Enterprises across the globe have recognized RPA as an integral part of digital transformation. A business cannot call itself digitally transformed if the repetitive and redundant functions are still performed manually. According to a study commissioned by Automation Anywhere, nearly half of all businesses in India will implement robotic process automation (RPA) by 2024. The study found that 57% of organizations are investing in RPA and intelligent automation to build resilience post the pandemic.
Enterprises commence their RPA programs expecting to gain significant benefits at reduced costs, and with little to no disruption to current processes or applications. However, the implementation may not necessarily be this straightforward, and there are several challenges that can not only delay the implementation processes but also defy the purpose of RPA adoption in the first place.
Let’s have a look at the common challenges in RPA implementation
- Managing Expectations – Given the benefits that RPA offers in the short term, it is very easy to expect more than what it can realistically deliver. However, if businesses want to achieve long-term sustained benefits from RPA implementation, then they need to keep their expectation real and have a carefully planned strategy to derive maximum ROI.
- Upskilling and Reskilling of the Talent – The Successful adoption of any new-technology depends on the talent who will be using it. If the talent lacks desired skill set to successfully operate the new technology, then its implementation will certainly fall flat. Hence, reskilling and upskilling of employees to understand RPA and utilize it to enhance their efficiency and productivity cannot be undermined.
- Manging Employee Resistance – This is one of the biggest and most common challenges that every enterprise faces due to a very basic human trait – that we all fear change. Introduction of any new technology challenges employees to get out of their comfort zone and get acquainted with a newer way of working. They may fear the change in routine and the fact that their jobs may become redundant. This can become a serious impediment to a successful RPA implementation. To overcome this, enterprises need to effectively communicate with their employees on how they intend to use the new technology and how it will enhance the nature of their work.
- Increases Efficiency – RPA software automates the rule-based and redundant tasks, which do not require human intelligence. In addition, it doesn’t get fatigued doing the mundane work. Hence, it can accomplish huge amounts of menial work, with minimum chances of human error, thereby increasing the efficiency and improving the overall productivity.
- Improves Analytics – RPA technologies allow organizations to gather data about task execution that can be employed for analytical purposes. Insights attained from such analysis can benefit in several ways such as quick and informed decision making on the micro as well as macro levels. In addition, the company can determine gaps where the business processes could be further streamlined to enhance efficiency.
- Enhances Security – One of the most prominent benefits of RPA is that it functions on a granular level. As the bot performs one task at a time, there is no room for information leakage from one part of the system to another. Hence, the data access is well-controlled and documented. The most common myth about RPA implementation is that the robots will replace the need for a human workforce. This cannot be farther from the truth, as RPA implementation requires employees who will handle the system to have the necessary skill sets needed to control a workforce that includes both people and machines.
Despite several challenges, organizations are increasingly opting for RPA for a simple reason that its benefits far outweigh the challenges.
Starting with reasonable expectations can be the first logical move towards starting the RPA journey. Not being clear about expectations of the team or creating a hype can hamper the progress. Also, it will be difficult to measure the success of a new technology in the absence of clear goal and measurement metrics.
Further, RPA implementation requires a cultural as well as mindset shift within the organization, starting from the senior leadership. Otherwise the misguided information about RPA and its impact can create fear among people that they might lose their jobs. With such negativity, the resistance to adoption might increase and it will diminish chances of success in the organization’s automation journey.