however. Make the right choice and you’ll be on easy street. Make the wrong one, and it could prove to be more of a headache than it’s worth.