RPA governance is a challenge that many enterprises struggle with. A lot of organizations still rely on business-dominated ownership, or go the complete opposite route and leave it to IT alone to govern and own automation.
Research shows that it doesn’t matter which lop-sided model you adopt; both are ineffective. When you don’t get it right, the pitfalls of one-sided ownership make it impossible to scale RPA and produce the ROI that was expected (and, probably pitched to executive sponsors).
There are disadvantages to both full IT and full business ownership, which is why – as presented in a recent webinar by Gartner – shared business-IT ownership is the only way forward if you want to drive process quality, scale, and meaningful ROI in your RPA efforts.
The Disadvantages of IT-Owned RPA Governance
At first glance, the logic behind depending on IT stakeholders to fully own RPA initiatives is relatively sound. They understand the limitations of RPA and what a business process as a viable automation candidate looks like. They also have the expertise to manage the development effort to actually build the bots and the maintenance needed to react to changes and errors when they arise.
Yet IT owners are disconnected from the business, and therefore, don’t respond quickly enough to business needs. In many cases, what’s automated is only what’s possible, and not necessarily what the business wants.
Rigid IT ownership also creates a lot of bottlenecks and delays. They’re either inundated with requests to automate processes from different areas of the business and don’t have the capacity, resources, or bandwidth to accommodate all requests, or they have to proactively seek out RPA opportunities across the enterprise. When IT is charged with identifying business processes to automate, the task can be quite labour-intensive; they have to spend a lot of time rooting out the actual process through interviews or chasing down process owners for the documented model. Any attempt at collaborating with the owners to optimize the process – either for technical feasibility or process improvement – is just as slow and disconnected, adding more delays to an already inefficient automation process.
The Disadvantages of Business-Owned RPA Governance Models
Again, arguments can be made that there are rational benefits to instituting an autonomous business-owned RPA governance model. Business stakeholders are in large part the process owners. They understand business processes and process optimization. They’re also very aware of business needs and objectives and can effectively respond to those with automation.
However, they don’t have the technical literacy to fully understand the possibilities and limitations of RPA. In siloed business ownership, the inability to scale RPA and negligible ROI can usually be traced back to poor process selection. Business RPA owners with little oversight or collaboration from IT partners have a tendency to pick poor processes—processes that are either too complex for automation, change too often, or touch applications that are subject to frequent changes causing errors and maintenance nightmares. Their eagerness to automate and get lost in the hype cycle only contributes to ill-advised process selection which is a tendency that needs to be checked and could be, with a shared ownership model.
The Better Way: Shared IT and Business Ownership for RPA Governance
There really aren’t any disadvantages to this model—only benefits. And this isn’t news to us. We’ve written about how RPA fosters better IT and business alignment before. What you get when you embrace shared IT and Business ownership for RPA governance is the combined expertise from two critical parts of the organization: the business brings their process knowledge and higher-level enterprise needs and objectives to the table, while IT offers their technical insight to control what’s possible, what’s not, and how processes need to be optimized for automation to work and not be maintenance burdens.
Bottlenecks and delays from siloed ownership are also removed. The business has the autonomy to identify RPA opportunities, capturing the process, and optimizing it which is a critical step for any automation candidate, and IT can manage risk with their technical lens, ensuring that automation is a viable solution. This creates a synergy of expertise that streamlines automation from discovery to development for RPA at scale that will yield the ROI that was expected.
Blueprint’s Business Transformation Platform is the ideal solution to bring the business and IT into one collaborative platform that fosters alignment, and to give your organization a governance model for RPA that works. Blueprint’s Collaboration Hub is what allows business and IT stakeholders to collaborate on RPA opportunities, optimize them, and deliver them to development teams along with all key enterprise context like regulatory requirements and business rules right in the RPA tool you use for development and orchestration. It’s how some of our customers have been able to reduce rework and bot outages by 3x, develop bots 25% faster, and enjoy 5x the ROI in less than 6 months.
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