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Automation Journey

Chapter 4

RPA Challenges: Overcoming Barriers to Intelligent Automation Adoption

Implementing an intelligent automation program takes hard work and dedication from business leaders. Fortunately, the time and effort pay off with benefits spanning across business operations—from cost savings and efficiency to customer and employee satisfaction. It’s about complete organizational transformation – not just in one place or one process, but through your entire enterprise.

To help you realize the transformational features and benefits of automation right away, we’re addressing the most common challenges with robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation adoption and giving you the solution for successful implementations now.

With these processing solutions, you’ll be able to navigate the early days with ease, learning from organizations whose intelligent automation programs were welcomed with open arms across all of their departments.

RPA uses software robots or ‘bots’ to automate repetitive, manual tasks, freeing employees to do higher-value work. RPA is a branch of intelligent automation (IA), along with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Intelligent automation is a low-maintenance, value-driving program that clears bottlenecks and operational issues, spanning workflows to achieve a full digital transformation. And with SS&C | Blue Prism Cloud platform, it’s even easier to connect entire workflows with automation.

Lack of skilled resources, poor change management, lack of ownership from IT and the wider business unit, ill-defined success criteria and infrastructure issues can all lead to automation failure even before the implementation phase. That’s why a strategic and empathetic approach is essential.

Overcoming Barriers Image

Let’s dig in: What are the biggest challenges in the IA and RPA implementation process? It may or may not surprise you to find out technology is rarely the problem. Rather, it’s us – humans – who pose the greatest opposition!

Some people worry IA programs will take over jobs, that the technology will disappoint, that the key resources required cannot be met — and these unknowns can lower morale.

But there’s good news too. With the right cases, strategy and stories, you can overcome the barriers to implementing robotic process automation and intelligent automation. We’ll help you find the keys to your automation success.

Cultural adoption is at the core of most solutions, so let’s look at specific tried-and-true tactics that have proven successful for other businesses.

IA & RPA Challenge #1: Employee Resistance to a New Intelligent Automation Initiative

Not every employee will be on board from the start, whether they’re well versed in IA and robotic process automation or brand new to it. And a lot of that comes down to a lack of understanding or unclear responsibilities. For the novice still wondering, “what’s the main purpose of intelligent process automation?”, education is best.

From education programs and internal educational videos to roadshows and robotic process automation days set aside for learning, the more chances your people get to discuss business benefits and ask questions, the faster adoption will spread, and your organization will start seeing innovative, transformational results of automation.

Events like these help the tech-savvy as well. Opportunities to brainstorm and workshop solutions to increase efficiency will elevate the excitement and settle skepticism among IT leaders, who, ironically, often push back the hardest. Partly it’s because they worry all the maintenance responsibility will fall on them or that digital workers will take over their job. Another worry is that implementing IA with the current legacy infrastructure issues will be insurmountable and even crippling.

So, how can you get your IT team to support intelligent automation adoption?

The first thing you need to do is listen. Just as you would with any major change, let your people feel heard by showing appreciation for their opinions and validating their concerns.

Explain how IA and RPA can actually empower your team. Remove technical ambiguity by explaining what’s involved in the automation process and what IA and RPA do. IA deploys digital workers to perform repetitive tasks so people can be refocused to work on more interesting and complex tasks requiring human intervention. These digital workers are available 24/7, making business systems and workflows more efficient while eliminating the need for manual processing, which can be error-prone.

Then provide an example process to demonstrate IA’s trustworthiness and potential. With proven success stories, those who are worried will quickly see the advantage of digital workers accomplishing something in months versus two to three years of human effort.

Statistics and data can help alleviate concerns across the IT team as well, especially when the company’s vision is at the heart of your explanation:

  • Focused on user experiences? Share poll results showing positive feedback and higher customer satisfaction ratings.
  • Determined to stay competitive? Display before and after time-to-market averages for new offerings.
  • Looking to scale? Compare the implementation cost of a human team versus the automation costs of one digital worker whose process is reusable.

With effective listening, communication and education, you’ll develop a dedicated team of people ready to take on new and innovative approaches to automation across your organization.

Find out how you can use SS&C Blue Prism to achieve transformational results.

