The many benefits of robotic process automation (RPA)—like improved accuracy, boosted productivity, and streamlined workflows—are easy to understand. But as you start to seriously consider bringing an RPA solution to your organization, it’s important to understand how to determine your RPA ROI so you can guarantee a successful implementation.
We’ve put together the top four questions to ask as you determine your budget and decide which solution provides the most value for your organization—and helps you on your way to a positive ROI.
1. How Many Bots Will I Need?
Software robots, or RPA bots, refer to what some vendors call tasks. They can also be agents—individual devices running the automation solution. As you evaluate vendors, it’s important to understand how many bots are offered, if you pay by the bot, or if there’s an option for unlimited bots. While starting small is key to RPA success, you also want to make sure your solution can scale along with your organization. One bot is great for starting with desktop automation, five bots can help you expand in a single department, and having the option for unlimited bots can help you scale as you grow your RPA footprint across the entire enterprise.
As you set out on your RPA journey, take a look at your current processes and identify potential RPA opportunities, such as data scraping, user provisioning, or report generation. This will help get you thinking strategically about how you see RPA fitting into your organization so you can get a better idea of the best automation approach for your needs—whether desktop or enterprise.
2. What's the Cost of a Human Doing a Task vs the Cost of a Bot?
When deciding on your RPA budget, think of an RPA solution as an investment in your workforce. One of the best ways to see RPA ROI is by comparing how much it costs a human employee to do a task versus a software bot. For example, if an employee costs around $45,000 per year, and a bot costs around $3,000, you’ll quickly start seeing the savings.
This doesn’t mean replacing your human workforce with bots, but rather leveraging your digital workforce to help you get more from existing employees. Think of an RPA bot as a digital assistant—working alongside your human workforce so your employees can spend their time on more strategic, value-adding work. And these robot assistants can help you fill any gaps in coverage without having to add more staff.
3. Should I Buy Subscription or Perpetual Licensing
It’s critical to understand the licensing fees when determining your budget. Subscription-based pricing is becoming more and more common for RPA vendors, and while a subscription requires a lower initial investment, it can become one of the largest costs associated with an RPA solution as the cost reoccurs whenever you renew your subscription.
Some vendors may offer a perpetual license for their RPA software, in which case you would avoid the recurring annual fees but pay more up front. Perpetual licensing gives you access to the software for life, and you typically start seeing the savings within the initial years and beyond. There are a wide range of pricing structures and you should carefully examine vendor options in order to choose a solution that will work best for you to deliver the greatest ROI.
4. How Much RPA Training is Needed?
A great RPA solution should be easy to use. But even with user-friendly features like drag-and-drop building tools, it’s important to have a base-level knowledge of RPA best practices. Even those employees not intending to build bots should undergo some basic RPA training in order to better understand how to determine bot viability.
RPA software is one of the only products where customers can get exponential increasing returns every year as they scale and automate more and more—RPA is not install-and-forget software. Given this, you should plan for ongoing training to make sure you and your employees are kept up to date on current capabilities and able to see what’s possible with the latest innovations. And keep in mind that not all training comes with a price tag. Vendors with RPA communities featuring online resources and forums give another opportunity for continual education.
The RPA Buyer’s Guide aims to simplify the buying process by giving you all the information you need to find the best RPA solution for your business