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RPA: How to Select, Prioritize & Measure Success

I’ve been in this business for a while, so it’s always interesting (and oftentimes amusing) to watch yesterday’s technologies grow up into today’s “next greatest thing.”  Sometimes it’s the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup effect, where chocolate and peanut butter are pretty good on their own, but sensational when mixed together.  Other times, it’s just a subtle evolution and hybridization of older tech that coalesces into the latest magic quadrant buster.

Take, for example, robotic process automation (RPA).  Looking back across its family tree, it’s hard to miss the ancestral connections to the graphical user interface test tools, as well as to simple screen scraping and more advanced workflow automation technology.  Add to these a sprinkling of artificial intelligence (AI), and eureka!  We’re now looking at a red-hot market for the buzziest new TLA (three letter acronym): RPA. 

Seriously, this is one of the examples of 1+1 actually equaling three.  Or maybe four!  We’re on board with the analyst’s bullish perspective on RPA.  For example, Global Market Insights projects the market to exceed $5B by 2024, and Grand View Research predicts 31.1% CAGR until 2025.

Companies like UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism have certainly capitalized on the convergence of available technology.  UiPath is the poster-child, reporting 5 months ago that it’d just raised $225M in a series C round, which made it worth a cool $3 billion!  To get there, the company went from $1M to $100M in annual recurring revenue in under 21 months and currently hires 6 new employees per day.  Who says unicorns aren’t real?

And the growth wouldn’t be there if not for a strong desire by enterprises to jump quickly and easily into automation by taking manual, repetitive software tasks away from human employees and assigning them to bots.  It’s the siren’s song for business transformation and Center of Excellence leaders: “with RPA I can save money while increasing quality and compliance!”  Why wouldn’t you jump right on it? 

I’m glad you asked.  iGrafx recently commissioned a primary research study to PEX Network, probably the single largest community of operational excellence professionals and transformation leaders.  We wanted the straight scoop, and we got it; feedback from dozens of subject matter experts across enterprises in dozens of industries and dozens of countries.  Many of the questions dealt with RPA and broader automation initiatives… How to select the right projects to automate, how to prioritize them, how to monitor and measure success, and more.

I encourage you to read my whitepaper summarizing the RPA feedback here.  I’d also be happy to touch base in real time if you have questions, comments or suggestions.  We’re all in this together, and it’s going to be a wild ride!

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