RPA: Buzzing but not Scaling-Up

By: Subi Sethi – Vice President, Business Excellence, OGS 

Over the last few years, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) has been a much-talked about trend across several industries. Many companies have either taken to the technology or are still working on it.

However, there are issues which have stopped companies from adopting it in totality. Companies are able to conceptualize successfully but face challenges when it comes to upgrading their technology for large-scale adoption across their businesses, geographies, and divisions.

The challenges which companies face are numerous and varied. However, certain issues run across most of them, including:

  • Lacking the big picture: The lack of clarity when it comes to finding a solution to the big issue is a problem common across many organizations. Most companies are stuck in coding as many internal business processes are known to daily users who lack an insight into the bigger picture. The management teams fail to convey the end picture to the teams who work on the ground, resulting in failure of proper implementation and scaling of solutions. Too much focus on coding and not solutioning results in improper adoption.


  • Piecemeal strategy for implementation: The lack of a comprehensive RPA strategy that runs across the organization often results in failure, as various departments undertake their own RPA routes, which are either incompatible which each other or do not speak to each other. Hence, at the end of the day, each unit is trying to do something which doesn’t fit in the organization level capabilities. By the time the units start communicating about their progress, it is usually difficult to undo certain changes in each unit. The infrastructure built is ad-hoc and hence inefficient for long-term scalability.


  • Start big, disregard the details: On the other hand, there exist instances where companies dream big and therefore start big when it comes to RPA implementation. Instead of starting small and building on it process by process in a planned manner, organizations start on a huge scale, an approach that is rarely successful. Many a time they do not even have the right internal capabilities to stay on the right RPA journeys they wish to undertake. There may be misses if the internal teams do not realize the importance of the expertise and experience an external agency can provide and in which they are themselves not well equipped. There maybe instances where an internal team is capable but they haven’t been given the authority to take strategic decisions. Since these teams maybe more technically inclined, they may lack management aptitude. Hence, it is important to have the right balance of technical and management aptitude for the teams implementing these solutions.

  Fortunately, most of the challenges that organizations face can be avoided with proper planning, management buy-in, building a proper ecosystem and design thinking.


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