An RPA program will incur additional / ongoing costs for any organization. While creating a business case, it is necessary to consider the below mentioned costs to compare them against the actual ROI gained.

The factors that play a crucial role in delivering ROI are

  • Processes selected (straight through process with some cognitive element) – Organizations need to decide whether it’s worth starting with a complex process as the number of FTE’s are high or start with a Simple process and then gradually increase the complexity of processes with parallel implementation tracks
  • Underlying Application types – Web, Windows, SAP may seem a bit simple as compared to Mainframes, Java based applications etc.
  • Process Volumes – Large volume straight through process instead of low volume process (considering that the manual AHT is not high) as multi-bot architecture can be built to cater to volumes and help reduce FTE’s
  • High Availability & Disaster Recovery – Organizations need to figure out if this is really required, DR will certainly add to the license costs while HA will add to the control room license costs, though I recommend to have HA in place, as the RPA Program scales up, so as to cater to any Control Room failures for seamless BOT executions

Organizations focus more on the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and not on the above factors and eventually figure out in the long run that they are not making any ROI and tend to stop the program.

The costs involved in any RPA Program are

1. Development costs (for the entire RPA Development lifecycle)

  • Delivery using Agile Methodology – Business case should consider only the hourly rates of the roles that will be engaged in delivering the program
  • Fixed bid project – Business case should be based on the number of processes that the organization wishes to automate. If the organization is unsure about the number of processes that can be automated, then One-Time cost needs to be considered basis which Fixed bid cost can be derived with an assumption that “x” number of processes will be automated, and the assumption needs to be clearly called out in the business case. The breakup of number of Simple, Medium and Complex processes should be specified

2. One-Time costs

  • Consulting, planning, opportunity assessment and process prioritization

3. Infrastructure costs

  • Server (Database and Control Room)
  • RPA License
  • Software License (Operating System)

4. Configuration costs

  • Infrastructure setup
  • Application licenses that can be used for RPA

5. LOB (Line of Business) costs

  • User testing
  • Change management of automation
  • Costs to validate the impact to various departments

6. BOT Hosting costs

  • Servers and Hosted Virtual Desktops

7. Training costs

  • Capability training
  • Vendor product training

8. Infrastructure Maintenance costs

  • Software license renewal
  • Any labour costs for server support

9. Employee Redundancy costs

10. Support & Maintenance costs

  • Incident management
  • Sustained development support post go-live

11. Additional management costs

ROI may not be gained during the 1st year of the program, however, accounts books may certainly reflect the ROI gains from 2nd year onward as most of the above costs will not be incurred if the above factors are also considered while creating the business case.

About the Author

Ketan Sathe is leading RPA practice for Dynpro and has 20 years of overall experience spanned across iRPA, Software Development, Telecom Operations and Manufacturing. Over the last 5 years he was instrumental in managing teams and delivering RPA solutions across BFSI, Retail and Healthcare domains across UK, South Africa and USA. You can reach out to him at ketan.sathe@us.dynpro.com.

DynPro is a voice of experience in world-class IT Solutions. We are firmly rooted in technology and our expert IT professionals deliver tailored IT solutions to solve your business challenges. For over 24 years, DynPro has supported organizations across the globe while focusing on the right people, processes and technologies, our solutions are focused on delivering the digital core for organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small and mid-size companies. The core practice areas include, Process Transformation, Data and Integration and Automation and Advanced Analytics.