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With So Much RPA, Why Don’t We Have More RPA?

Government agencies and companies alike are implementing automation processes to optimize performance and increase productivity, among other benefits.

With So Much RPA, Why Don’t We Have More RPA?

By Daniella Dorio, Senior Analyst

Government agencies and companies alike are implementing automation processes to optimize performance and increase productivity, among other benefits.  The UiPath Automation Summit was held virtually on February 3, 2022, to analyze how automation improves the day-to-day workforce functions.  The summit speakers additionally discussed the automation blocker funnel, accessibility and applicability issues, and user experience priorities that developers must manage.  Business leaders need developers with adequate training and access to robotic processing automation (RPA) systems.  Developers with the skillset and access then need to develop RPA applicable to the customer’s needs.  Lastly, many developers and customers emphasize quick customizations over brand-new automation capabilities, even if new processes are in the customer’s best interest, because of time constraints.

RPA Challenges:

  1. Blocker Funnel – A blocker funnel is a strategic business model that analysts use to display the number of developers affected by certain levels of blockers or challenges. For example, 34% of surveyed business users are aware of RPA, but only 7% classify as “basic employee developers,” including a mere 4% of “sophisticated employee developers,” meaning that all surveyed sophisticated employee developers are aware of RPA, but some users are only aware of RPA and are blocked from having additional developing experience.  It is not sufficient to simply know what RPA is; developers must effectively understand and implement the automation processes to benefit from RPA’s full scope of capabilities.  Business leaders face the challenge of finding skilled developers who are equipped with necessary training
  2. Accessibility – Accessibility refers to the developer’s ability to access the network to develop RPA capabilities. In the Federal Government, the blocker funnel is partially fueled by security-driven accessibility issues.  Security protocols in the Federal Government often require developers to request access to each network.  In turn, business leaders face the challenge of maximizing workforce process improvement while balancing Federal security requirements
  3. Applicability – Applicability refers to the automation directly relating to the customer’s needs, rather than creating for the sake of creating. Developers should refrain from building RPA processes that do not impact the user experience.  That is, effective RPA must add value to achieve the project’s goals.  If the RPA does not add value, developers endlessly “spin their wheels” developing cosmetic customizations that are not applicable to the customer’s needs.  Project applicability is an invaluable aspect of meeting the customer’s needs
  4. User Experience – User experience refers a user’s observation interfacing with the system or product. The features should center around user functionality improvements rather than the automation experience.  That is, users should tangibly see how automation impacts their experience.  Ninety-three percent of Citizen Developer survey respondents are “somewhat comfortable” or “very comfortable” with automation.  However, 67% of surveyed developers prefer adding features to existing automations.  A mere 10% feel comfortable creating automations from scratch.  While customizing existing RPA is typically a quicker process, it is often in the customer’s interest to tailor the automation with their evolving needs.  Business leaders should consider more involved RPA projects if they will better serve them in the long term.

Companies around the world express enthusiasm in scaling their RPA capabilities, including 20% organizations that adopted RPA in 2021.  However, few companies have fully scaled their RPA capabilities.  There are several RPA challenges that prevent companies from scaling their digital workforce, including the blocker funnel, accessibility and applicability issues, and prioritizing user experience.  Business leaders should offset these challenging by focusing on project’s longevity; therefore, creating robust RPA processes that adds value and directly solves the customer’s problems should be prioritized over quick and easy solutions.  Creating automation is invaluable, but there is a time and place for fun projects versus functional ones.  Additionally, talent and access are imperative to supporting automation initiatives.  Companies of all sizes can leverage RPA to provide cutting-edge solutions by assessing these challenges and understanding the customer’s biggest needs and time constraints.

Through Kearney & Company, P.C.’s (Kearney) extensive experience in assessing automation systems over the last decade, we understand what is needed to manage innovative RPA solutions focused on the customer’s evolving needs.

About Kearney

Established in 1985, Kearney is the largest Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm that is focused on providing audit, accounting, information technology, and consulting services to the Federal Government. We provide financial management services to the Federal Government to improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of financial operations; increase accountability and compliance with laws, regulations, and guidance; and protect funds from fraud, waste, and abuse.  Consistently recognized as a Best Place to Work by multiple publications over the past decade, Kearney fosters a “people first” culture.  We have more than 700 professionals providing services to every Cabinet-level Department and major independent agencies.