Robotic process automation: A no-hype buyer’s guide

What level of automation is right for you?

How best to deploy RPA depends on the use case. It’s important to match capabilities with desired outcomes in order to achieve strong ROI.

There are, in effect, two options:

– Deploy basic RPA as a simple way to introduce automation.

– Combine RPA with additional components to create a more sophisticated "RPA plus" capability.

The key is to clearly understand when basic RPA is enough, and when it’s time to consider a more full-featured RPA solution that includes capabilities such as unstructured data capture, intelligent chatbots, or advanced decisioning or content services.

Basic RPA: Quick, easy, affordable

When to use
To speed simple tasks that can be precisely documented and have a defined sequence of steps.

Task characteristics
Routine. Repetitive. Predictable. Prescribed. Does not require flexibility.

Implementation cost and complexity
Very low. Deployment in days to weeks with little IT skill required.

Potential ROI
Moderate to moderately high, depending on how much routine tasks currently cost.

RPA plus: Enhanced and integrated

When to use
For processes which, due to complexity and dependencies, need to be coordinated. Enables RPA to be used for more complex, conditional actions that may involve decision- making or multiple outcomes.

Task characteristics
Non-routine. State-dependent, with multiple variables and multiple outcomes. More reliant on human interaction and judgement.

Implementation cost and complexity
Greater than basic RPA but still relatively low compared to full automation. Deployment may take weeks or months and require assistance depending on internal capabilities.

Potential ROI
High due to the added value provided by more extensive and sophisticated automation.