What it says on the label…

a can of rpa soup
I’ve had a bit of a wake-up call in the last month or so.
RPA does sell a bit of a dream.
RPA is certainly different to other technologies in terms of impact and simplicity.
But it is never that simple.
Nor is it as cheap as people have been led to expect.
Knowledge comes at a price.
Licenses on their own are affordable.
Licenses + consultants = a lot more than most people expect.
The alternative is training and education.
As a training provider, maybe I shouldn’t be saying this next bit.
The theory is that anyone can learn RPA.
Business folks can take a great course and walk away comfortable using the RPA technologies in their operations.

While this is generally “possible”, here’s what really happens:

  1. Running a private course with a mix of business and technology people is incredibly powerful
  2. They play off of each other and you end up a) getting the business folks to see the technology and b) the technology folks to see the business issues.
  3. This turns the training into a brainstorming session. Yes, you get through the technology training, but you also get a stream of highly practical ideas for applying RPA.
  4. This starts the pipeline and suddenly  you have a place to get started.

But who does the work?

The answer is the same as it always is when it comes to technology – Developers.
Yes, I know there are lots of examples where the business does do the development, but here’s what I see.
Actually, just look at the job adverts.
No one is asking for “Accountant with 2 years Automation Anywhere experience” or “Customer Services leader with UiPath certification” or “Payroll manager with 12-18 months Blue Prism project experience”.
They are all asking for “Developer with Java, .NET, C whatever, etc. and X months/years of one (or more) of the RPA tools”.
The reasons?
  1. This is still technology
  2. Developers have “that” mentality
  3. Developers come with an evolved methodology
  4. Business folks still have day jobs
  5. They will be great running bots, maybe fixing them
  6. But developing them, not really.
  7. And why bother – in most organisations developers are expected to do this.
In short, yes the business can develop bots.
In reality, it is the developers that are doing it.
IT is not being sidelined.