Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

You have a variety of factors to consider when identifying opportunities for robotic process automation: If a process is predictable, repetitive, and high-volume, for example, it might be a prime candidate for RPA.

However, due to high expectations – and sometimes misplaced hopes – some people veer off the path to a successful RPA initiative before they really get going. When this happens, it can be the result of a basic misunderstanding about what RPA is or how it works.

RPA improves business processes:


RPA automates processes. If those processes need to be improved, though, you have to do that work – RPA won’t do it for you, and automating a flawed process isn’t productive.

“As companies look to digitally transform themselves, they are looking to streamline and modernize processes,” says John Thielens, CTO at Cleo. “While RPA perhaps can be viewed as a form of streamlining, it streamlines processes in place, but by itself does not necessarily improve them.”

Thielens notes that this misunderstanding can occur in organizations that are looking for process improvements as part of a broader digital transformation; they might see RPA as a solution to process woes when it’s better looked at as a tool for achieving new efficiencies and productivity gains with well-established processes.

There’s a related mistake people make with RPA: Automating a process you don’t fully understand. Eggplant COO Antony Edwards recently told us that this is a common pitfall: “Most people don’t have clearly defined processes, so they start automating, and either automate the wrong thing or get lost in trying to reverse-engineer the process.” 

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