‘RPA is not an instant technological fix’

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Research by Pegasystems shows that RPA is seen as difficult to implement and maintain by many organisations. The study shows that RPA can be very effective in streamlining business processes, but that actually doing so can be rather difficult.

The research focused on robotic process automation (RPA) and robotic desktop automation (RDA). According to Pegasystems, RPA has become a buzzword that is widely used when it comes to improving business processes and modernising their IT infrastructure. Gartner recently announced that RPA software sales had grown by 63.1 percent in 2018 to a total of $846 million. As far as business software is concerned, it is the fastest growing industry branch.

Pegasystems interviewed 500 decision makers from organizations that use RPA/RDA solutions to find out if the hype surrounding the technology can actually be realized. The results of the study show that the majority of respondents indicate that they consider RPA to be very important. 67 percent say it is even more effective than expected, in contrast to the 8 percent who think it is less effective than expected.

Complex implementation to create value

However, the process of implementing RPA solutions is more difficult than expected. The participants in the study indicated a number of problems with implementation. For example, there is the expectation that bots can be implemented relatively easily. In hindsight, however, this turns out not to be true. The lifespan of bots is also shorter than anticipated, due to constantly changing business infrastructure. If the underlying infrastructure changes, bots will increasingly not function as intended. Moreover, maintaining bots is more complicated and time consuming than many respondents expected. 26 percent of respondents even thought that bots created more ‘hidden IT problems’.

Pegasystems does emphasise, however, that bots fulfill expectations as long as they are used correctly. 66 percent think that RPA adds more value than expected, as long as everything works as intended. In particular, improved employee performance, lower overall operating costs, and happier employees and customers are mentioned as great benefits of RPA.