Robotic Process Automation on a Budget

You may already know about the benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA): the time saved, the better user experience that helps you retain staff, the magic of computers doing the work that you always put off because you couldn’t bear to copy and paste between those two workbooks again.

Whether you are pursuing RPA as part of a strategic initiative or exploring the subject based on an offhand comment from someone on the executive team, you have started looking into how you can join the digital revolution and start achieving these benefits.

But…you’ve likely discovered a whole new meaning to the term “sticker shock” after investigating these and other potential costs:

  • RPA Infrastructure licensing costs: $50,000-$100,000 for “easy entry” packages
  • Developers’ salaries starting at $100,000
  • Integration tools and packages that range from expensive to very expensive

The numbers aren’t easy to digest. Just the initial investment in a digital transformation team of 2-3 full time employees can cost the organization $750,000-$1 million. Return on Investment models show an 18-month –two-year payback period, but this is still a major outlay of working capital. Many mid-market companies find it difficult to bite off a cash outlay of this size and then shelve the idea of an army of bots helping them run their daily processes.

There Is Another Way. Welcome to the World of Workforce Fractionalization.

In the world of technology, developers have long known that they cannot be experts in every programming language. As a result, they bring in specific resources on a temporary basis to execute a project. This practice is commonly known as fractionalization-- using fractional FTE’s to execute specific tasks or to bring key expertise for a limited time.

Your organization can use this approach to manage the level of investment so that it is in line with your risk tolerance and available working capital. By engaging a firm with such resources as Business Analysts, Developers, Solution Architects, and Technical System Experts, you can field a robust team at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent team of FTEs.

Fractionalization offers these and other benefits:

  • Resources are only deployed when necessary, minimizing costs so that you can plan development campaigns for a month or a quarter and manage the rate of change in the organization to the down times.
  • Teams can be scaled quickly, going from one developer to five or more in a matter of a few weeks, bypassing long hiring processes for permanent staff.
  • Development firms typically operate in a Center of Excellence (CoE) model that co-locates many developers who can knowledge share and work together to solve your issues.
  • Using a firm often gives you a consistent team, reducing the onboarding often experienced with independent contractors.
  • A quality firm uses development models and frameworks that feature robust and secure solutions, reducing your dependence on any particular individual.
  • These resources may have a wealth of experience and insight about automations that have been highly effective in other organizations.

This is not a perfect solution. You may encounter hiccups along the road. Your challenges may include preparing a pipeline of activities for the scheduled development windows or making sure the knowledge of how the bots work is transferred successfully into your organization.

But this path lets you enter the automation space with a significantly lower up-front capital investment and gives you the flexibility to be dynamic with your resources to adapt to changing market conditions and needs within the business. With the right partner firm, even these hiccups can be minimized as your provider is just as invested in your success as you are.

For information about how we can assist in your organization’s digital transformation and robotic process automation, contact us. We are here to help.

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