A Complete Guide to Making your RPA Program Self-Sustaining

Author: Amanda Rae

How to make your RPA program self-sustaining can be the hardest part of your RPA journey.  How to start is the first question. Do you buy existing software or design custom automation from scratch? Do you have the right talent in-house to manage the project or do you need to hire? If you hire, do you go with an inexpensive one-man developer? Or do you go with a team of professionals who get your initial investment working for you quickly? Even if that looks like a larger upfront investment?  

Read on to see our suggestions for how to navigate these common RPA start up questions.

What is a Self-Sustaining RPA program?

Self-sustaining means that the project has enough ROI to pay for itself. After a short implementation period, the automations save the company enough revenue to keep developing your Robotic Process Automation program and cover the cost of additional scale. 

To maintain a successful RPA program, you must make your automation CoE a value center and not a cost center. Your goal is to achieve positive ROI and self-fund ongoing work rather than spending additional investment dollars. 

How to start your RPA Program

Graph showing how much money can be saved by working with the right RPA Partner

The DIY Approach

The myth is that doing it alone is cheaper, faster, and more effective. One cost that is usually left out of the figures in the DIY approach is Time to Value. This is the profit lost during the months/years of development. The faster your program gets to self-sustaining (saving the company more money than it costs) the lower the total cost of ownership. Starting with quick-to-value prebuilt solutions allows your program to start earning fast, preventing the need for more investor capital to fund the project.

The other major element of ROI calculation that is often miscalculated is scale. While the success of one small automation is encouraging it often does not justify the cost of development and software licenses. These two common miscalculations are a primary reason why: 

According to the results of a study by Ernst & Young, 30% to 50% of robotic process automation projects fail globally.


Taking a Hybrid approach

You have your developer picked out and management is on board for the project, but it’s hit a snag. Or, you would like help with setting up the scope of the project and what to automate first. In these circumstances, a little bit of expert advice goes a long way. But where do you find the right guidance? And do you secure it without a huge SLA contract?    

The tipping point of successful RPA programs becoming self-sustaining comes with end-to-end automation flows. We understand that economies of scale exist in every industry.  RPA is no exception. Knowing what to take on first and what your development capacity is are also major factors in your success. Starting too small is often not profitable. But taking on too much at once can overwhelm your developer to create and your management staff to implement. Getting this balance right can be tricky. 

How WonderBotz can help – Automation Discovery

Wonderbotz automation discovery services tile

WonderBotz has created a few really helpful support tools for those who are excited to make their own way, but wary of falling into the almost 50% first time RPA failure rates. 

Key to any successful RPA initiative is a knowing what to automate first. WonderBotz Automation Discovery Service takes a two-pronged approach.

Through discovery workshops we will discover which tasks would be most meaningful to your team to have automated. We then deploy our process intelligence tool GENIE to discover which processes would create the biggest business impact and have the strongest ROI for your automation program.  

Combining your organizational data and the process intelligence data we can help you create a roadmap of what to automate first. Building the core automations first and scaling up from there will deliver value quickly and make your RPA Program self-sustaining.

RPA Professional Services – get the advice you need

Our other major offering to help you get the expert advice when you need it while keeping control of your RPA project is Backstop. This is a heavy hitter for-hire service to get you structured correctly, unstuck, or across the finish line. 

Backstop clients enjoy on-demand access to our team of experts. Here are a few cases in which our clients have utilized Backstop Support Services

  • Strategic advice and sounding board covering ROM evolution, pipeline/backlog management, and license utilization 
  • Design and configuration authority for adherence to leading practices 
  • Mentoring of your developer team 
  • Debugging support when your developer team gets stuck 
  • Escalating tickets to your software platform providers 
  • Infrastructure services to diagnose problems 
  • Advice on upgrades 
  • Urgent tactical development 

Maximize Speed and Value by partnering with an RPA Expert

When working with an experienced RPA partner you can implement multiple automations at one time. WonderBotz believes in leveraging prebuilt solutions that are proven to perform and deliver value quickly. We have helped hundreds of companies start or scale their RPA programs. We know that to keep a contract we must get to self-sustaining quickly, and we know how to do it. 

Our most popular end-to-end solution is the Back-Office-Bundle.  It delivers a suite of back-office automations that work together to deliver fast value in the accounting and finance departments. Starting with a prebuilt solution slashes development time and gets you straight to customization and implementation.

It seems on your phone no matter what you want to do there’s an app for that. When it comes to back-office automation we have the app for that! 

Once we have handled the low-hanging fruit, we can explore (or set up) your backlog with you. We will discover what other pressing business processes are ripe for automation.  Then we can determine if we have a solution ready to deliver immediate value or if custom automations are needed.

AI and RPA Solutions

For large or enterprise-level clients, we also have a fully automated backlog generation tool GENIE. It will run quietly in the background discovering and documenting your business processes.  GENIE builds the task maps needed for automation. It defines which of your processes has the highest automation potential, and which processes need standardization and improvement first. Automating a broken process generates broken robots. Learn more about GENIE the AI Powered Process Discovery tool.

Making your RPA Program Self-Sustaining

Whether you choose a DIY, Hybrid, or Maximum speed to value approach, designing your RPA program to be self-sustaining is key. WonderBotz has solutions to support your RPA Journey for each route. We would love to offer you a free exploration call to see how we might best help your RPA program succeed.

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