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Why Are Businesses Struggling With Robotic Process Automation


While robotic process automation (RPA) can be highly effective in streamlining work, achieving and maintaining those results is not as simple. A global study has found that these bots are harder to deploy by corporate than first thought and that 87% C-level executives tend to experience some level of bot failures. As a result of this, most businesses are struggling with RPA solutions. (Read the complete report here)

RPA is not magic bullet

The study by Pegasystems Inc, shows that typically takes 18 months to successfully push bots into production, and 41% of those surveyed said bot management is taking more time and resources than expected.

The survey respondents highlight three major challenges with bot deployment and management associated with RPA:

Bot deployment isn’t as easy as it sounds: Organizations are spending more time and effort getting bots up and running than anticipated. Deployment ranked as respondents’ top bot challenge, and half (50%) said bots are harder to deploy than they first thought. On average, only 39% of bots are deployed on schedule, and it typically takes 18 months on average to successfully push bots live into production, the research finds.

Bot lifespans aren’t all that long: Inevitable changes to the underlying enterprise architecture will likely lead to increased bot breakage over time. According to the study, already, 87% of respondents experience some level of bot failures. 44% said the amount of bot breakage is small, but 37% said it’s a moderate amount, and 6% think it’s quite large. Overall, maintenance ranked as the second biggest problem bot users face. On average, organizations think bots will last approximately three years, though their bot initiatives are only 1.8 years old.

Bots need more maintenance than expected: With bot breakage a near certainty, RPA can’t be viewed as a set-it-and-forget-it task. 41% of respondents said that ongoing bot management is taking more time and resources than expected. Bots also add another layer of complexity to IT. How much? 38% felt their use brought more complexity than expected, while 26% said they added more ‘shadow IT’ issues than expected.

RPA’s silver lining

The survey that polled more than 500 decision makers from global businesses, including India, however found that despite challenges, most respondents gain significant value from automating their operations with bots. In fact, 67% said robotic automation is even more effective than they originally anticipated, while only 8% felt it was less effective than expected. But getting to that point and staying there can be more challenging than expected as the research highlighted.

Pegasystems researchers noted RPA has become a buzz-worthy solution for organizations under pressure to modernize their legacy IT infrastructure and stay competitive given that it’s often positioned as an easy path to digital transformation as it automates cumbersome and mundane processes.

Gartner too recently reported RPA software revenue grew 63% in 2018 to $846 million, making it the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market.

“There’s no doubt that RPA and RDA are highly effective solutions that streamline inefficient operations while squeezing more life from existing IT systems,” Don Schuerman, CTO, Pegasystems said in a statement.

“Amid all the market hype, there are several misperceptions on how best to use bots. We believe robotic automation serves as a bridge to digital transformation, not as the end game. That’s because bots are only band-aids that temporarily mask the bad processes still lurking underneath.”

Kenneth market research report also predicts that the RPA market in India will grow at a CAGR of above 20.0% during the forecast period 2019–2025. The market is driven by the increasing demand to automate accounting and process management. While deploying RPA can be challenge as the technology is relatively nascent, RPA vendors should focus on developing best-in-class intelligent process automation bots, said the study.

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