Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, has been touted as revolutionary in the tech world. It is seen as an industry disrupter, forever changing the landscape of how certain processes are completed. White papers, case studies, and companies who have successfully implemented and used RPA in their workforce, provide great context and feedback about all of its benefits.
But while you may have the best idea in the world, there will always be skeptics, nonbelievers, and those weary of change, whether when confronted with tech, shifts in management, or adapting to new working styles.
Rather than pretend that RPA is free of pitfalls or is the answer to all solutions, we prefer to be upfront and bring its objections, and possible limitations, to your attention. That way we can address potential problems head-on and alleviate doubts you may have. Maybe we’ll make you believers when all is said and done.
OBJECTION 1: Financial Constraints That Affect Your Decision-Making
In a previous blog, we discussed financial concerns your organization might face when deciding whether or not to implement RPA. To quickly recap, one of the biggest RPA challenges organizations stumble across when deciding upon an RPA investment is who is the final decision maker(s). It’s easy to get confused as, logically, most would assume RPA is an IT initiative, and therefore, has the final say on any purchases.
That’s not the case. As we explained, it works best to have your business operations unit control the buying power with full cooperation from IT as needed for support purposes. Once this part of the process is ironed out and everyone has a clear understanding of who directs and takes responsibility for RPA projects, you can move on to other financial issues that may be causing you concern.
One of the other biggest drawbacks we find when talking to organizations about RPA is the risk versus reward mentality. Since RPA is still a new concept, and despite having evidence of its success, it is still hard for many businesses to grasp its true effectiveness. Since people are so unfamiliar with the process and haven’t experienced the results for themselves, it is difficult to see the cost reduction RPA inevitably creates when implemented successfully. They’d rather stick to their tried-and-true measures over moving out of their proverbial comfort zone and taking a technological step forward. As former astronaut Neil Armstrong put it so eloquently after first setting foot on the moon, “"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
And we’re here to help you take that first step and provide reassurance that your finances won’t flounder by investing in an RPA strategy.
OBJECTION 2: Tech Overload And RPA Integration With Current Systems
Once the financial fears are squashed, or at least somewhat alleviated, people often move on to the next valid RPA challenges: enterprise architecture constraints.
Tech is always moving at lightning-fast speed and keeping up with the pace of innovation can be downright daunting. Many companies are already feeling the pressure of staying “up-to-date” with modern advances so adding more “tech” to the team as they see it, is more anxiety-filled than empowering.
You might feel a sensation of tech overload and be consumed with dread at the possibility of adding more complex systems requiring highly technical skills and knowledge to your existing ecosystem. Maybe you feel RPA would overburden your current infrastructure, and you would rather devote time and money to standardizing your present systems before making further expenditures. Or perhaps your current enterprise architecture hums with precision and runs like a dream, again segueing back to the dreaded words, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”
Here’s why you should fix it and not wait until later. Firstly, RPA isn’t overly complicated, though it might appear so. Instead of looking at it from a macro level, break it apart and view it on a micro basis. Separating it into components that can then be easily analyzed by IT makes RPA implementation less overwhelming.
Additionally, RPA automation can range from extremely easy to a complex, multifaceted approach. More than likely your organization would start simply to gain a clearer analysis of its fundamentals before fully unloading with highly layered actions.
Standardizing existing systems isn’t as difficult as it appears, creating a short-term windfall of benefits beyond monetary means. The automation will alleviate the stress of IT, letting them attend to full conversion of existing systems while eliminating the repetitive and mundane tasks of employees with greater output.
OBJECTION 3: Our IT Staff Can't Handle RPA
Objection two acts as a lead-in to another common fear; that your IT staff is too short-staffed or lacks the appropriate expertise needed to properly implement and manage RPA solutions.
As mentioned under objection two, RPA is a gigantic resource and its capabilities are vast. More than likely, at least starting out, your automation needs can easily be handled by your IT staff. Don’t let RPA and its components be so intimidating that you become shortsighted on its value to your organization.
Imagine two different scenarios. In the first scenario, you outsource your IT ventures, or your staff is already underfunded. You wonder how RPA can possibly work for you. After all, it is new and shiny. Plus, without knowing the facts, misunderstood and misconstrued information can annihilate the interest before it even has a chance to be explored.
