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Chapter 1

Building your RPA Business Case

Building your RPA Business Case

Your business case process is vital for examining and presenting the opportunities, alternatives, project stages, and financial investments for using robotic process automation (RPA) to optimize your organization. It’s important to have a strong, structured case when recommending the best way to create business value through RPA, and SS&C Blue Prism is here to help.

We’ll cover the seven key elements of creating an effective RPA business case so you can successfully advocate for better outcomes in your organization. With our RPA business case template, you’ll be able to:

  • Define a clear strategy for your RPA implementation
  • Provide important details for investors
  • Plan scalable, achievable results for your intelligent automation (IA) program
  • Outline the benefits of RPA for your organization and its workers
  • Create a timeline, establish roles, and define clear goals
  • Summarize and mitigate potential risks or shortcomings

Why you need an RPA business case

RPA and IA can help transform your organization’s processes. But before you can implement your automation, you need a plan for how it will operate. It’s important to clearly convey your message so you can get investors and everyone in your organization on board. When you take time to develop a solid RPA business case, your investment proposal will be a clearly defined outline explaining what to look out for, what can be achieved, and the timeline in which those benefits can be realized.

Before you make a case for RPA, let’s first get into the basics of RPA 101: what it is, how it works to improve systems and processes, strategizing its use, and avoiding common mistakes with onboarding and scalability.

RPA enables the training and deployment of digital workers to automate systems, performing step-by-step tasks to reduce monotonous processes. This lets employees focus on more creative and valuable work. Automating your workflow using business process management (BPM) will reduce system errors and save time and money for your organization. And with AI technology, digital workers can now go beyond back-office processes, driving increased productivity using advanced cognitive automation capabilities.

What to include in your RPA business case

When building your RPA business case, there are things you’ll need to consider. You need to accurately define, outline and communicate seven important elements in your RPA business case:

Clearly define the business needs. Highlight the places in your organization where there are inefficiencies. It’s a good idea to gather insights from those already in the organization familiar with its processes.

Provide important background and supporting information to put the RPA investment into context. Now that you’ve identified the gaps, be able to explain where these digital workers can improve workflow. The better you can explain how RPA can solve these processes, the more likely you will earn buy-in for your business case. In simple terms, explain what your key objectives with the RPA program are and how they will align with your organization’s strategy. Find the missed opportunities and how they could benefit from automation.

Describe how the investment into RPA aligns with the organization’s strategic business plan. You’ve identified where RPA can fill the organization’s needs, but now it’s time to zoom out and look at the organization as a whole. How can RPA help move the organization closer to its target? Define RPA’s scalability within the organization’s larger plans and offer timelines and predictions where possible. The more specific your metrics are, the better.

Provide a robust estimate of the whole-of-life costs of the investment and the financial benefits. It comes down to the bottom line. Decide if the cost of implementing RPA outweighs the money it saves through faster processing times, fewer downtimes, and smoother system operations. Scalability and time are huge factors to consider when calculating cost efficiency.

Outline the other non-financial benefits. RPA doesn’t just save money—although that’s a big part of it. While you’ll of course want to focus on financial benefits, don’t forget the other, less tangible benefits of RPA. This includes risk avoidance, revenue drivers, improved data quality, quality improvements, reduction in human error, and service to the customer.

RPA saves workers from the drudgery of repetitive, time-consuming tasks when their talents could be otherwise applied to more useful problem-solving or deeper customer interaction. Besides improved worker satisfaction, RPA also reduces the number of errors in a process. Think about it: humans are prone to error, especially when filing repetitive, menial tasks. But when set up correctly, an RPA will work quickly and accurately. Find specific ways in your industry where RPA can enhance work-life balance, improve customer experience, reduce error and risk, and scale your organization.

Describe the approach to be used, including timelines and resources. Incorporate a plan to develop, scale, and optimize your results. Measurable predictions will help you show exactly what RPA can do for your processes.

