Digitalization in practice: successfully implementing robotic process automation (RPA)

Categories: digitalizationPublished On: 19.06.2017

acondas supports customers in a large range of implementation topics, and increasingly in the area of digitalization. Using robotics to automate business processes is one such topic.

A number of well-known companies are currently introducing robotic process automation (RPA) to achieve their business goals. These organizations are introducing software robots (“bots“) to perform standardised, transactional processes fully automatically and across IT systems. RPA today is often used to handle administrative functions like accounting and HR, but implementation in customer service is gaining in popularity as well.

The advantages of the new technology are striking:

·        24/7 availability to perform standard processes
·        Potential cost reductions of 20–50 % in target process areas
·        Simple technical implementation and handling using mature solutions; no need to change existing IT systems and interfaces

While the business case for introducing RPA is often very convincing and technical implementation is measured in weeks rather than months, the main application hurdles lie in integrating existing organizational structures and processes.

Based on acondas’ practical project experience in supporting RPA introduction, we have identified three areas that are key to success:
· Governance & Compliance: RPA needs a strong anchor in the organization, a central unit that initiates, drives and is responsible for implementation and for enhancing the concept. Setting up a dedicated (virtual) RPA Centre of Excellence has proven helpful in this regard.

In addition, internal company rules and regulations are often not geared towards fully automated process execution. We therefore recommend thoroughly analysing and potentially adapting such rules and regulations before implementing RPA.

· Processes: Using RPA to automate unchanged existing processes wastes a lot of potential. The best way to leverage this technology to its maximum is to undertake a comprehensive process optimisation, including up- and downstream processes, parallel to the implementation. This may slow down the deployment upscaling process, but it makes RPA much more sustainable within the organization.

· Stakeholder & Change Management: Using RPA often changes the composition of work content and processes of existing units considerably. We therefore recommend developing communication measures to increase acceptance and providing RPA training opportunities. Getting co-determination bodies, data protection officers and other relevant stakeholders involved early is critical for success.

Using software robots is not some futuristic dream. On the contrary, many companies are actively testing and implementing them right now. However, to ensure maximum benefits and minimum friction, it is critical to ensure structural and organizational integration of the technology. acondas would be pleased to offer you advice and assistance based on our project experience in this area. If you have any questions regarding project support related to RPA or in any other implementation topic, please feel free to contact us at:

Picture source cover photo: ktsimage –

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