Thursday, January 28, 2016

Taming The Robots - Hype v Reality of Robotic Automation

The last 24 months has seen more attention to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) than any other “UI” automation approach since the invention of the term “swivel chair” integration.

In fact, as a side-note, if we were to actually assume that most kinds of integration could be considered a “software” robot then in fact there is already a Googolplex of software robots in the workplace today. Architecturally incorrect but food for thought given the end results are the same - human optimization!

Using software Robots to do the work, in the same or similar way as a human, was often called swivel chair integration. This had it’s benefits, even if sometimes a little brittle! But now the technology has dramatically matured into significantly more robust “Robotic Automation”. For further clarity, Robotic Automations that do all of the work of a human is more commonly today known as RPA (Robotic Process Automation) whereas Robotic Automations that works alongside the human, solving the swivel chair conundrum in real time with the human, is known as RDA (Robotic Desktop Automation). Collectively all known as Robotic Automation.

So, what’s the hype v reality? 

Well after 10 years, RPA case studies are showing us that this still really has only ever achieved savings in the few 100’s of workers in the larger enterprises across the globe. Not too shabby but replacing a few hundred employees in a 10,000 or 50,000 employee back office business with multiple years of development effort isn’t exactly going to win any big CEO pats on the back. Still, it's very powerful and cannot be ignored by any serious organization on their transformation journey.

However, when RPA is combined with RDA, the case studies and testimonials for large ROI are rampant. Some of the worlds largest banks, insurers healthcare and retail companies are using Robotic Automations on tens of thousands of desktops with hundreds of thousands of Robots (RDA) deployed globally. Offering the opportunity to more rapidly enhance the productivity of the larger workforce groups with 20-50% improvement in a matter of months starting with RDA, and then implementing RPA where applicable provides a significant contribution to the transformation strategy.

The C’suite is learning that you need to pick the right Robots for the right tasks. A 20% improvement in productivity and increase in customer satisfaction for the front office is highly important. Robotic Automation can be everywhere, front office, back office and in the branch. Taming these Robots, for RDA and RPA, to run the right ones, to provide maximum value for each environment is key to success.

2016 - This is the year of Robotic Automation….

1 comment:

Nick Andrews said...

Helpful clarification Francis. VOps is seeing ever increasing savvy in our clients' deployment of Robotic Automation (we would add AI to this but that's another discussion). When we help our clients to build Automation CoE's they always have RPA, RDA and AI in their tool-kit
Totally agree that 2016 is the year of Robotic Automation. howvere, the conundrum still exists that the hype is less than the reality (i.e. applied strategically RA can deliver massive shareholder value whereas they hype is an over-estimate of FTE reduction through tactical deployment which is wrong, damages the market and is missing the point) - keep up the good work