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Boardroom Opportunity : Monetizing your Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Investment

Posted: 03/20/2017
Paresh Mistry
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skylineEveryone is talking about the cost savings, speed and compliance benefits of RPA and its bigger brother Artificial Intelligence (AI) but what about monetising the initial investment in RPA? It's time to open up the conversation about RPA payback...

Following on from my first post RPA - The biased eco-system the CIO and CFO are at polar opposites on the spectrum when it comes to their beliefs around the transformation effects of RPA:

CIO view - RPA is FICTION - it may deliver c.10-20% savings at most, ROI limited and by utilizing existing IT resource/BPO solution the savings can be achieved organically.

CFO view - RPA is FACT - it is a game changer, removing up to 100% of the people from processes, increasing compliance and a must for all organisations wanting to survive the economic head winds.

Together at last

Despite the above, the CIO and CFO do have common ground in that they agree the solution to delayed transformation projects could be RPA - as it is seen as an opportunity to bring the project back on track. Finance transformation projects are often delayed, over budget (ERP spend and consultancy fee's) and lacking many of the tangible benefits described by the large advisory business who are leading the engagement.

"Great PowerPoint but, limited execution."

Companies tend to move forward with their large adviser's "independent" RPA assessment which position one of the vendors they have a "strategic relationships" with. In reality, this is either the vendor paying the largest software commission and/or the solution the adviser have the greatest experience in, and thus billable resources to "help" the client.

Fast forward and ask, "What happens next - what comes after RPA?" The biased eco-system will drive you towards AI. This drives further software sales, related sales commissions, deployment and consulting opportunity.

"The biased eco-system continues to fuel itself."

But, what the current eco-system does not know, or will not tell you is the very real opportunity to monetize your RPA investment. They will talk to you about the cost savings, headcount reduction, increased compliance/speed and maybe even talk to you about re-negotiating your audit fee as RPA is doing the finance work-load rather than a human (unlikely if the adviser is also your auditor.)

Our simple tips for Monetizing - C.S.I. (not the TV show!):

  • Difficult to COPY - when you build the RPA capability make sure it has enough Intellectual Property (IP) so that it is difficult to replicate.
  • Does it SCALE - consider how you will scale this RPA installation throughout your other business units and more importantly outside of your organisation.
  • Requires real INVESTMENT - nothing is free, to get to a position where you are able to monetise your RPA you need to invest in time, people and/or the right advice.

We at ROLABOTIC have been thinking "outside the box" and working with clients to monetise their RPA investment so it can become revenue generative. Conceptually this can be difficult to grasp but, with those clients we have worked with they see the very real opportunity.

Finally and most importantly thank you to all of you who shared, commented or liked my first post RPA - The biased eco-system. Your interactions resulted in Alliance Manchester Business School covering the article in their December 2016 Alumni Newsletter ROLABOTIC coverage. This has been great exposure for a start-up, disruptive firm competing within the biased eco-system.

Let me know your thoughts - always keen to hear other peoples experiences.

If you want an INDEPENDENT perspective from an organisation who are NOT commercially tied to a specific vendor, analyst, adviser or BPO - speak to us.

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