Robotic Process Automation

Emulating the hands of human white collar operational workers


The future workforce will be a mix of humans and virtual robots. While virtual machines will perform 24/7 repetitive mundane duties, human workers have more time for tasks with a high value-add. Increasing productivity and quality while reducing costs are key benefits of RPA use.

RPA allows users to automate business processes coming with low entry barriers in terms of cost and payback period.

This study shows that RPA is still in the early stages of the adaption and development process, thus being a door opener for several other digital game changing technologies.


  • > 50 participants from 35 companies covering a broad industry spectrum
  • 60% in D/A/CH region
  • About half of the participating companies reports annual revenues in the double-digit billion EUR range
  • Online survey format complemented with selected calls
  • Conducted by Leadvise Reply


  • RPA newcomers: 17% of respondents have not considered RPA yet
  • RPA theorists: 31% of respondents are evaluating first RPA steps or planning pilot projects
  • RPA users: 53% of participants with practical RPA experience from ongoing projects

As a consequence the study integrates perceptions and experiences along the entire learning curve of RPA.

RPA Becomes Reality

For RPA users the technology is of high significance. When asked how important RPA is today for their organisations agenda, 42% identified the topic as very important. In contrast, RPA newcomers are normally a bit wary of the importance of RPA. Only 10% see it as very important. Finally, for the RPA theorists there is a 17% approval rate for the topic being seen as very important.

Consequently, these high levels of importance are expected to translate into rising RPA budgets over the course of the next three years.

How will your investment in RPA technology develop over the next 3 years?

  • Already, half of the respondents without prior RPA exposure expect their RPA budgets to increase in the foreseeable future.
  • Budgets for both RPA theorists and users are expected to increase over the next three years.
  • Noteworthy, even RPA users report further increasing budgets indicating a general satisfaction with the technology.

Translated in Euros this means

  • In 2018, RPA budgets usually have a size of up to 1 million EUR.
  • Nevertheless, 26 % of users report their budgets to be up to 50.000 EUR for their RPA projects, 19% of them have a budget up to 250.000 EUR available. This means that many projects might be analyzing RPA usage thus being funded with an initially limited budget – this will change once progressing towards implementation.


  • Today, RPA is a topic being driven by expected productivity increases and cost reductions, which are expected to be between 10% and 30%. Moreover, data quality and process accuracy are recognised as additional benefits, however to a much lower extent.

  • With RPA being advanced technologically in the future, more complex processes might become feasible for automation allowing to target alternative benefits such as creation of additional revenues and generation of business insights by RPA.

  • Additionally, one driver of RPA technology is the short amortisation period that 68% of RPA users specify as less than one year. 56% of the theorists estimate the amortisation to take up to 12 months.

What are the expected benefits of RPA?

Dos and Don‘ts

RPA has the potential to strengthen the competitive stance of a company. Almost half of the
respondents uses RPA to remain competitive in their industry.
But to secure their competitive position quickly, organisations using RPA have to embrace this
technology – and to circumvent some hurdles and the common pitfalls.

Success Factors


    RPA must support your business strategy, so it is vital to evaluate and prioritise the automation potential for the business process landscape across business units.


    Gain a clear understanding of the value RPA adds. Know what RPA can deliver and what not – and how it can serve your specific needs.


    Prioritise the processes you want to automate. Start with a pilot by targeting low-hanging fruits. When you see further RPA potential, set up a Centre of Excellence.


    Change management is essential of RPA initiatives to properly integrate the human and the digital workforce. Therefore, implement proper project management structures.

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    Be aware of technology hurdles, for example the compatibility with the existing IT infrastructure.


    Although the projects are driven by business, don‘t forget to involve your IT department to ensure a comprehensive, smooth and quick implementation.


    There might be resistance from your employees towards the RPA solutions. RPA will challenge low-skilled jobs but offers opportunities at the same time.


    Regulatory barriers include topics like data security and data protection.

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Finding the right RPA solution


License cost


Implementation effort


Meeting business needs




Integration into
existing IT infrastructure,
e.g. Citrix servers

  • Most important criteria for the selection of a RPA vendor are license cost, scalability potential, meeting the needs of the business and effort required for implementation while – interestingly – IT integration and extension potentials were ranked low by the respondents.
  • Blue Prism is considered the leading RPA vendor though cost is a key selection argument. However, this solution might benefit from other advantages such as scalability.
  • In summary, it can be assumed that there is a lack of transparency in the RPA market in terms of cost and cost/benefit ratio impeding potential users to select the appropriate RPA solution.
  • Therefore consultants – especially Technology / IT and strategy consultants – are essential influencers in the selection process of RPA vendors.


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...automating processes, increasing productivity, securing competitive
advantages quickly – when people act together with robots. It is the ideal first
step into the digitisation of companies and thus to the design of tomorrow's
business models.

A Glimpse into the future

  • AI elements, document recognition solutions and analytics modules are currently the most desired technologies to complement RPA solutions in the future.
  • These technologies might be one reason why RPA is perceived partially as a bridging technology.
  • Technologies that make human voice-based communication accessible such as video and voice recognition or language processing technologies are currently not of interest.

Which technologies are the most likely to complement RPA?