IA & RPA Challenge #2: Employees Feel the Intelligent Automation Initiative is Forced or They Lack Excitement

Your crucial task is to make people feel like they’re part of the journey, not alienated by it. And the solution starts at the C-level. Executive sponsorship from senior leadership directly correlates to successful implementations of your automation strategies, so you’ll need to develop a convincing business case to get leader buy-in.

In short: leadership, leadership, leadership.

As for the excitement? Opportunities for fun abound!

  • Hold a naming competition for your new digital workers and get creative.
  • Design a look for each worker and establish a proper team structure to get everyone connected and involved.
  • Highlight their personas by having them post on social media.
  • Celebrate their birthdays, work anniversaries, and other major work accomplishments.

Once employees have gotten to know their digital teammates, invite them to come up with other ways in which they can improve everyday administrative tasks. Use cases from other businesses who have utilized IA and RPA are unlimited, and the more innovatively employees think, the better.

You can also work with your team members to decide how they will use the time returned to them, from customer services to strategic analysis.

IA & RPA Challenge #3: The Technology Won’t Deliver

Doubt and disappointment could be other major challenges to overcome. Prevention is best, which can be done by demonstrating the effectiveness and ensuring there are no unclear expectations from the start.

Not only do you need to discuss what return on investment (ROI) will look like at the beginning of your journey, but you’ll also need to maintain expectations as you scale. Employ proper planning with a proven implementations methodology, also called a robotic operating model (ROM) and check out our step-by-step automation guide with SS&C | Blue Prism® Robotic Operating Model 2 (ROM™2).

Often, people don’t need to see the full plan, but just knowing it exists may quell their concerns.

You can also avoid disappointment by automating the right business processes. Not every process is ideal for automation, so you should include  process analysis, which utilizes process mining and task mining to identify the best processes for automation, in your planning.


  • Automate processes that are already strong; automating broken processes won’t fix what’s wrong with them.
  • Align decisions with business objectives.
  • Share a timeline for evaluation and improvement.

The greatest benefits are realized by businesses a few years after the program’s start, so wait on any major decision-making process or changes until after the first couple of years.

IA & RPA Challenge #4: Robots Will Steal Human Jobs

Many employees perceive an intelligent automation program as a threat to their job. But are RPA or IA taking over human jobs? In short, no. Digital workers don’t replace professionals – they free them from boring work.

In fact, they often create new and exciting job opportunities. So, how do you eliminate worries about the impact of IA and RPA on employment?

Simply put, hire from within. Many businesses have had outstanding success with this. First, ask who’s interested. People who want to learn something new, are teachable or who demonstrate strategic thinking can be great assets to your intelligence team.

And while a strong background in technology is great, it’s not required. In fact, non-technical employees can be reskilled to become product specialists or citizen developers – with a certification to boot.

Additionally, hiring and training from within your organization addresses the concerns about the resource-intensive nature of an intelligent automation project.

IA & RPA Challenge #5: Employee Morale is Low or Decreasing

If you’ve done all of the above but you’re still struggling with cultural adoption, consider these top tips to achieving intelligent automation adoption:

  • Always connect any argument for IA back to your organization’s vision.
  • Consider your audience when advocating for your IA initiative. If the benefit you’re highlighting is fewer overtime hours worked, the C-level will want to see quantitative data about costs savings. Elsewhere in the business, qualitative improvements are likely more appealing, such as clocking out to enjoy time with friends and family. Fortunately for all parties involved, digital workers love workings late nights, long weekends and holidays!
  • Share heartwarming stories. Showcasing  successful adoption stories  helps, and the more touching they are, the greater the business impact they’ll have. From faster COVID-19 response to doctors spending more time with patients, there’s a story for everyone.


Are there any barriers to using intelligent automation? Yes. But with this guide you can overcome them or better yet, avoid them entirely.

  • Fear: Provide various forms of education and data-driven statistics.
  • Employee alienation: Involve employees in the process even before the implementation phase and keep them informed throughout.
  • Bolstering excitement: Incorporate creative ways to humanize your digital workforce that includes employee participation.
  • Disappointment: Set realistic expectations and goals; have a clear plan.
  • Job takeover: Hire from within.
  • Low morale: Tap into people’s emotions with success stories and personal goals.


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 5

Executing an Intelligent Automation Strategy at Scale with a Proven Operating Methodology

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