For starters, RPA or Robotic Process Automation is the technology that uses a robot or computer software to emulate a certain set of actions that a human will perform in order to execute a business process.
RPA robots interpret, communicate, and trigger responses with other systems in a similar way as humans do. Even better: an RPA robot doesn’t sleep, makes no mistakes, and costs a lot less than an employee.
This is the reason perhaps why organizations which utilize RPA effectively are able to witness a 40 percent reduction in average handling time, and around 80 percent reduction in processing costs.
This pretty much explains as to why enterprise RPA market is on a steady rise. According to the estimates, the enterprise RPA market is growing readily at a CAGR of 65% from nascent in 2016 to $3 billion in 2021. Forrester predicts that there will be more than 4 million robots taking care of office and administrative work along with sales and related tasks by 2021.
As more and more companies are openly embracing the idea of employing RPA, the biggest challenge is the total cost of ownership, TCO. Lowering the TCO will justify the ROI to a large extent. However, this is one task which is better said than done. Why? This is because TCO is entirely dependent on the software and hardware costs of RPA projects. The software costs include the costs of the operating system, bots license, virtual machines, and the likes. On the same line, the hardware costs include the costs of machines, server, database, and similar things.
Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership of RPA Implementation
Although TCO of RPA implementation is highly dependent on hardware and software costs, these are not the only determining factors. Other aspects that play an important role include:
- Cost of automation development
Undoubtedly, you will like your RPA solution to integrate as flawlessly with your existing infrastructure and organizational resources as possible. However, certain RPA solutions could involve complex system integration and need separate resources for execution. This adds to their cost.
- Cost of change
Ideally, your RPA solution must be easy to scale and customize as per the need. This ensures that any changes to your underlying systems and upgrades will not require complicated rework at your end, and automation will work just fine. However, there are events when this is not the case, and you have to spend an additional amount in configuring your RPA solution as per the recent changes in the requirements.
- Cost of management
Cost of management is yet another cost which often adds to the total cost of ownership. Undoubtedly, you need to manage your RPA implementation as you would manage your human workforce. You need to hire the required professionals who help in managing RPA and this can could further make the entire process costly.
[Also Read: Selecting The Right RPA Tool, Doing It Right The First Time ]
Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership of RPA Implementation
Thankfully, there is little that you can do to reduce the total cost of ownership of RCA deployments to ensure a better ROI:
- Multi-threading for data processing
If you are a data-intensive organization and if the majority of your data lies in spreadsheets and different databases, multi-threading data processing could prove to be highly advantageous to you.
It is necessary to ensure that your RPA tool makes use of multi-threading for data processing and this could reduce the turnaround time significantly by making data processing 10 to 1000 times faster. Faster processing not only helps an RPA to complete a job faster but it also boosts its productivity by allowing it to accomplish more tasks within the assigned framework.
- Parallel workflow execution on one RPA bot
Organizations can make their RPA bots work on two or more workflows simultaneously by making use of multiple operating system threads. Since there are various workflows that can effectively run in the background, this can be easily achieved. SAP automation workflow and bank reconciliation workflow, for instance, can run parallel. Such a process can bring down the TCO involved drastically. This is because in such a process a single RPA bot is capable of handling various tasks, thus reducing the number of RPA bot licenses required, and thus bringing the costs down.
- Running multiple RPA bots on the same virtual machine
One easy way to save money on operating system and hardware licenses is by running multiple RPA bots on the same virtual machine. In an ideal solution, 6 to 8 bots can easily run on a single virtual machine, thus reducing the overall costs.
The Wrap Up
Contrary to a popular belief, organizations do not need to introduce hefty changes to their IT infrastructure to accommodate RPA in their workflow. Perhaps, one of the best parts of RPA is that it can work with your existing infrastructure and enhance its capabilities effortlessly. Overall, RPA bots work in the system in the same way as a human user does. Organizations can work on integrating RPA bots with their existing infrastructure and work in advance to remove any probable roadblocks and ensure successful rollouts.
Lowering the overall TCO can boost your ROI significantly. Simply follow the tips mentioned above, and reduce the costs related to hardware, bot licenses, and operating system drastically.