The virtues of automation as a driving force for business efficiencyhas become one of the most commonly accepted tenets of corporate success. With businesses constantly trying to propel themselves to the next level, CXOs are expected to innovate and do more with less. Although Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provides the technology to transform business at scale, it is important to dive deep into building a business case for automation as well as understanding the considerations that need to be made when building the business case. Although the primary focus of the automation strategy should be to reduce cost and increase efficiency, the business case should focus on how RPA gives back time to the business that can be invested to achieve the desired business outcomes.

Incorporation of RPA into your business is the quickest means to giving your company an edge. In our other blog articles, we have discussed the areas in which RPA can be incorporated, the industries that are highly suited for automation and the benefits that drive RPA to be the best decision for any industry. But how can you be certain that automation will yield an ROI that makes sense for you? In this article, we will touch upon the expectations in terms of ROI and the various ways in which it can be analyzed.

While calculating Return on Investment (ROI), a majority of businesses use the payback period methodology. Under this method, they take the cost of the robot and then divide it by the monthly salary of the worker. However, one critical defect of using this methodology to calculate ROI is that you won’t be able to calculate the total value and impact that robot automation will have on your business.While it is true that an RPA implementation can bring between 20% to 50% cost savings, there is far more to measure than just the financial impact. Factors such as increased productivity, reducing overheads, increasing quality/consistency, minimizing rework, etc. all contribute to the ROI.

RPA has a quicker return on investment than traditional IT investment as the implementation of the robotics for individual processes can be achieved within weeks without impacting the existing IT infrastructure. Additionally, given that RPA has a relatively short payback period of around six to nine months, to recover the initial implementation investment, it offers a quick return on investment.

Listed below are the ways in which an organization can measure ROI post RPA implementation:

Financial Analysis

As the old saying goes, numbers don’t lie, and truly so the most important indicator of a successful RPA implementation is the direct savings as a result of implementing the bots. The financial analysis should look at reduction in operating costs post-implementation. For the financial impact to be calculated, the cost of implementation including software license fees, hardware, hosting charges, professional services cost, etc. needs to be considered.

Productivity

RPA brings in scalability because automation drastically cuts down the time it takes for a human to carry out repetitive tasks, organizations can claim a tremendous boost in productivity. In order to measure ROI, the most obvious step is to measure the length of time human workers spend on a task versus how quickly robots complete that same task. On the other hand, resources that were used for repetitive tasks can now be deployed to execute better-suited tasks such as planning and customer service. If implemented in the right manner, RPA can reduce the processing time and the number of people required to run the process for the same number of units produced without automation. Robots are also more productive, as they work non-stop and can be deployed 24/7 increasing the number of hours available to business.

Quality of output

Menial tasks, repetitive, mind-numbing work is prone to errors – and these errors can cost the company in millions. But when it comes to robotic automation, this aspect can be nullified to a great extent. If the programmer has installed the correct rules and decisions, companies can expect 100% accuracy in output because robots simply do not deviate from rules.

Cost of Maintenance

Apart from their obvious traits, many of which have been listed above, robots offer peace-of-mind because they can also be repurposed for a broad range of applications and often reprogrammed to suit ever-changing needs. Another factor to consider is that robot programming and maintenance costs are lower than training and maintaining staff to do an equivalent amount of work.

Velocity

When it comes to back office processes, RPA can promise improvements of between 20% and 100% in process speeds in comparison to its alternative, which can’t accurately be measured, due to inconsistencies in worker behavior. Tasks that would normally take hours can be done in minutes, error-free. Thus, obliterating time taken for corrections and reiterations.

Compliance

Robots can be programmed for compliance issues and will alert employees to adhere to rules, laws and regulations every time, so decisions can be made accurately. Industries such as Finance and banking require three points of validation and other in-house compliance rules. With RPA, that compliance can be built-in. The robots will not allow anything to pass a decision point unless specifically set compliance criteria are met, eliminating human error and saving the company financial setbacks caused by these errors.

If the RPA implementation is executed in the right manner, the level of customer satisfaction should increase as a result of reduced cycle time and fewer errors. The basic tenet is that post-implementation, the process should run faster, cheaper and more efficiently. While building the business case if the correct KPI are considered, it will help businesses make a better business case and get a head start on their automation journey.