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The growth of RPA is impressive and it happens with ever-growing velocity. The numbers in a recent CMSWire article support this statement: the RPA market, while only $250 million in 2016, is expected to grow more than ten times in five years, reaching $2.9 billion in 2021.

Why is this the case? Because large scale automation is a mandatory ingredient in the vortex of digital transformation. This is called for by the stringent need to manage the growing complexity of business processes, to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency, and to free valuable employees from the burden of repetitive tasks.

The next level of automation, intelligent automation, promises an upgrade from the incipient focus on routine tasks. You can view intelligent automation as RPA augmented with the ability to learn judgmental activities from observations of human processing requests.

In fact, according to the 2016 Global Industry 4.0 Survey, 68% of organisations in the Asia Pacific region expect to increase efficiency by more than 20% over the next five years by means of joint deployment of RPA and adjacent AI technologies. Combining these instruments is thought to be the most feasible solution for enhanced business productivity.

“According to the 2016 Global Industry 4.0 Survey, 68% of organisations in the Asia Pacific region expect to increase efficiency by more than 20% over the next five years by means of joint deployment of RPA and adjacent AI technologies.”


The reason for this is rather simple: scaling is necessary for leveraging the full-fledged benefits of automation. In order to scale your RPA deployment, you need to ensure coherent usage of “smart automation” platform capabilities, like process orchestration, cognitive capture, intelligent optical character recognition, etc.

This opens the door to end-to-end intelligent automation, which is applicable of more complex processes then the basic, rule-based ones.

Intelligent automation strategies for scaling your RPA deployment

In what follows, we will list some strategies which are meant to help you scale your RPA deployment to enterprise level, thus enhancing the likelihood that you do make the most out of the automation journey.

1. Support the development of a transformational mindset with respect to RPA across your company

Make sure that the automation project has the requisite, enterprise-wide support from the people who work for your company. Establishing a Centre of Excellence (CoE) is the focal means to this end because, on the one hand, it centralises governance and decision making, and consequently it can provide the enterprise-wide buy-in that you need. The CoE enables a coherent, tactical journey towards at-scale deployment of intelligent automation.

Additionally, the Centre can offer a collaborative platform for the IT and business departments of your company to work together towards shared goals. As we discussed in an article about scaling enterprise RPA, you should keep in mind that longer term scaling makes IT involvement even more necessary, to ensure technical flexibility as well as cyber security along the way.

The CoE is also a helpful tool for increasing the effectiveness of your compliance programs and security standards. Last but certainly not least, a CoE helps to build and maintain consensus regarding future directions for the automation journey.

Consider, for instance, the effect of presenting successful demonstrations of proofs of concepts to the employees. In a nutshell, the CoE ensures contagious enthusiasm with respect to the development of digital transformation in your company.

2. Make automation the default, preferred solution for repetitive jobs

The essence of this recommended strategy is setting the objective to reach the “a robot for every person” stage of RPA utilization in your organisation. Once you know what you’re aiming for, you need to build an action plan for getting there. Education can be considered the main route towards goal attainment.

To begin with, you should train your employees to spot the marginal processes in their everyday work which are most susceptible to automation, and even to set up attended robots with no help required from the IT unit. Throughout the training process, you should keep your eyes open looking for those who seem more technologically inclined, and assign them the more complex tasks.

3. Develop an outcome-centered understanding of business success, as it is customary for ‘automation first’ businesses

An outcome-centered perspective from within a company implementing intelligent automation relieves employees from the burdensome question of how to fulfill their tasks, since they know that can rely on software robots to do this faster and more accurately. The plan towards your envisaged results is twofold.

Firstly, your actions should be governed by a slogan like ‘If it can be automated, it should be automated’. It amounts to diagnosing inefficiencies in the workflow, and automating those processes. At this stage, you might benefit from external partnerships whenever the inefficient processes are overly complex.

In the second phase, you can take for granted the fact that automation has become a default solution. The employees whom you have previously trained, can be trusted to identify automation-prone processes and initiate the automation procedures.

4. Apply a per-department business case approach

That is to say, go all the way with automation for every department of your company. Automating only the easy picking processes can reduce employees’ work time with 7-15% per department. But this is too little to have a significant impact on the way that work is organised in the whole company.

This is because the processes performed within each department are intrinsically interconnected. However, if departments are consistently, fully automated, you can obtain up to 30% time reduction, which your employees can use for bringing to completion higher value tasks.

Consequently, whole department automation can also be used to demonstrate to department executives and to the CFO the potential of RPA to increase productivity.

5. Pay special attention to inter-departmental processes

The operations that need to be handled via concerted action from various departments are usually more complex, hence they are perfect candidates for intelligent automation, or the combined use of various digital technologies. It might well happen that, prior to setting out on automation per se, such processes must be redesigned, perhaps broken into sub-components. (Indeed, the “divide and conquer” approach is among the best practices for maximum gain out of implementing RPA.)

An additional benefit of pursuing the automation of inter-departmental processes is that it promotes the development of highly specialised skills in the company’s personnel. Moreover, if successful, this strategy sends out a positive message, making RPA more visible at all levels of your organisation.

It also fosters collaboration between different departments, which ensures an appropriate infrastructure for scaling your RPA deployment, and thus it facilitates organisation-wide digital transformation.


An impressive majority (93%) of the 502 business executives surveyed by The Economist in 2019 believe that automation is the foundation of digital transformation. This is a clear indication that the potential of RPA is indeed acknowledged by business leaders. However, there is a gap that needs to be bridged between recognition and actually leveraging the transformational effects of RPA, and scaling up to company level is a necessary brick in this bridge.

The five intelligent automation strategies that we listed here should give you some guidelines for improving digital processes by generalising the applicability of RPA across the entire company.

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