Featured in the University of Manchester: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – The biased eco-system and how to navigate it
The ‘virtual’ stir
Alumnus Paresh Mistry caused a ‘virtual’ stir with his recent post on LinkedIn about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and the biased eco-system that exists in the decision process.
Paresh, also a chartered accountant completed his MBA in 2012 and has worked in the finance and IT industries during his career. In case you missed the controversy, we have republished the article here.
What does RPA mean for your business
We are bombarded with information about RPA but, what does all this actually mean for your business and how do you get an independent perspective to separate fact from fiction? Here is a summary of a recent client journey:
After a board meeting the CEO was excited to quickly understand the impact and benefits of RPA after hearing about its business transformation capabilities at a conference. The Group CIO (IT) and Group CFO (finance/business) were tasked with evaluating RPA.
- CIO asks his business process outsourcing (BPO) provider to investigate as they have an innovation clause as part of the contract; he also asks his own team to look at analyst findings and conduct vendor technical appraisals.
- CFO asks an adviser from a large consulting business and asks his own team to research analyst findings and investigate vendor case studies based on this.
CIO view: RPA is fiction – it may deliver c.10-20% savings at most, ROI is limited and by utilising existing IT resource/BPO solution the savings can be achieved organically.
CFO view: RPA is fact – it is a game changer, removing up to 100% of people from processes, increasing compliance and a must for all organisations wanting to survive the economic head winds.
The “dilemma” when trying to separate the fact from fiction on RPA
This demonstrates the client “dilemma” when trying to separate the fact from fiction on RPA:
1. Vendors – are inherently biased toward their own point of view and respective solution. Vendors pay advisers/consultants/analysts to position them accordingly.
2. Advisers/ consultants – will position the vendor which either offers them (a) the largest software resale commission or (b) the most days on client site implementing.
3. Analyst – will be influenced by how much financial gain they can make from a vendor or BPO provider and typically appraise them after agreeing commercial terms.
4. BPO provider – if incumbent, they are unlikely to provide the most effective solution as it will directly impact the revenue with the client.
You can see that all parties are commercially reliant upon one another and therefore form a biased eco-system for the majority of clients who are appraising RPA.
Back to our client journey, the CIO and CFO present their findings to the board and have a rather challenging conversation on their respective evaluation of RPA and where ownership lies. The CIO says,”this is an IT project, it’s software and we own it” CFO responds,”no, this is about giving back power to the business to improve processes and reduce cost”. The debate rages on.
After posting the article Paresh received a great response around the thought-provoking and open nature of the post. He also received queries from a software vendor and management consultant. Information in the public domain has been used to substantiate the scenarios depicted in this article. A penalty was imposed on a consultant for their lack of ‘independence’.