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RPA business case (1-part): Direct and indirect net-benefits

When you check what the benefits are for implementing a RPA Robotic Process Automation, you can easily find the following sentences (or similar ones):

1. Reduced working time and productivity increase.

2. Better wellbeing for employees

3. Increment of the opportunity for employees to work on higher quality tasks.

4. ROI calculation as difference between benefits and costs.

The point 3 is lacking elements to be considered in terms of feasibility and benefits. This depends on the missed consideration of other sub-points related to 1 and 3 and how to effectively reach the point 2. And as a consequence, the ROI calculations is imperfect and misleading.

If working time is reduced is a tacit implication that part of the workforce can be laid off. While wellbeing can be achieved, (it strongly depends on the board, CEO.) it is not clear how the opportunities for employees to work at higher quality level may happen, how, when, and where.

Without a design and a plan where allocate free time and mostly upskill or skills development strategy this will never happen.

But you could ask: what is the relation with the RPA implementation?

One point is that apart from some medium level activities and not strategic ones, and not for all the departments, there is the risk that layoffs can happen after the implementation because considered not strategic?

The second point is connected with the concept that “RPA is the first step toward digital transformation”. From my perspective in terms of future actionable advice, time recovered and upskills -skills development are essential to look forward to digital transforming, create a flexible organisation and/or becoming more resilient (this last point includes also partial aspects of DT and Agility). This is the most important aspect for


· People participate to the change as they can bring forward their experience, leave behind not value-added tasks and avoid change fatigue.

We can better understand why ROI calculation should include:

Tangible net benefits

- Costs of upskills or skills upgrade for the more quality level tasks promised.

- Estimate of their benefits

Intangible net benefits

- Costs of upskills or skills upgrade for future strategic activities.

- Estimate of their benefits

The last two elements can work as moderating factor and to look forward at strategic level for the company.

Stay tuned: next post: RPA Business case (2 PART) : Other elements to consider -a People Centric Approach’s net-benefit.


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