Five Common Myths About Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a disruptive technology that transforms the way companies do business. By automating rule-based, repetitive processes, companies achieve high return-on-investment through increased productivity, enhanced accuracy, and faster customer response times. Automation executes many unpleasant and tedious workload tasks while also improving employee satisfaction and retention rates.

RPA creates incredible opportunities for streamlining businesses of all sizes and industries. But there are some common misconceptions about what this technology can and cannot do. Let’s look at some common myths:

  1. RPA replaces or eliminates human workers.

RPA does not replace humans! Think of process automation as the opportunity to provide human workers with a digital assistant. Freeing up your talented staff to focus on generating ideas, contributing forward thinking solutions, and acting as leaders, mentors, and collaborators can propel your business toward new goals. Automation can also be more accurate and keep processes running 24/7, nights and weekends. Process automation is not designed to replace human workers, rather to enhance the role and value of human workers.

  1. It’s too expensive for SMBs.

RPA technology first emerged about 20 years ago. In its early stages, it was very costly for small to mid-sized businesses and mostly accessible by only the largest global companies. Today, 100% of Fortune 500 Companies have enterprise-scale automation programs. But the emergence of many competitors in the software market has driven down the price and expanded the availability of a variety of specialized software tools, many of which are uniquely created for SMBs. There is now an abundance of data, use cases, and lessons learned to empower SMBs to take advantage of process automation!

  1. It’s a plug-and-play magic wand.

Unfortunately, this is not true. Process automation requires a level of conscientious adoption, thoughtful implementation, and ongoing maintenance.  It is not a one-time download or plug-and-play solution. It requires strategic planning and energy, monitoring, and updating to maximize benefits in any organization. Despite these needs, it is still a great investment and can achieve dramatic ROI in a very short timeframe.

  1. Your office will be filled with robots.

Robotic Process Automation has nothing to do with “robots” as we imagine them from books and movies! It does not involve the type of physical, mechanical robotics at-work in manufacturing. Think of “robot” as a symbol that has been adopted for the technology as a whole. RPA is really just a customized piece of software configured to copy and mimic a sequence of human actions that are automatically performed on a computer with or without a prompt.

  1. RPA implementation is an easy DIY.

An effective process automation plan for your organization requires business consulting expertise, strategic planning, and careful governance. It is possible to launch RPA in your organization if your employees have the skillset to create their own automations as needed. But this becomes difficult to manage, optimize, and scale organization-wide. In addition, RPA software tools typically require knowledge and expertise from developers that specialize in automation.

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Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

benefits of robotic process automation (RPA)

If you’re thinking about ways to implement automation in your company, you’re not alone. A recent study entitled “The State and Fate of Small and Medium Business” conducted by Xerox with Morning Consult surveyed 1,200 business decision makers from companies with 25-1,000 employees in the US, Canada, and UK. The study indicated that digital transformation and automation have become top priorities in the post-pandemic world:

  • 80% of small and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders saw automating tasks and processes as important to their survival during the pandemic and moving forward.
  • 82% strongly emphasize the importance of digitizing paperwork.
  • Two-thirds plan on upgrading their automation tools.
  • Three out of four observed an increased reliance on workflow solutions over their pre-pandemic setups.
  • 65% have already upgraded their workflow solutions.


Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a software technology that mimics human actions for high volume, repetitive, rule-based tasks. It can achieve high levels of efficiency for these mundane and often boring tasks that are better suited to be handled by computers, freeing up humans to focus on creative, strategic, and innovative idea-making. It is important to think of RPA as a “digital assistant” that helps humans to be more efficient and focus their time on activities that require higher levels of cognition, empathy, and ingenuity. While RPA implementation is highly successful in many appropriate applications, it does not replace human workforces or populate your office with robots!

Since its inception and early introduction, RPA has experienced meteoric growth in the marketplace, supported by a significant body of highly successful use cases and measured, sustained, and demonstrable return-on-investment. It involves low/no-code programming and is relatively inexpensive and quick to implement and scale, generating ROI in a matter of months, not years. Because of its success with large businesses (100% of Fortune 500 Companies now have robust RPA programs) and the emergence of many competitive and highly versatile software platforms in the marketplace, it has reached an affordable, low-risk level of accessibility for small and medium-sized businesses who can truly begin to take advantage of its many benefits. The current job market and limited availability of staff combined with increasing demands on businesses to thrive in the digital space have accelerated our arrival at a “sweet spot” for RPA adoption.

To successfully begin implementing RPA in your organization, you must first create a strategic and thoughtful approach with some key considerations:

  • Do you have workflows and processes that can be successfully and cost-effectively automated?

RPA is optimal for processes that are high volume, repeatable, and rule-based. For example, if you run a report once a month and your staff member spends five minutes creating the report, this is most likely not a candidate for automation. However, if you generate dozens of reports daily and a staff member spends hours, not minutes, pushing buttons, selecting folders, and running and emailing these reports, automation might make sense.

  • Is your organization excited about digital transformation?

RPA adoption requires education, communication, cultural acceptance, and enthusiasm. It is important to build consensus and identify key leaders and stakeholders that will champion its usage as a part of your corporate culture. Your RPA team will need to include various roles including C-Suite supporters, I.T. staff and daily users that are excited and positive about change.

  • How will you scale up your RPA program in the future?

RPA is most successful when it is continually monitored, maintained, and scaled up. As you begin the journey, it is important to create a roadmap for future automations to maximize the full capabilities of your initial investment. Adding automations after implementation can be achieved at a much lower cost than the initial implementation and will magnify your return by achieving increasing levels of productivity and efficiency across your company.

  • Will you implement RPA using in-house I.T. resources or collaborate with a consultant?

Depending on your company’s in-house I.T. capabilities, you may choose to create an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) within your own company using in-house resources. This decision may be affected by availability of RPA expertise, existing workload of current staff, and desire to create long-term autonomy. An internal CoE can still benefit from expert, outside consultation from a Managed Service Provider in the initial building phase. If you choose to work with an outside provider for RPA, it is important to select a consultant that has solid experience, certified experts on-staff, and an established history of providing ongoing services to meet your needs for support as you move forward.

Back To Business I.T. and The Greentree Group have established expertise in providing RPA for a variety of clients. Our RPA Center of Excellence creates unique automation solutions for all levels of government, as well as private corporate applications in a wide range of sectors including finance, manufacturing, healthcare, and many others. Our philosophy begins with helping each client thoroughly understand the opportunities, risks, and potential benefits of any technology, and partnering with you to make informed decisions to grow your business. Interested in learning more about what RPA can do for your business?  Schedule a no-cost consultation here.

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