Five ways to measure the value RPA has to offer
In theory, return on investment (ROI) should be an easy metric to work out. If you hire an employee for X salary and they bring in Y revenue, then figuring out whether they were a financially smart hire is pretty straightforward. A strong ROI is one of the big selling points for RPA, also known as Robotic Process Automation. These software bot tools can help automate many time-consuming, repetitive tasks in the workplace.
But how exactly do you work out return on investment when it comes to RPA bots? Whether you’re trying to reduce unnecessary spend, win over skeptical stakeholders, or both, it’s essential to ascertain what RPA solutions will offer in terms of return on investment. And, preferably, to do it before you consider installing and deploying them.
The short answer: It’s a more complicated answer than you might think – but that is because there’s a whole lot that RPA has to offer when it comes to making good on your spend.
Here are five ways you can measure the return on investment RPA has to offer:
This is the ROI metric we mentioned above. It’s also probably the one most businesses will name when it comes to their reasons for adopting RPA. Look at the salaries of the people who were previously carrying out certain tasks you can now automate, and the number of hours they typically spent doing these chores. If an RPA solution is cheaper than the cost of paying these salaries, and other associated costs like recruitment and training, RPA bots may well be a solid investment for you.
Automation can speed up the rate at which tasks can be done – and this forms an important part of the ROI picture. It’s one thing to compare the base costs of human employees versus machines on a monthly basis for carrying out tasks, but you’ve also got to look at the overall productivity. RPA bots can work 24/7, can scale easily depending on workload demand, and do not experience periodic drop-offs when it comes to speed, the way a human might work slower at 4pm on a Friday, compared to 9am on a Monday morning.
This can also translate into customer experience. For instance, an RPA bot that’s able to answer queries or process order forms more rapidly is likely to have an impact on the service customers receive – and their overall satisfaction levels.
Humans make mistakes. Depending on how major that mistake is, it can cause various problems for businesses, ranging from massive costs for compliance violations to dented customer loyalty when it comes to an unfulfilled order or a misspelt name. RPA bots will perform tasks the same way every time, improving levels of consistency and rule-following. Figuring out what these potential costs are and then measuring the impact RPA can have on their reduced frequency is another critical metric to consider when it comes to ascertaining the value of such tools.
How much do you stand to lose as a business if you experience staffing issues? While your business might tick along fine when staffing is at optimal levels, there’s a chance that you run into problems when it comes to sickness or other time off taken by employees. In some cases, this may be a regular challenge for you.
Similarly, many industries run into problems with a high workforce attrition rate, whereby a high turnover of staff can make it difficult to provide a consistently good service. While customers will likely sympathize with your staffing issues to some extent, they’re unlikely to be sympathetic enough to stick around if your staffing challenges continuously affect your abilities to deliver what you promise.
RPA bots – which never take time off or quit their jobs – can help smooth out these challenges.
Greater staff satisfaction
In some ways, this is the most important metric. RPA isn’t about replacing humans with bots; it’s about freeing up humans to focus on other, more rewarding, value-adding tasks. By removing these repetitive tasks from employees’ list of things to do in favor of more interesting work, businesses can improve the overall job satisfaction of the people who work for them.
This, in turn, can have an impact on company morale, employee performance, job tenure (because they won’t leave to look for other, better work elsewhere) – and, potentially, more drastic improvements such as the benefits of those employees being able to lend their talents to new initiatives and concepts which can then bring in more revenue.
If you stumble onto the next brilliant idea because one of your colleagues or employees no longer has to dedicate half her time and energy to transferring data between two applications, and can instead think about strategic ideas, that could be the biggest benefit for RPA of them all.