How to Evaluate Robotic Process Automation Providers
I wish I could say we’ve found a way to make it as simple as buying car insurance, but I can’t. What we have found is a result of years of experience working with clients evaluating RPA, and the benefit of numerous customer implementations and associated tender processes, bids and competitive assessment. Here’s what we’ve learned:
There is no standard
One man’s automation is another man’s robotics. And one man’s robot is another man’s sentient being. People use and adapt terminology for their own gain so don’t assume that each provider is offering you the same thing, even if they use the same language.
RPA is not a single ‘thing’
RPA is not an item on an inventory that you can chuck into a price comparison website. Asking providers for a ‘price per robot’ and expecting them all to give you a quote for a comparable outcome is a waste of time for everyone.
You don’t need perfect processes before you automate
RPA projects fail when they turn into process re-engineering. If you focus on trying to perfect processes at the same time, you end up in a cycle of change management that distracts you from your business and sucks up resource. Better to automate as-is and enjoy a faster process while you figure out how to move forward (if you want the full story on why I disagree with Bill Gates on processes needing to be ‘perfect’ click here).
It’s still an emerging market
Many industrialised and scale use cases for RPA exist – but expecting to be able to reference implementations of the same scale, in the same industry, with the same processes, using the same applications is unrealistic. Of course, looking at what’s been done before makes sense – just don’t expect to see your exact requirements replicated elsewhere.
You need to be clear
It is tempting, especially when trying to pick a solution from a variety of vendors, to pull together a price and functionality matrix by which to compare suppliers. Instead I’d recommend you focus your time on defining these three key things:
- The productivity that your current workforce and/or solutions give you
- The volume of work that is targeted for automation
- The value to your business on automating that work
By being clear about precisely what you want to achieve, the onus is on the suppliers to tell you how they’re going to deliver that to you. By placing a value to your business on achieving these productivity gains, you have an internal yardstick by which to evaluate suppliers’ commercial offer to deliver that outcome. It requires a different approach, but it is the right way to do it.
If you’d like to find out more about RPA, or would like a demonstration of how Thoughtonomy can deliver value to your business through our own Robotic Process Automation,get in touch.
Written by Terry Walby – CEO, Thoughtonomy.