Can anyone implement RPA - even small and medium sized agencies?
It is a common perception that only large enterprises can take advantage of the latest advancements in technology. This is one of the reasons why there is a slow adoption of these among small and medium enterprises. Even though the banking, insurance, and financial services are far ahead in terms of adapting the latest technological advancements, we still see a lag with players in accounts receivable and revenue cycle. Even if someone is keen about implementing to leverage any of these cutting-edge solutions, one of the foremost reasons to avoid could be the cost factor associated with it. There are multiple aspects to the cost involved, but the three primary ones are: 1) licensing fees, 2) implementation, and 3) ongoing maintenance.
Hosting applications through a centralized location and offering to a distributed community existed since 1960. However, it wasn’t until 2012 when many application service providers (ASP’s) built and launched their own applications through software as a service (SaaS) model. When Salesforce launched their application, from the very beginning they adopted SaaS at their core where they combined the software and services. In other words, users need to only buy the licenses. Even with licensing, users were given the option to choose how many they would want and had the option to scale up or down based on their preference. Since these applications were hosted by the provider in the cloud, users had to negate the need for any physical infrastructure. By leveraging the cloud computing approach like SaaS, we have many today, such as: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Managed Software as a Service (MSaaS), and even Information Technology Management as a Service (ITMaaS).
Today, robotic process automation follows the same and is offered to customers through a fully hosted model. Robotic Process Automation as a Service (RPAaaS) leverages the cloud computing model and offers the enterprise automation software as a service. Organizations can take full advantage of these approaches irrespective of the total number of users or volume of processing.
Is RPAaaS for everyone?
As highlighted, irrespective of their size and employee count, agencies can simply sign up for the RPAaaS where the service provider will provide the automation bots securely from a hosted environment or deploy them within the customer network and run them for every identified processes. In both approaches, the customer has full control on the bots and its function. If offered through a hosted environment, organizations do not incur cost towards the infrastructure to deploy or its ongoing maintenance. RPAaaS gives agencies the flexibility to pay only for the service offered, the total number processes automated, or even by the degree of complexity for each of the processes automated, thereby making the entire licensing a stress-free one.
With such flexibility and options in place, even agencies with a smaller operation can take advantage of the robotic process since most of the functions that are monotonous in nature exist in every operation and employees struggle every day to get those tasks accomplished within a short span. Since there is particularly low investment involved to get started on any of the RPA project, they can reap back the returns (ROI) within weeks. In terms of the maintenance of bots, RPAaaS will cover that making it truly a SaaS offering.
With accelerated time to value, operations take advantage of the RPAaaS by testing it through smaller projects and expanding it to other areas of operations. RPAaaS models are great for even conducting proof of concepts (PoC). In this way, there is little to no risk involved in building a bot for a process and validating its use case. In terms of scalability, agencies can easily scale the automation projects by increasing the number of bots without worrying about the infrastructure or its maintenance, especially if one opts for a hosted approach. Through a hosted model, multiple bots can be deployed securely from cloud. Monitoring these digital workers can be through any dashboard or orchestrator provided through the service provider.
From a compliance point of view, there must be sufficient governance in place and suppliers must adhere to the agencies’ policies and accordingly cooperate for any audits by ensuring sufficient security measures in place.
By addressing all the key concerns of infrastructure, licensing, maintenance, and compliance, the RPAaaS model is a true enabler for every organization to leverage and take advantage of the potential that RPA brings to the table. Many leaders in the ARM industry reiterated that the world is changing faster and faster, and there are now scalable tools that are affordable for agencies of any size. With modified models like RPAaaS, it is true for advanced technological advancements like RPA services too.