Why Robotic Process Automation (RPA) projects fail: 4 factors

Why Robotic Process Automation (RPA) projects fail: 4 factors

No one wants to see their Robotic Process Automation project fail. Check out when and where RPA can go wrong – and learn from common mistakes

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3. You underestimate the political implications

Chris Huff, chief strategy officer at Kofax, points out another consideration that has little to do with the process itself: The political landscape of your organization. Like many technology investments, your odds of success are better if executive champions can help you push past obstacles when they pop up.

“Business areas that don’t have the attention of key executives may also be a poor fit for RPA.”

This can be especially important in organizations where “automation” is a dirty word of sorts, often because it makes people paranoid about their job security.

“Business areas that don’t have the attention of key executives may also be a poor fit for RPA since RPA requires the political capital of executive buy-in to establish governance and provide annual financial outlays to sustain operations,” Huff says.

4. You have unrealistic expectations

Like any technology initiative, you need metrics to measure the results and ensure that RPA is meeting its intended goals. Just make sure those goals are achievable, and that you’re not trying to use a screwdriver to hammer a nail.

“RPA solutions are not SaaS or cloud-like services that work immediately,” Sudhakar says. This can be a particular issue in terms of your vendor relationships, especially if you don’t have RPA expertise already in-house.

“Customers are expecting RPA solutions will work out of the box with limited customization,” Sudhakar says. “RPA solutions are very consultative deployments and require lots of professional services to deploy, onboard, and maintain going forward. This is very labor- and resource-intensive and requires lots of manual work.”

“Lots of manual work” is what RPA is intended to reduce, so make sure you do your due diligence.

When to choose RPA

Bottom line: It’s really about weighing costs against benefits, and taking the long view of both. (It’s not just about deployment costs, for example, but any ongoing upkeep required.) Taking the necessary time to do so will increase your probability of success.

“A decision needs to be made, depending on the efficiencies gained by the automation and the cost of maintenance, as to whether investing in RPA is the right choice for each area of consideration,” Totman says.

[ Learn the do’s and don’ts of cloud migration: Get the free eBook, Hybrid Cloud for Dummies. ]

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