RPA Reality Check: New Forrester Research Identifies Barriers to RPA Scalability

Study finds a significant impact of ineffective bot resiliency, uncontrolled shadow IT, and scripted bots

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--Tricentis, the leader in enterprise automation, today released a new RPA research study conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Tricentis: Barriers and Best Practices for Scaling RPA. To explore what Robotic Process Automation (RPA) programs really look like on the ground and identify what challenges firms face related to scaling those programs, Forrester surveyed enterprise decision makers with existing RPA programs. Forrester found that centralized automation, effective resiliency, and low-maintenance bots are critical elements for RPA success.

[Download the complete report from the Tricentis RPA web site]

“RPA has enabled organizations to reimagine how people and applications can work together, delivering a fast ROI,” commented Wayne Ariola, General Manager of Tricentis RPA. “However, numerous research studies have all shown that scaling an RPA initiative is more difficult and costly than expected. Inevitably, ROI is challenged when it comes to achieving sustainable automation at enterprise scale. The primary purpose of this Forrester research is to better understand these barriers to scale and help organizations avoid dangerous missteps in their RPA journey.”

Key research findings include:

  • Firms can’t seem to master RPA resiliency — and that impacts costs. Less than one in five firms are very effective at resilient automation, and firms that struggle with resiliency are also four times more likely to say they are very ineffective at controlling costs associated with RPA.
  • Bots often break, placing a heavy load on resources. Forty-five percent of firms deal with bot breakage on a weekly basis or more often, and in the meantime, customer experience is impacted. Employees also have to take on additional manual tasks that would otherwise be automated.
  • Scripting permeates today’s RPA implementations. Virtually all respondents (99%) say their organizations’ bot logic requires some scripting, with a weighted average of 42% of bot logic expressed within a script. Seventy-nine percent of firms report that their RPA programs require advanced programming skills.
  • Firms using scripting-based RPA solutions experience more pain from broken bots. High-script firms were 1.3 times more likely to experience impacted customer service from broken bots, and 1.5 times more likely to have impacts to cost or revenue, e.g., from delayed transactions.
  • Firms struggle with shadow IT when it comes to RPA. Only one in five firms have a centralized automation center of excellence (CoE), and firms struggle with uncontrolled adoption. Most firms do not know the total scale and costs associated with their RPA program.

RPA Leaders vs Laggards: What Leaders Do Differently

The research also analyzed the data from RPA “leaders” vs. RPA “laggards.” Some of the key differentiators they discovered were that leaders:

  • Minimize scripting (11.4% weighted average compared to 45.9% weighted average).
  • Prioritize RPA tools that reduce maintenance and deployment times (based on their top 3 tool capabilities).
  • Centralize RPA efforts within automation Centers of Excellence (3.5 times more automation and greater employee productivity than firms without automation Centers of Excellence).

The report concludes with recommendations for getting ahead of the challenges identified in this research.

[Download the complete RPA research report]

About Tricentis

Tricentis is the pioneer and global leader in providing resilient automation across software testing and RPA. Tricentis accelerates digital transformation initiatives with a low-code/no-code automation approach that is simple to create, easy to maintain and designed for reuse. With native support for over 160 technologies, we have solved the most complex automation challenges. Tricentis operates in over 12 countries and has more than 1,600 customers, including the largest brands in the world, such as Accenture, Coca Cola, Dolby, Nationwide Insurance, and Zappos. To learn more, visit https://www.tricentis.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.


Erica Coleman