What are RPA services, and do you really need them? Part 2
In the second part of this article series, we discuss the role of services in optimizing technology costs, adjusting capacity to business needs, and running RPA in production.
If you missed the first part of this article series, read here about the role of RPA services when beginning your RPA journey where we cover setting up infrastructure, operational models and governance, and the role of training.
Optimizing technology costs & matching capacity to business needs
With licensing, organizations typically need to commit to a particular number of licenses for up to 12 or 36 months.
Because few of us can predict the future with true accuracy, fixed licensing periods lead to two outcomes: buying above or below needs. Most often, organizations choose to buy up to match their automation needs during peak activity, paying for more capacity than they actually need.
RPA is an excellent tool for many short-term projects, where, for example, transferring data between systems is required. Data migration typically presents an ideal use case for RPA where it can realize significant value through savings and speed. In such a scenario, companies would achieve maximum benefit by scaling up capacity precisely for the length of the project.
With the limitations of traditional licensing, achieving Return of Investment (ROI) may easily take at least a year – even without any hiccups along the way.
And there is another problem. Traditional RPA licensing results in a lock-in with one particular technology. This can be another limitation that prevents organizations from extracting maximum business value from RPA. Sometimes – especially, when dealing with technologies that have a rapid update cycle – a competing RPA technology might turn out to be more suitable to meet a particular process requirement.
What happens if a competing RPA technology introduces an update that fits your needs extremely well, but you are stuck paying for the tool you originally chose two years ago?
How can RPA services help?
An RPA service provider that can deliver consumption-based RPA-as-a-service can solve the challenges described above. A consumption-based RPA buying model means that the customer only pays for the time robots actively execute tasks assigned to them. Costs can be reduced to zero at any moment: low risk, low commitment, low cost of entry.
The ability to dial RPA up or down enables easy adjusting to periodical changes in transaction volumes and makes it possible to tap into new possibilities, including those presented by project work.
Today, Digital Workforce is the only service provider globally that specializes in delivering these maximum flexibility RPA services. Aside from being made for scaling up and down on-demand, our services give clients access to both Blue Prism and UiPath RPA tools – allowing customers to mix and match or switch between technologies as needed.
Find out more about our on-demand RPA services through the links below:
Robot as a Service:
Platform service that allows customers to utilize UiPath and BluePrism RPA capacity on demand.
Managed service that includes UiPath and BluePrism capacity on-demand and RPA maintenance as-a-service. Roboshore includes a 30-day free trial of your managed and hosted RPA Platform
Running RPA Operations
A well-organized RPA delivery team with a good pipeline typically delivers one to three automation projects to production per developer each quarter. With a delivery team of four developers, up to 50 automations can be deployed in a year. However, this won’t be possible if your developers have other conflicting responsibilities.
At the same time, the value of RPA only materializes if robots are executing tasks, ideally, running smoothly 24/7. Without effective maintenance, any hopes of reaching your objectives quickly slip away.
To succeed, you need to know:
– What resources are required to both develop and run your solutions?
– What are the risks and costs related to slow RPA development or process failures?
Robots require maintenance for a variety of reasons: associated applications get updated; the RPA software gets new features; business processes change; and operating systems receive regular security patches and other updates. Each of these factors requires careful management.
The best response to these myriad concerns is to have a proactive maintenance approach in place that keeps the robots running. Not only should this resolve arising issues but, also, continuously improve the solution and how it executes the tasks at hand. But who should deliver this maintenance service? And can you afford to automate critical processes that require monitoring 24/7?
These questions need to be addressed early in the process of implementing RPA. It’s the best way to avoid getting stuck or having to deal with unexpected costs.
To learn more about how to set up world-class RPA maintenance visit our guide here.
How can RPA services help?
What about RPA is strategic to your company and what is operational? In general, RPA development should be seen as strategic and maintenance viewed as operational work.
Outsourcing maintenance is often a meaningful way to:
– speed up delivery by separating development and maintenance responsibilities
– cut costs by reducing downtime and improving the quality of automations
– mitigate the risks related to automation through quality assurance and SLA
Our experience shows that 20% of processes often cause about 80% of problems.
This alone shows that it pays to invest in skilled maintenance staff who can identify and fix underlying issues; not just run the processes as they are.
When process-specific business impact consequences are reflected in the SLA, the setup also drives continuous improvement in two ways:
1. The service provider carries a financial risk on the customer’s behalf and is under high pressure to deliver excellent service.
2. The service provider strives to ensure that the maintained automation is of high quality – so that it can strengthen its own ability to deliver excellent service.
While RPA maintenance isn’t considered strategic, worries about it are typically why companies stay away from automating business-critical processes. The conclusion is rational because internally organizing 24/7 maintenance almost never makes sense. However, it is also a huge missed opportunity because automating customer-facing and business-critical processes is key to reaching significant business benefits.
Services such as Digital Workforce Run Management allow users to set the priorities and targets for their automations while taking away the stress of managing the practicalities. The service includes all the elements needed to deliver expert-level process management (such as scheduling, running updates – including updates to target systems – and automated monitoring), and rapid emergency responses 24/7/365.
In summary, RPA services can help to:
– Optimize technology costs: link technology costs to active use of a solution rather than capacity
– Increase flexibility
– Open up new opportunities (due to better cost-efficiency and increased flexibility)
– Manage risks
– Speed up delivery
– Ensure consistent quality of solutions
– Enable focus on core tasks
RPA service providers work in the space between technology vendors and users. Due to RPA’s wide range of business applications, quick development cycle, and use in combination with other equally – if not faster – evolving automation technologies, navigating the space requires laser-focus and expert skills. For an organization in which the core business isn’t RPA, it is a tall order to keep up with the technical knowledge, apply it to business, and match resources to delivery needs.
Adding to the mix are no-code and low-code RPA technologies that have recently emerged on the radar of many organizations. These solutions make developing short workflow automations accessible to everyone and anyone across the organization. The downside, however, is that you’ll easily end up being flooded with short automations, quality issues, and loose direction behind your RPA activities. Without sufficient oversight, you can fail to maximize the reusability and scalability of already developed solutions – reinventing the wheel over and over again.
Along with helping organizations manage the ever-changing technology landscape, set up governance, and sustainable operational models, service providers enable users to choose their level of direct involvement with RPA. Do you want to invest in building an entire in-house team, or does it serve your business better to outsource all operational parts of RPA and focus on steering? Or something in between?
The task of a service provider is to ensure clients meet their goals and avoid typical pitfalls and do it in a way that results can be easily demonstrated.
A user’s RPA consumption model should be set up so that costs are closely related to created business value. Here, service providers have a role in mitigating risk and ensuring that clients gain maximum business benefit from the technologies they use – and do it fast.
Low risk, low commitment, low cost of entry but high reward. As it should be.