Blog | Mar 8, 2021

How to Select an RPA Vendor

RPA 101 blog post: How to select an RPA vendor

Top 6 Checklist: Find the right intelligent automation and technology provider

Selecting an RPA vendor for intelligent automation can be confusing as you consider the many options on the market. 

Do you need a platform to support integrations from third-party applications for best-of-breed document processing? Or natural language processing? Or would you prefer an all-in-one solution that reduces complications, but may not be able to meet more complex business needs? 

Many robotics process automation vendors offer entry-level versions of their platforms that allow you to learn how to perform basic automations, but will the platform enable you to grow into more complete solutions when your organization matures?

To complicate things further, there are several questions you’ll want to ask before choosing RPA software:

  • Will it run on the desktop or in a secure data center by itself?

  • Will it run in the cloud or on premise?

  • Will the business drive the implementation, or will IT be responsible for programming the solutions?

  • How secure is the platform?

  • Can the organization start small but then scale up as we mature?

  • How intelligent is the automation?

  • Are there pre-built connectors with our current systems to help us build complex solutions quickly?

  • How responsive is the RPA vendor if we need support or help with getting started?

Getting answers to all these questions will help you make an informed decision about which RPA vendor can help you build an intelligent automation program. 

Let’s take a deeper look at the six key considerations that make up your RPA vendor checklist.

1. Attended vs. Unattended Automation

Some solutions run on a desktop as an automation helper for the employee. This option offers the person at the desktop the ability to quickly run an automation script to reduce mundane tasks that people generally don’t like to do. These types of automation helpers are generally referred to as attended automation, as they work alongside the employee at their workstation. 

For example, an attended automation solution would allow a person to run a script and login to all their applications at the beginning of the day - or search for data across multiple websites or applications at the same time. This type of automation uses the person’s login credentials to quickly accomplish routine tasks to save time.

Other solutions are designed to run without requiring a person to initiate and monitor the automation while it operates. This option is generally referred to as unattended automation since people don’t have to be involved in the automation activities and they run somewhere other than the person’s desktop. 

Like human employees, each digital worker (or robot) is assigned their own workstation and credentials to log in to systems. Like human employees, these digital workers only have specific rights and privileges within each system. 

This permits detailed auditing of work done by robots and people separately. Any work done by a digital worker is certain to follow the process outlined for it, without any potential accidental intervention by a person. This also permits digital workers to process sensitive data without any concern for potential exposure to unauthorized viewers.

2. Cloud vs. On-Premise Infrastructure

Building a flexible automation program may require selecting one or more types of implementation to support the desired outcomes. 

For example, a bank managing large financial transactions may want to protect the automation environment by managing the platform behind their firewalls. Inside one of their secured data centers. However, that same bank may also want to automate interactions with their clients through a chat-bot or mobile application, requiring the automation platform to scale quickly to accommodate demand through a cloud deployment. 

In each case, the platform should be flexible enough to offer native capabilities to support both scenarios.

3. Business Driven vs. IT Led

RPA vendors can either engage business leaders directly with “no code required” solutions, allowing trained business users to build automations directly to support their functional areas, or leverage “low code” solutions that are driven through the IT department to develop automations. 

Empowering the business to quickly create solutions to address their individual processes can greatly speed up the adoption of the RPA solution and lead to big organizational benefits. While IT teams are more experienced with the change control and programming aspect of the systems, it’s important to work together with IT to understand the impacts of automation on current system loads plus the implications related to governing the automation program. 

Building a center of excellence that engages both business and IT teams provides an effective way of creating real value through automation.

4. Security and Scale for RPA and Intelligent Automation

Many RPA vendors offer the promise of quick and easy implementation for your automation program. While this may seem attractive, it’s possible that you may inadvertently open your organization up to additional risks. When reviewing RPA vendors, it’s important to understand how the platform protects the organization, while offering flexible and secure implementation for intelligent automation. Make sure the system provides an activity log to validate everything the robot is working on.

Securing the system is essential, but you’ll want a solution from an RPA vendor who can deliver both simplicity as well as scale. Successful automation programs grow quickly, so you’ll want to ensure that the RPA vendor you select offers the capability to grow quickly and support the ongoing needs of your business. Look for an RPA vendor with a track record of success scaling up their clients’ intelligent automation programs.

5. Intelligent Automation Across Technology

Building simple automation is something every RPA vendor can do, but how can you ensure that you’re getting the intelligent automation you want? The most reliable RPA vendors offer both built-in features, as well as a platform for connecting to the most popular, best-of-breed technology platforms. This allows you to start with less complicated automations, then build gradually using either the built-in solutions for document processing, front-office interactions, and contact-centers, or expand to connectors that offer limitless possibilities. 

Intelligent automation and hyperautomation expand the opportunity to interact with systems, using artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms that can be mixed and matched to provide solutions tailored to the business needs. This powerful flexibility to grow from modest automations to very complex and compelling solutions is the benefit of leveraging a mature RPA vendor.

6. Getting Help When You Need It

As you start your automation journey, make sure your RPA provider can support you with training and access to an active community of like-minded users and experts to help with questions about implementation, process designs, and automation operations. The most reputable RPA vendors will be available 24/7 for enterprise support, offering you peace of mind as you build your automation program. After all, it’s not enough for you to just invest in the software, you also need an RPA vendor that will invest in your success!


RPA 101 Series

This blog post is part 3 of a 5 part series. Check out the first two posts below and stay tuned for the next two!