Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Jan 30, 2020Insights

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is paramount for organizations to remain competitive across industries and functions. Until now, automation technologies have only provided a glimpse into the possibilities for increased productivity, improved accuracy, and lower operating costs in a multitude of applications.

The impact of RPA is already noticeable in banking, insurance, health, industry, and public services, and adoption is growing every day. Benefits of utilization range from streamlining HR processes to improving customer experience.


What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is a technology that mimics human actions within digitized systems to automate business tasks and processes. RPA is a process-centric tool that will help companies to respond to the growing challenges they face when operating on a day to day basis, by introducing robots, as a form of a digital workforce, to work on mundane repetitive tasks.

Robots are fast, highly scalable, accurate, and are available 24/7 to perform the tasks that are highly repetitive, leaving employees more time for analysis, or customer-facing activities.

RPA is a mature automation technology and is the natural next step in a process transformation strategy.

Current RPA Adoption

RPA adoption is highest in the United States but will continue to increase worldwide.  With the current trends, Europe’s adoption rate will equal the U.S. by 2022.

Roughly five years ago, RPA was a common buzzword. It was considered the solution to any business pain point and organizational leaders aggressively pursued RPA initiatives. Many firms saw the potential of RPA as transforming their business by increasing productivity, improving accuracy and lowering operating costs. However, as with many new technologies, a lack of understanding and promise of value-add lead to inflated expectations of what RPA really achieves.

This caused serious disappointments and project failures as organizations realized their expectations significantly exceeded RPA’s capabilities. Companies have tried to use RPA in place of traditional BPM solutions, automating low volume tasks (which can lead to low or negative ROI), and replacing traditional infrastructure – all things RPA is not designed to do. The result was a general sense that RPA had not delivered as promised.

Today, most have realized that RPA cannot solve every problem and focus is on more targeted implementations and use cases. There remain important obstacles which must be overcome if RPA is to really make its mark on the enterprise.

A 2018 study found that organizational challenges pose bigger obstacles than technical ones. But enterprises are overcoming this as successful RPA use cases proliferate. There are longer-term challenges, such as organizational resistance to change and lack of executive support.

Key Challenges in Implementing RPA

  • 57% struggle to find talent with an understanding of automation technologies
  • 42% face internal resistance, with employees hesitant to embrace automation
  • 39% raised the issue of a lack of coordination between business units

The biggest challenges to drive automation at scale proposed, found in another 2018 study, were business, technology, and talent related. The majority (57%) said that they struggle to find talent with a deep understanding of automation technologies, and 42% say that they face internal resistance, with employees hesitant to embrace automation because of fear of potential job losses. This highlights the fact that employees need confidence in their job environment to support automation. Furthermore, over a third (39%) raised the issue of a lack of coordination between business units, which makes gaining a complete view of the process and roles particularly challenging, where many see automation as an IT initiative, but the domination of initiatives by one function increases the risk of failure.

It is clear that RPA currently faces some challenges to gain the support needed to result in enterprise-wide adoption across many industries as people become increasingly informed on RPA. These problems will likely be confronted to some degree during the consolidation phase that RPA is currently experiencing, and if done so effectively, could lead to an even brighter future for RPA

The future of RPA

RPA adoption will continue to be a source of competitive advantage. A recent study established that the RPA market is currently valued at $378m and is expected to grow to $8.75 billion by 2024 at a cumulative average growth rate of 31%. It further expects that automation will become one of the top technology trends in the coming years.

As per Gartner research, global RPA software spending is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 2022, with 80% of large and very large organizations having deployed RPA in some form.

The main trend found in several studies is that RPA is expected to grow with increased adoption and a higher proportion of firms using automation to drive savings and growth. This is coupled with other trends such as the shift in RPA towards job augmentation, geographical rebalances of RPA maturity, and RPA integration with other technologies.

How Sia Partners Drives RPA Implementation

Sia Partners has successfully implemented many RPA Proof of Concepts (PoCs) and rollouts across the world, with a specialized RPA team including developers and transformation specialists. Additionally, Sia Partner’s data science team helps integrate RPA solutions with data science techniques such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Regardless of where you are in your RPA journey, Sia Partners can provide a wide range of RPA services. Sia Partners has developed a global offer to help clients with the impacts of their RPA, by:

  • Structuring transformation roadmaps and business plans
    Sia Partners helps transformation planning by using benchmarks and expertise collected from many sectors: banking, energy and utilities, information and technology, industry.
  • Choosing technology partners
    Leveraging our continuous market studies, Sia Partners can independently recommend the most adapted and the most updated solutions.
  • Managing transformation projects pragmatically
    By creating a Proof Of Concept for selected processes, Sia Partners anticipates and leverages key adoption drivers such as robust HR & Change management strategies.

To find out more, visit our dedicated RPA website or contact us to start a conversation.