5 Common Robotic Process Automation Objections and How to Handle Them
Constructive criticism is probably the most important lesson we must learn in order to deal with a world where everybody is entitled to their own idea. We know that nobody’s perfect, right? And that we could get better by listening carefully to what others believe we are not doing quite right. This is why we will consider some of the most prominent robotic process automation objections, and see how they could be addressed. Let’s try to understand what grounds them, and get over the potential misunderstandings by making things clearer.
Robotic process automation is essentially an occasion to get rid of repetitive, tedious, mundane tasks that, however, make the world go round. Nowadays, not only the tasks that occupied a great deal of human employees time (e.g., payroll running, manual data entry, file transferring) but also enterprise applications and system-specific tasks are automatable.
CIOs are the nucleus of change towards full-fledged automation; at no point should you forget that CIOs contribution is crucial for appropriate RPA implementation. They are also the ones who can leverage the opportunity to foster collaboration between IT and business departments of a company, in the process of RPA implementation. Companies can evolve by CIOs’ contribution to automate end-to-end processes, by discarding monotonicity (and thus reduced productivity) across the board, from back-office functions to customer service.
Perhaps because it deeply affects the workings of a company, misconceptions about RPA are not infrequent. CIOs themselves, as well as other high position decision makers in a company may object to particular aspects, and to the ways automation lives up (or not) to their expectations. Let’s evaluate some potential objections in order to see how they could be addressed.
Potential robotic process automation objections
1. “Robots will steal our jobs!”
Just like in the times of the industrial revolution, fears of automata displacing humans is understandable to some extent. Sci-Fi scenarios where humans simply can’t find their place anymore in a world where machines can do everything on their own aren’t anything new or peculiar to our times. Whenever something new, not quite understood appears on the horizon, it makes sense, evolutionarily speaking, to be afraid.
How to handle: In the first place, CIOs should acknowledge that RPA is indeed likely to bring about a significant change in the workforce landscape. But second and most importantly, they need to specify what this change actually means. Just like in the 18th century, the new technology would be useless if it weren’t for the “driving force” of human skilled labour. The change that many worry about means that human employees will be displaced only from the tedious, repetitive tasks that everybody dreads, in fact.
What’s left then? Well, use of judgement to supervise and guide the fast and flawless bots’ performance. And use of creative resources to engage in the kind of human-to-human communication required by customer service.
2. Too much hassle for too much uncertainty regarding payback
This objection basically amounts to the worry that the expenses (think both financial and intellectual) will outweigh the benefits. Although it is doubtlessly true that many acknowledge the gains of automation, many also perceive the RPA implementation process as tremendously complicated. And the consequence is thinking along the lines of “Why do it anyway, since things work just fine now?”
How to handle: Effectiveness of automation should be understood beyond cost reduction and fast payback. Cost reduction is an undeniable fact, given software robots’ capacity to perform error-free activities much faster than humans could. It is also true that the human employees could be engaged in much more valuable tasks which would greatly increase their sense of personal value, and, consequently, their motivation and job performance.
But you should definitely not forget to count improved compliance, or augmented product quality, when evaluating the benefits. A broader perspective is necessary for exhaustive and more correct outcome assessment. The bottom line is that the notion of “payback” should have a more comprehensive interpretation than strictly financial.
3. Technological overload
Many are afraid of the IT-specific invasive technicalities that RPA brings into the enterprise picture. The nightmare of never-ending complex codes that no one but the geeks in the IT department can understand, can haunt business specialists. “How could we ever handle properly something that’s as difficult as the small end of a hard boiled egg?”
How to handle: The first piece of advice here is to break the spell of this myth! “Why so simple?!” Because it’s only ‘from a distance’ that things look so complicated. But as a matter of fact, automation only requires to break down a specific process (wisely chosen) into sub-components, and then to ask an expert developer (yes, you definitely need IT experts in the process!) to translate it into code.
Robotic process automation is not actually invasive, in the sense that it doesn’t require inter-system integrations. More, because of its scalability, it demands updates only when the system processing environment itself updates. Further along the way, it helps to distinguish a delivery from an execution team. The former is composed of coders and other members of the IT team. The latter are business users who take over the software robots upon delivery by the former. They are supposed to supervise the robot, making sure that it does what it’s expected to do, and bring it back on track in case it goes astray.