Enter the concept of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), introduced to market in 2012 via a case study written by HFS and supported by Blue Prism, which promised to remove manual workarounds and headcount overload from inefficient business processes and BPO services. However, despite offering clear technical capability and the real advantage of breathing life into legacy systems and processes, RPA hasn’t inspired enterprises to rewire their business processes – it’s really just helped them move data around the company faster and require less manual intervention. In addition, most “RPA” engagements that have been signed are not for unattended processes, instead, most are attended robotic desktop automation (RDA) deployments. Attended RDA requires a loop of human and bot interplay to complete tasks. These engagements are not the pure form of RPA that we invented – they are a motley crew of scripts and macros applying add band-aids to messy desktop applications and processes to maintain the same old way of doing things. Sure, there is usually a reduction in labor needs – but in fractional increments – which is rarely enough to justify entire headcount elimination. Crucially, the current plethora of “RPA” engagements have not resulted in any actual “transformation”.
The major issue with RPA today is that it is automating piecemeal tasks. It needs to be part of an integrated strategy.
RPA provides a terrific band-aid to fix current solutions; it helps to extend the life of legacy. But does not provide long-term answers. The handful of enterprises that have successfully scaled RPA across their organizations have three things in common:
- A unifying purpose for adopting automation,
- A broad and ongoing change management program to enable the shift to a hybrid workforce, and
- A Triple-A Trifecta toolkit that leverages RPA, various permutations of AI, and smart analytics in an integrated fashion.
So HFS is calling it as we see it. RPA is dead! Long live Integrated Automation. And by integrated we mean integrated technology, but also, and all importantly, we mean integration across people, process and technology supported by focused objectives and change management. Integrated Automation is how you transform your business and achieve an end-to-end Digital OneOffice.
Integrated Automation is not about RPA or AI or Analytics. It is RPA and AI and Analytics.