“The use of RPA is the logical next step in the global markets. It is already being used in many industries. Companies are moving from offshore to onshore, optimizing costs and freeing up resources.”
“Robotic process automation enables companies to automate their processes with a quickly calculable ROI.”
– Management consultancy
Can you tell from this which target group is being addressed here?
According to ITIL, a business service request is made by a user to IT in order to obtain information, a change or access to a system. The direction of this process is clear: the business identifies a function that is not currently covered by an IT system and responds with a request. In the case of RPA, however, this process is undermined. Common marketing campaigns suggest that the involvement of IT is not necessary due to the simplicity of RPA. Service providers for RPA projects are often commissioned directly by the business.
This creates a major problem for planning and controlling the IT landscape:
These minimally invasive interventions in the systems – even if it is only the GUI – can have a major impact on further landscape planning! For example, investment decisions for upgrades to software systems are influenced by the customization costs of the bots. The definition of application lifecycles can also be affected. Another very important example is compliance.
This brings me to a small digression:
A renowned consultancy recently advised a client to automate a finance process using RPA. The framework in which this decision was (almost) made consisted only of members of the business. They had no insight into the landscape planning or any idea of the impact on compliance.
After asking the company architect in charge, he then pricked up his ears:
“The data concerned is subject to strict compliance guidelines!”
“The intervention by an RPA system means indirect use and must be licensed separately!”
“It may even undermine the authorization concept!”
The objections clearly show that without the involvement of IT, the supposed benefits of RPA can quickly turn negative.
Hence my advice:
Software systems – even if they can be implemented ad hoc – should be treated as such. The standard process in the company should also be adhered to for RPA in order to ensure a correct procedure.