This isn’t just a shopping list of things you’ll need. This is where your strategy comes into full focus. Develop accurate, data-based estimates on how long RPA implementation will take and what resources will be required to successfully bring it into your systems. Think of it like a game plan in a football match: Every player needs a purpose on the field. Remove the excess systems currently in place and hone your strategy to find the best approach that will put your people, finances, and systems to the best use.

Summarize the inherent risks, including how they are likely to affect the RPA program and outline actions to mitigate them. Nothing comes without a bit of risk. That’s why it’s important to know what those risks might be and how you will respond to them. Understand the risks of using RPA in unstructured or unstable systems. If your current processes are poorly designed, this will make them difficult to scale. RPA needs preparation and expectations to be set if it’s going to be used to its full potential.

Many people under- or overestimate RPA’s uses, and that can lead to project abandonment, overspending, or underusing. Another problem could arise if you don’t define roles and responsibilities for RPA implementation. Make sure you have a plan for your training before getting started on your RPA journey.

Finally, check that your strategy has space for growth. When organizations begin scaling RPA across other business units, they may run into sustainability risks if they don’t utilize their bots or organize their automation requests thoroughly. It’s important to identify these potential risks upfront so you can build a sustainable and scalable RPA system in your organization.

RPA automates rules-based business processes using a digital workforce. It can enrich customer experience, unify your workforce, speed up processing times and reduce errors. RPA can bring your organization scalable, efficiency-driven results when implementing a solid, strategized RPA business case.

Other points to consider for your RPA program

Now that we’ve covered the seven elements of your RPA business case, it’s time to consider the more in-depth details of a thorough strategy, such as accurately calculating benefits, avoiding over-complication, and establishing a strong Center of Excellence (CoE).

Firstly, a CoE is a group of critical thinkers brought in from across the business whose mission is to implement best practices for their organization. They are critical for the successful deployment of RPA by encouraging buy-in, instilling best practices, and demonstrating tangible benefits to the organization.

Consider the cost of the RPA program versus the lifetime benefits that will be achieved—not just in year one but looking ahead to the future. If the process is required to run for five years, then you need to calculate the five-year benefit. Determine where, specifically, savings will be made.

Do not select the most complex processes to start your automation journey. As tempting and beneficial as it is to tackle these areas, since they are likely to be your pain points, choosing an overly complicated starting project will impact your speed of delivery and how long it will take to achieve a return on investment (ROI). First, you need to learn RPA with high-volume, low-complexity processes before moving into more complex processes. Once you’ve built a stable and scalable foundation with your RPA strategy, you can move into these other, more challenging areas.

If you are establishing your CoE from the beginning—which is strongly recommended, both for consistency and clear objectives and role creation—you must ensure you have a strong case. Is the amount of investment required conducive to the length of time and effort it will take to achieve ROI? Your RPA business case needs a manageable, achievable, and results-oriented goal.

Factor in other IT costs associated with implementing an RPA program. Among these, it’s important to consider:

  • Virtual environments
  • Application servers
  • IT support
  • Database servers

Finally, it is recommended your RPA business case outlines how you’ll track all associated benefits of the RPA program, and how you plan to communicate this progress to the investment sponsor.

Your RPA business case template

With your RPA business case made, you’ll soon have the potential of a more efficient workflow, with the ability to evolve and scale as your organization expands its use of intelligent automation.

Contact us to build your RPA business case.


About the Author

Alexis Veenendaal

Alexis Veenendaal is an Associate Content Writer and Editor at SS&C Blue Prism. She’ll tell you all the cool tips and tricks for implementing intelligent automation into your workplace. She has lived and worked internationally as a professional writer and designer for nearly a decade after graduating from the University of Lethbridge for English Literature. Her personal pursuits include authoring books and digital cartography.

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Next: Chapter 2

Why it’s Important to Establish an Attainable RPA Vision

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