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Chapter 3

How to Calculate RPA ROI

Most organizations are looking for more ways to minimize waste while increasing productivity. Yours probably wants the same and enterprise-wide system automation may be the solution. But if you're going to invest energy and resources into automation, you must first know if it’s worth it by determining your return on investment (ROI).

With SS&C Blue Prism’s ROI calculator, you can calculate whether your organization is harvesting the full benefits of robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation (IA).

In these trying economic times, organizations should focus on reducing operating costs without sacrificing customer service. Knowing your automation ROI is a crucial step in growing your business processes and achieving the best possible results.

It's also good to know which technologies are best suited to your needs. IA is the orchestration of RPA and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. This includes machine learning (ML) and natural language processing. These AI technologies work in concession to produce smarter, scalable and more efficient processes for your organization – all while keeping costs lower.

Done correctly, IA should deliver high ROI, which can be summarized in a cost-to-benefit analysis. Using an ROI calculator, you can determine if you’re utilizing the full tangible and intangible benefits of automation.

Migrating to better ROI

RPA uses digital workers, or RPA ‘bots’, to automate repetitive, rule-based tasks. This reduces those areas prone to human error. IA utilizes RPA solutions alongside AI technologies to gather intel and make predictions on valuable opportunities within systems.

According to Market Research Future (MRF), the global intelligent automation market was an estimated $2 billion in 2019 and is expected to expand in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 40%, with the market size reaching about $8 billion.

Most organizations are investing in RPA for simple automation tasks with minimal scalability. But many of those looking to increase their ROI are migrating into other IA systems.

ROI Calculation in RPA and IA

You should consider several factors when calculating the cost of RPA or IA. Cost of ownership includes the cost of implementing, maintaining and attending IA.

  • Implementing: all costs in preparing, installing, configuring and deploying IA solutions. This includes software and hardware costs, cloud or hybrid solutions, restructuring, IT governance, data, software and the introduction of new roles and responsibilities. A Center of Excellence (CoE) plays a vital role in maintaining governance. Your CoE finds development opportunities throughout your automation journey.
  • Maintaining: any infrastructure of software or hardware, including maintenance and upgrades, but also licenses and labor. Maintenance costs are any continuous or repeating costs in sustaining automation systems.
  • Attending: any initial or one-off costs related to monitoring, training or moving into a new IA system. Attending costs can come up in reporting, IA suggestions, staff training and switching to new technologies.

Your costs depend on the extent of the AI technologies used. They can also vary depending on where your organization sits on the automation maturity track. But we’ll get more into that later.

Knowing the benefits of automation

It all comes down to what automation can do for your organization. Ask if it’s worth the time and cost to implement. RPA saves on costs by reducing errors and employee workload. IA drives this further by analyzing processes with predictive behavior.

Automation can do a lot for your organization. But if you want to realize its full value, you need to track those key performance metrics for how to calculate the ROI for your RPA project.

Reducing operating costs

You’ll need to compare the cost of implementing and managing RPA and IA, versus the cost of staying with your current processes. IA can cut business process costs by lowering overhead and minimizing risk or poor management.

IA acts as an interface, maintaining consistent and accurate communication between systems. It reduces the need for expensive IT infrastructure or outsourcing. It also increases capacity by improving workflow and identifying weaknesses in system processes. This allows your organization to design solutions suitable to your goals.

Increasing revenue

ROI’s not just about the cost. It’s about revenue leakage and growth potential.

IA increases revenue in several ways. In a customer experience (CX) reliant business, IA eases customer interaction with faster response times. It can even target new customers using trend-predictive marketing. Plus, IA reduces revenue leakage by providing accurate, on-time payment processing.

Unifying your workforce

Some RPA benefits are less tangible and more experiential. Examples of non-tangible benefits are customer and employee satisfaction. RPA bots work faster than people to cover menial tasks. This allows employees to focus on more interesting, value-driven work. It connects and empowers them to seek unique solutions for the business.

Speed and scalability

For a system to offer considerable ROI, it needs to show time saved and an ability to scale. It should work across the business to cut down labor-intensive tasks.

When implemented strategically, IA’s flexible working model facilitates organization-wide scalability. It allows for easier application of new processes based on a standardized set of rules. You can schedule, repurpose and reassign processes where they’re needed.

Quality and value realization

Your output quality is imperative, and IA can help earn consistent value realization. It improves transaction accuracy and standardizes work while gathering analytics to highlight other spaces for growth.

Improved customer experience

Without a good CX, you’ll have a tough time growing your business. Your external mark inevitably influences your bottom line. With IA, you can use customer data to anticipate customer needs. And with IA’s ability to reduce errors and monitor predictive behavior, customers get better service with fewer mistakes made.


If your organization has an automation mindset, you’ll continuously look at how IA can rework existing systems and improve processes. IA empowers you to innovate and takes your ROI to the next level.

Maximizing ROI

Strategic RPA implementation can earn you quick scalability. But a lack of preparedness can cost you more time and money and reduce the benefits of automation. Luckily, there are a few ways you can ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Automating the right processes

First, you need to determine the right processes to automate. Those are the ones with the highest potential impact. To achieve the best ROI of RPA, you’ll need to identify, assess and prioritize.

Identify Processes

Find where in your organization processes are frequent, take manual effort, are repetitive, could use better standardization and so on.

Process mining and task mining are useful tools for monitoring these key performance indicators (KPIs).

Process mining uses data-driven analysis software to expose missed automation opportunities. It helps you build a roadmap for scalable RPA integration. Task mining similarly examines processes but focuses on the smaller components. Using this, organizations can identify the steps needed to perform a task and recognize the variations between users.

Assess for Automation

Understand the complexity and scope of automation, including the cost and potential benefits. Your assessment should determine a value score. Your value score will tell you which processes to prioritize for an optimized RPA return on investment.

Prioritize Automations

Establish a ranking based on the value of importance. This lets you dig into the details of your alignment. Your operating model should consider core capabilities, scalability, consistency, data quality, performance, accuracy, governance and increased customer and employee satisfaction.


You’ll need to determine what level of automation your organization needs. RPA is best suited to transactional automation and manual, rule-based task management. RPA tends to have faster integration than most other automation technologies because its cost is typically lower.

If you need to automate complex, unstructured or non-standard data and you don’t have the processing power to achieve that, IA and other learning technologies may be a better resource.

The SS&C | Blue Prism® Robotic Operating Model 2 (ROM™2) is a useful tool for finding your organization’s automation maturity level and developing a customized approach to your automation. ROM2 helps you strategically design a scalable RPA or IA deployment.

To reach your ROI goals, it ultimately comes down to timing and approach.


An essential step to organization-wide robotic process automation ROI is managing what you’ve put in place. Effective management of your RPA or IA implementation ensures your ROI goals come to fruition.

Designate specific duties, such as a CoE, to ensure you reach your automation targets. By extension, you’ll want an RPA deployment schedule to help your IT teams prepare and adapt.

Establish a roadmap to your approach. Outline which business processes to automate, any measurable criteria, your expected investment of time, required resources and money and any expected growth predictions.

Think about your automation maturity level and how you’d like to scale your RPA. Your roadmap should be a detailed guide of costs and benefits.

SS&C Blue Prism’s RPA ROI Calculator

You’ll need to determine whether RPA or the more extensive IA is what’s right for your organization’s ROI goals. Achieving the best ROI is all about having a strategy for reducing operational costs and improving speed and scalability.


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 4

RPA Challenges: Overcoming Barriers to Intelligent Automation Adoption

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