Why ROI Matters in RPA
The Institute for RPA estimates that RPA solutions can deliver an immediate savings of 25% to 40% in labor costs alone. Additionally, McKinsey Digital has found that automating business processes with RPA can result in an ROI of between 30 and 200 percent in the first year.
ROI, or “Return on Investment,” is a project’s expected return in percentage terms. ROI is a critical tool for measuring the impact of your RPA investment with real data. With an understanding of your RPA initiative’s ROI, you can:
- Justify the initial investment to business leaders with data-driven evidence
- Make strategic decisions about the technology during planning
- Plan and build support for subsequent investments like expanding your RPA solution
- Improve and scale your RPA solution more effectively for better results
- Feel confident that your solution is performing at its highest potential and delivering optimal value to your company
As a result, it’s essential to understand that ROI isn’t just a final step to check off your list at the end of your RPA journey. You want a successful RPA implementation that delivers continual returns over time. But to make this happen, you must make ROI a key focus during planning, implementation, and governance.
3 Phases of ROI for RPA
The process of tracking one’s ROI for RPA as a benchmark consists of three distinct phases, each with major considerations and ROI-boosting opportunities of its own:
This is the planning phase. It’s never too early to begin considering ROI. Establish a baseline that captures where your processes are now, pre-automation. This will be useful when you want to measure ROI down the road. Doing so will be critical in helping you make the best decisions regarding your RPA program’s direction. But it can also be valuable in the present. Having this objective snapshot into your reality helps to ensure you’re attending to the right processes in the first place.
To get you started, here are a few starting points to capture your current reality.
- Customer Satisfaction
- Labor Costs
- Time Metrics (ex: how long it takes to complete a process)
It’s also important to study the details of your current processes and leave no stone unturned because there can be different indicators that go into analyzing ROI from one process to another.
Don’t wait to start collecting your ROI RPA data. As soon as your implementation is off the ground running, begin measuring and examining data relating to your automated processes. Such data may include changes in customer satisfaction, rate of errors, time saved, among others depending on the processes in question. Whether you’re noticing improvements in these changes or finding areas that are lagging, being proactively aware of these matters will help you make necessary adjustments to ultimately see better ROI.
Know that even after your implementation period has ended, there’s always room for improvement. After all, RPA should not be a one-time investment. Reinvesting in your solution with continual process improvement is key to long-term success in your organization’s RPA strategy and broader digital transformation.
RPA Center of Excellence
Another way to maximize your RPA ROI is to assemble a dedicated team of internal professionals that will work to monitor it. Organizations should create an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE), or a team that helps manage your RPA system to optimize returns and remain competitive. Your CoE will play a vital role throughout all three phases of ROI. Members should be well acquainted with your organization’s broader vision for digital transformation. This will ensure that your RPA implementation remains aligned with these goals from start to finish.
Within an ongoing RPA initiative, the CoE should aim to build a culture of continual improvement within the processes that have already been automated. The CoE should pay close attention to the solution’s costs and benefits and make adjustments accordingly to improve results further. It should also work to inform use cases for expanding your solution to other processes. One RPA investment’s success can help you identify other processes that may see similar levels of success.
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