Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why every worker should have their own Robot (RPA at scale)

To gain the biggest value from RPA, you should also have a robot on every desktop (RDA, also known as RPA Attended)) as well as server room robots (RPA unattended).

Put simply, very few jobs are composed exclusively of repetitive, non-cognitively driven tasks – fewer than 5%, according to McKinsey’s research. However, the same research found that 60% of occupations could have 30% or more of their constituent activities automated.  

So if you have 300 people in the back office, you could start with trying to de-humanize their rote work through automation and put the robots in the server room (RPA unattended bots). Automating 5% of the 300 is equivalent to about 15 people and 5 robots (1 Robot per 3 workers). That's not too shabby but how long does it take to automate 100% of peoples work and then get these robots into production? Some are quick but most are not.

But what if you could also use RDA (RPA attended) bots to automate just that 30% of the common activities of most of these same 300 workers? The ROI would be quicker and significantly greater. In fact, in less than 9 months, a banking client achieved 50% automation across a back office team size of ~300 people. That meant that the same number of people can now do twice as much work or half the team can be moved onto other more important work! Since RDA attended bot automations can be implemented and deployed to large groups of desktops with an agile delivery methodology, this client automated the equivalent work of 30 people in just the first 3 months from the start, and accelerating each month from there! That’s what deploying RDA attended bots on the desktop looks like.

OK, even if you double the savings with RPA unattended bots to go from 15 to 30 people in that group, it still on its own doesn’t come anywhere close to the ROI both RPA methods will get you. And by the way, RDA (RPA attended) bots just run on your existing user desktop hardware as is, alongside your workers!

So, having both RPA models combined, gets you a much bigger ROI and much faster using the exact same automation technology. The difference being is that if you build 100% automations up front, or eventually where 100% of the work is automated, you simply move those automations to the server room when ready. If it never makes it to the 100%, which for many processes becomes cost prohibitive or complex, you just keep the robotic automations on the desktop and allow the worker to get two (or three or four) times as much work done as before. One product to learn, two ways to deploy.

There are lots of RPA customers that have fallen into the trap of believing they only need RPA unattended bots and quickly start reaching the wall trying to automate 100% of harder and harder processes done by less and less people. This is because many RPA vendors cannot provide an RPA attended option at scale and thus don't even introduce the idea of the approach or give some excuse as to why you don't need it. There are already major use cases in financial services, telco’s, insurance, healthcare etc., companies, some using over 20,000 RDA (RPA attended) bots and RPA unattended bots together in their enterprise every single day, automating billions of transactions. 

Check out the Gartner market guide authored by Cathy Tornbohm where she speaks of the different RPA vendors and their different capabilities, attended, unattended and much more.


Unknown said...

very useful info, and please keep updating........
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Oliver Harris said...

Another benefit would be that software robots collect data on every process they execute and create accessible reports on the same, thereby drawing attention to potential flaws in the original business process. Using this data, workers can then look into any potential bottlenecks/pinch points and incrementally improve the process to further increase efficiency.