According to our latest report with Teknowlogy, 38% of UK organizations expect to have automated more than 20% of their processes within the next five years. Quite the bold statement of intent from UK business leaders. But, having intent and delivering it are two wholly different things. No one is doubting that this is the correct move for efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, success. But as with any technology deployment, there will be challenges along the way for businesses to overcome.
We believe that SaaS can make this journey to scale a little bit easier. Helping it to feel less like training for an iron man and more like a palatable 5k evening run. With that in mind, let’s break down how SaaS can help overcome the technological challenges involved with scaling automation.
The progression to scaling initiatives brings with it fresh challenges. By now, businesses understand the essential nature of automation, but the question for many is how do they move from experimentation to transformation? When asked, the 100 automation leaders interviewed in our report with Teknowlogy identified some key technological challenges: bot lifecycle management (31%), software licensing and virtualization costs (26%) and low bot utilization levels (24%).
If these are the key challenges raised, how does SaaS help address them?
The challenges with lifecycle management often only become clear to business leaders months, or years into their automation deployments. Perhaps naively, people on both sides of projects don’t always see the huge complexity jump between building, testing and launching a single process within an organization to launching 50 or 100 processes. And, that’s not to mention the added problems when a process spans multiple disconnected systems and applications across a business.
During early modelling of an automation most companies start out with a PDD, or Process Definition Document. This essentially guides the project lead through every step of a process, down to the last click. This approach has given all the required information to teach a few digital workers how to execute a select few processes. However, as mentioned above, this approach doesn’t really scale and down the road that once precious document will probably no longer be fit for purpose (a topic spoken about here by our CTO, Danny Major)
The Thoughtonomy SaaS Intelligent Automation platform helps overcome this by having a centralized point to manage the automation lifecycle. The Automation Lifecycle Management Initiative provides a collaboration tool so that everyone from business analysts to automation designers, can collaborate on how automations are built, tested and launched.
Software Licensing and Virtualization Costs
The deployment of RPA or Intelligent Automation usually follows a standard flow. The purchase of a number of ‘bot’ software licenses and then their virtualization to run on a number of computers, or servers. From there, you build out many sets of ‘bots’ across many different servers and computers to complete the work that you require. This familiar sounding approach seems like the sensible approach for most deployments.
The challenge that the 26% of business leaders interviewed find is that while at first this cost may not be large, it can explode as the move between 5 and 50 ‘bots’ happens. In part this is because people haven’t taken into account the cost of virtualization of every license on a machine and that often these ‘bot’ licenses are not necessarily the complete package. So, not only do you need to worry about the virtualization but all the extra licensing you need to look after.
It’s easy to see here why SaaS comes into a league of its own by encapsulating the cost of licenses, virtualization and all the other not so added extras needed for automation under one roof. It provides a single platform with a single expected cost and no faff with managing hundreds of licenses. You can avoid someone in accounts dropping an email to you that another invoice is due and you are not just confused by what license it is, but also whether you budgeted for that.
Low Bot Utilization Rates
‘We’ve deployed 300 bots’ you hear from an automation lead. Spoken about as if it’s a badge of honour. But, what does having so many bots actually say? Usually, it says they aren’t being used effectively. They are either tied to one process, or only run at one time of day. This is tantamount to the way many human teams work. All that has been achieved by deploying bots in this way is the replication of inefficiencies of the human office. It is probably no wonder that 24% of business leaders have become frustrated with the challenge of low bot utilization.
So, how does SaaS help here? The nature of SaaS deployment means that ‘bots’ are not deployed per process, but instead are deployed in the cloud so that they’re accessible across departments. By approaching it in this way, ‘bots’ can be used beyond one single process and deliver increased value. On top of that, an orchestration layer means that utilization rates can be topped out so that no ‘bot’ can sit idle – it can move from working on a process in finance to one in HR in an instant — for peak efficiency for your business and maximum ROI.
Interested in finding out more about the challenges associated with scaling automation? Grab a copy of our report with Teknowlogy here.