24 Oct Why you should not use RPA tools in your business
In this article, we will give your three reasons why you should not use RPA tools to run your business from a strategic perspective.
Companies all over the world use RPA to make their business more efficient and see the technology as a core element in their digital transformation journey.
So why should you not use RPA tools in your business?
RPA is a solution to a problem
On the highest conceptual level, all companies use RPA tools for the same reason. To automate processes so they can streamline their business. So RPA is a solution to a problem.
In this article, we will argue that RPA might not be the right solution to the problem. You will get three good reasons why.
All three areas address core elements of running your business, So they should all be taken seriously. We start with the first claim that the technology will limit your agility.
RPA limits your agility and your ability to adapt to new market conditions
The technology can be a potential security risk
The tools are expensive to implement and to configure
We start with why agility is important.
As a manager, you would like to have the ability to design your work processes and how you organize your work with as few constraints as possible.
Your goal is fexlibility
Meaning if you can see that a new way of organizing your work is better, you would like to implement such change as easily as possible. To be able to do this requires a certain degree of flexibility in your IT systems. They should have the flexibility to be used in different ways by new people to support different processes.
RPA is great in the short run
In the short run, RPA could seem like the perfect tool for you to do so. It can be used to bridge the gaps between your systems. This is true. The problem is that RPA tools are generating technical debt in your business and IT set-up.
Meaning that all the gabs that you use RPA for are difficult to change once you have made dem. So, in the beginning, when you start using RPA you are in the honeymoon phase.
Everything is possible and works fine for you, But once you start having a requirement that requires a solution where you need to change your current RPA implementation, then you would realize that you have solved a short-term problem by creating long-term restains on your business.
From a security perspective, RPA is also a potential problem.
The most costly cyber attack in the world was caused by the Russian malware called NotPetya. The Russians deployed this malware in 2017 to target Ukrainian government institutions.
However, it spanned out of control and ended up creating damage for more than ten billion USD to global businesses.
One of the ways the malware was spread was via Robotics servers.
The RPA IT architecture
The issue here is that the RPA IT architecture and the way it is often governed make them potential security viability.
This is because RPA tools are designed to mimic the way a human interaction with a business system. And to do this, you build robots that run on their own server set up, and they then interact with your business system as if they were a user.
This is smart, but it also means that you introduce a new set of IT applications that run outside of your normal IT infrastructure. So if you are not careful in your design and management of such a set-up, then you risk opening up a backdoor for accessing your IT infrastructure.
Hackers look for volubility
Hackers look for volubility, and the architecture on which you run the RPA solution is a more potential risk than many other systems. This risk is enforced by the fact that RPA solutions are often implemented by external consultants and at a rapid speed that makes it difficult for the IT security department to keep track of the changes.
RPA servers as a security risk
This makes RPA servers a security risk because they can then be used – as the Russians did – to gain access to a business core IT infrastructure.
In fact, one of the biggest shipping companies in the world was shut down for a week as a consequence of the NotPetya attack at their RPA solutions. And they have – not surprisingly – removed all RPA from their IT since then.
The true cost
The last strategic reason why you might consider not using RPA is because of the true cost.
According to Gartner, it cost 20.000 USD on average to implement a new RPA integration. In reality, an RPA integration is a small IT project that must be planned, deployed, and maintained once in production.
A cleaner and less clustered IT set-up
So it is a fair question to ask; why not make the integration and process flow between the system you look at directly. Such an approach might be more expensive in the short run, but the benefit is that you do not introduce a new IT system (RPA) into your set-up, so the result is a cleaner and less clustered IT set-up in the long run.
We would love to hear your opinions in the comments below. Are the concerns that are presented here valid and sustainable enough to make you reconsider if you should use RPA in your business?