If any company (regardless of size) is considering the use of automation, it should always carefully consider the method of implementation. There are several of them and each of them has its pros and cons. The lines below describe the four most common approaches to implementing RPA.
* RPA or Robotic Process Automation is a technologythat allows you to automate enterprise/business processes. Software robots handle repetitive tasks commonly performed by humans, which increases efficiency, minimizes errors, and reduces costs. You can read more about this technology here.
You probably already know software robotics (otherwise you probably would not read this article 🙂) and you might want to automate the processes in your company as well. But how to choose a suitable solution for the implementation of RPA in your company and ensure that it will be not only effective but also cost-effective? Let's look at the options first.
4 most common "ways" of RPA implementation in companies
So how to implement RPA in the company and at the same time keep software robots up to date in the long run? There are more or less four different RPA implementation solutions:
- RPA Consulting + RPA Centre of Excellence (CoE)
- This path consists of hiring external consultants who do all the work. In addition, an RPA Centre of Excellence (CoE) is usually created for this purpose, through which RPA is mainly implemented in your company. In the long run, it leads to the creation of internal know-how and the operation of its own infrastructure for the operation of RPA.
- Own RPA
- This path consists of using an internal team of developers to automate processes through the development of custom software and "open-source" tools.
- "Outsourced" RPA
- This path consists of hiring an external advisory team to cover all RPA-related tasks.
- Robot as a Service (RaaS)
- This path consists of establishing cooperation with a provider / supplier that offers comprehensive automation services, including RPA software.
Now let's look at the individual approaches in a little more detail. There is no better or worse approach, but each has its advantages and disadvantages.
RPA Consulting + RPA Centre of Excellence
* The Centre of Excellence (CoE) is a special team of qualified professionals whose main goal is to provide best practices in a specific area of interest in the company. In the case of RPA, CoE focuses on proper implementation and automation through RPA technology.
This approach is probably still the most widespread, one could almost say that it is a traditional approach to the implementation of RPA in companies (at least the largest). Keep in mind that if you choose this path, you will have to count with a lot of additional support and licensing costs:
- Fees for the consultation process
- License fees (RPA platform, database, etc.)
- Fees for consultations for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence (CoE)
- Hiring and training employees for CoE
- Continuous operating costs for CoE
However, these costs are offset by faster response times, especially if CoE members are well trained and know best practices for RPA implementation. However, it should also be mentioned that there may be a significant reduction in return on investment, in some cases to negative numbers (especially in the long run). CoE operating costs often exceed FTEs saved on automated processes. As a rule, you will have to hire new RPA experts for every 5-10 robots in order to keep them running. It is not such a problem to automate the process, but above all to keep it in operation for a long time.
Assume that your company has a capable team of software developers. In such a situation, it may be easier to automate processes by developing your own software or even using "open-source" tools. It is common for companies to choose to automate their processes without any RPA tools.
However, beware, this approach can be very expensive at certain stages. RPA Platforms have already "matured" during their existence and have tuned virtually all the "labour pains" that you will deal with in automation. One of the main obstacles is that your developers will have to work on several "queues" at once: all consultations with end clients, setting up the platform + developing the platform functions themselves and, of course, programming the robots themselves. This will rapidly reduce your valuable time, which you are trying to save by automation itself.
If you talk to a company that has taken this path and has developed robots in-house, they will probably tell you that the only thing they have been struggling with for a long time is maintaining and updating robots. This is the case where the absence of a single automation tool is evident. Each developer will have a slightly different methodology of automation, etc., and with each new robot, support will become harder and harder. In the end, you will be overtaken by the "technical debt" and soon you will treat the robots in the same way as the traditional old system.
On the other hand, if you have an experienced team of developers, you can expect very fast response times and the cost of licenses will be practically insignificant..
If you do not want to deal with overheads and CoE costs, this approach is a viable option, although it is probably the most expensive of all. With this approach, you will have to pay consulting fees throughout the automation and implementation cycle. Both, the RPA platform supplier, and the consulting firm will provide continuous service, assuming that they will be paid. 🙂
On the other hand, you do not have to deal with any additional costs. Overheads and organizational costs associated with setting up and maintaining internal CoE… The supplier takes care of all this…
RaaS (Robot as a Service) is a shared software model in which you can rent resources (hardware, software and staff skills) and use them to automate your own processes. Under this approach, you only pay a subscription fee, and the supplier provides you with a comprehensive process automation solution.
A RaaS subscription usually includes the following:
- Identification of processes for automation
- Development of software robots
- Installation and configuration of automated processes by professional RPA programmers
- Update of infrastructure for operation of automation
- Support and maintenance, including updating the robot so that it is always functional and takes into account any changes in the business or systems
- Supervision of the operation of the entire infrastructure and processing of individual processes
Some RaaS providers also offer the option of hosting robots in the supplier's infrastructure (or cloud) or on their own internal enterprise servers.
Thanks to the monthly subscription, the costs are more predictable than in the case of other solutions. The monthly price usually depends on the number of automated processes. Some suppliers also charge the price according to the number of robots. The price includes experts from the RaaS provider, so you do not pay for their capacity, regardless of how many experts will be "used" during the contract.
On the other hand, this path gives you less control than your own implementation of RPA in your infrastructure and with your internal team. You need to consider whether you want to spend your time (and money) automating processes that require a lot of time and expertise, or rather invest your resources in a shared supplier environment and have no additional worries and costs.
Cost comparison - Implementation of RPA in companies
So, if we put the individual principles of implementation side by side in one table and add the context of costs to it:
You can see above that Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) is the most cost-effective (or the most advantageous) solution. Among other things, you do not have to pay for a robot license, and you are not responsible for filling the daily machine time with as many processes as possible. For a fraction of the price of a monthly subscription, you can receive a complete end-to-end service.
Choose the RPA solution that suits your preferences
Every company has slightly different needs and visions. Therefore, you should decide on your own preferences. This article is just to show you the options and maybe make it easier for you to choose the right RPA model and solution.
P.S.: If you need help and want to talk more about the possibilities, do not hesitate to contact us.🙂