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When Should RPA Replatforming Become a CIO Concern?

3 min read
Mar 2, 2022 9:30:00 AM

Automation continues to help CIOs drive effective digital transformation in the enterprise. It is important CIOs take the reins on automation to enable enterprise-wide impact and benefits.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a specialized automation software, enables companies to build software “bots” that automate mundane, repetitive and swivel chair processes to eliminate human errors (“Fat Fingers”) and increase agility and productivity. RPA continues to play a pivotal role in CIOs’ digital strategies and implementation; It comes as no surprise that advancing automation is at the top of the CIO’s priorities. CIOs are increasing their automation spend and a recent Gartner survey indicates that more than 80% of organizations will increase their automation spend this year.

Even with so many CIO aspirations, a lot of enterprises still struggle to get the best out of their RPA platform. Whilst CIOs are tasked with the responsibility of delivering digital innovation that serves the business needs and goals, championing RPA initiatives within the enterprise also falls under their remit. Great evangelists should not only be involved during early RPA engagements but be unapologetically curious about the continuous usage of RPA.


Many CIOs fail to re-assess continuously if their current RPA platform is still fit for purpose due to the immense pressure from senior leadership to increase automation to recoup CapEx investment. Senior leadership fails to realise that the RPA platform is the bedrock on which successful automations can be realized. CIOs must pay attention to their legacy RPA product and its impacts to make a firm decision on whether to remain on the same platform or move to a new platform.


Here are 4 reasons why CIOs should be concerned about their current RPA platform and should consider moving/replatforming to a newer tool.

Return on Investment

RPA Capital expenditures (CapEX) and operating expenses (OpEX) are not new to early adopters of RPA. Investments in RPA include the platform set up, infrastructure, software licences, development costs, the centre of excellence etc.


Whilst a significant CapEX investment has been made on an existing RPA platform, CIOs still face the challenge of delivering their ROI targets. According to Forrester, at least 25% of companies struggle to meet their ROI targets. CIOs capitalize on “automating the right process” in abundance to hit ROI targets but neglect how their current RPA platform inhibits their success. In 2022, CIOs must review their return on investment before committing to their next RPA OpEX. If the existing RPA platform is due for renewal or end of life, an opportunity presents itself to leverage a new generation of RPA products.


Intelligent Automation


In the last 5 years, Intelligent Automation (IA) has taken a center stage as it represents the next evolution for rule-based automation. Intelligent Automation, also known as Hyperautomation is the combination of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to power end-to-end digitalization of processes. It is expected that organizations will look to deploy a large scale of “intelligent bots” in the next few years due to the benefits associated with Intelligent Automation.


Gartner predicts that by 2024, organizations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyperautomation technologies with redesigned operational processes.


CIOs play a pivotal role in the adoption of Intelligent Automation in their organization - take the lead on IA initiatives and act as sponsors. CIOs must re-evaluate their current RPA technology to understand where it fits within their Intelligent Automation strategy. With newer RPA products such as Power Automate offering a pre-packaged AI builder for intelligent automation, CIOs should compare the benefits of a new integrated platform with their existing Gen 1 RPA technology (Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, UiPath, etc.) and replatform to unlock intelligent automation.


Siloed Automation


Lack of governance and standardization, disparate automation practice, multiple RPA platforms and multiple CoEs are some of the characteristics of siloed automation. While CIOs look to drive enterprise-wide automation programs, consolidating all automation efforts often seem nearly impossible with a multi-RPA platform strategy. There is a need to centralize operations, best practices, governance, technologies, implementations, standards, and expertise to alleviate functional silos and effectively scale automation.


Having one RPA platform is an easy way to achieve this goal. It is paramount CIOs consider moving from a multi-RPA platform strategy to a single RPA platform strategy to reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO) and benefit from a “one house one RPA platform” approach.


Technical Debt


CIOs must be wary of legacy RPA platforms that have been retired by an RPA software provider. It is very easy for CIOs to allow the software to run its course, but it constitutes a percentage of their technical debt. Other legacy issues may also manifest in the form of the inability to upgrade to a newer version or interoperability with new systems.


This is a great opportunity for CIOs to position a new RPA platform.

This guest post was written by Tolani Jaiye-Tikolo who is the founder of RPA Jargon Buster.