In the second scenario, your company has been given the green light and you receive permission to examine RPA. You start overthinking whether your IT department can handle this. RPA starts being treated as a complexity requiring intricate code and algorithms and bringing invasiveness that overwhelms everyone except your highest IT professionals. So, in response, you decide to do nothing.
Hopefully, whenever faced with this dilemma, neither scenario rings accurate. But, by doing nothing, what do you achieve? Other organizations will keep moving forward with change and you’ll remain at a standstill losing any potential for a competitive advantage.
Remember that when broken down, RPA equals automation. If you separate RPA from automation, people seem to comprehend it. So instead of concentrating on the Robotic Process Automation terminology, focus on the last word in the acronym.
Automating processes doesn’t require integrations between systems. It just mimics the actions a user takes in an existing system. RPA never takes away your IT department/staff, instead, it is fueled by the resources it has to work with. Implementing RPA ideally allows your IT department and other employees formerly bogged down by mundane, repetitive operations to take on more fulfilling and prominent endeavors that provide greater value to your organization.
OBJECTION 4: Disruption To Company Culture
Piggybacking off of the notion that freeing up employees’ time by implementing RPA leads to greater job satisfaction might appear controversial. There is a common RPA objection that interrupting the workflow of employees with automation leads to lost jobs and disruption to company culture.
Is RPA disrupting company culture? Absolutely. But not in the negative way you’re thinking. After all, if not RPA, there will always be something that disrupts and changes the workforce dynamic.
There is a lot of worries that RPA and robots will overtake human jobs and leave people out of work. While that could certainly happen if RPA is used in ways beyond its best practices approach, it totally defeats the purpose of RPA.
RPA was created to work alongside humans, not in place of Automating manual processes that previously prohibited employees from immersing themselves in other critical areas of an organization not only drives output but gives employees the opportunity to expand their professional wings.
Are some manual jobs eliminated along the way? Yes, but with a heavy qualifier. By eliminating jobs that are better served with automation, workers move to more challenging and company-oriented tasks that increase employee retention and provide them with a greater sense of making a real difference in the organization.
Combine a renewed sense of professional purpose with greater flexibility, fewer issues to resolve for lack of human errors, and an enhanced user experience that assuages the pressure of employees to consistently provide optimal service no matter the circumstances; you don’t have an inflicted company culture, rather, an improved one.
OBJECTION 5: Security?
Let’s preface the above question mark of security as being a primary RPA challenges. As an adamant endorser of RPA, we are highly aware of information security concerns and how they might affect RPA. However, while some think that RPA invites greater risks into the equation, we challenge the prospect.
You’re wise to be hesitant about any new technology and to side-eye its intrusion. RPA is no different. Robot performance integrity, abusive or misused employee tactics and exposure to coding and other malware are legitimate reasons to strongly question RPA’s safeguards.
RPA isn’t a foolproof method, nor does it offer a 100 percent guarantee of protection. If it did, we’d be keeping RPA to ourselves as a secret sauce. While still prone to risk, RPA actually diminishes security concerns if properly utilized.
How? One of the biggest divisions in this situation is employees. Unlike machinery, people are harder to interpret and control. While trusting your employees is an instrumental factor in maintaining company culture and high productivity marks, there are always a few outliers. For a multitude of reasons, workers might manipulate, overuse, or abuse manual processes. RPA actually cuts down on human interaction with sensitive information, taking credence away from capable human threats.
Perhaps the biggest security benefit of RPA comes from establishing a set of risk protocols. Leading RPA platforms, such as UiPath that we partner with, have fully set procedures to ensure the utmost of privacy and detailed audit logs for compliance purposes.
How To Handle Objections?
If you still have objections to RPA, we understand. However, if you were even swayed one bit off your stance, consider that the spark you need to light the fire. It won’t hurt you to learn more about RPA. In fact, we hope additional research helps you.
To guide you along your information-gathering path, feel free to reach out. We are always willing to talk RPA and provide use cases as we know the difference it's made for so many businesses. Contact us today.