Go Beyond the Limits of Robotic Process Automation in ITSM

From boardrooms to server rooms, the deafening call for Robotic Process Automation has only gotten louder around the world. According to a recent forecast by Gartner, RPA software revenue is projected to reach $1.89 billion in 2021, an increase of 19.5% from 2020. Yet despite these statistics, RPA’s limits have steadily come to light and it’s clear that RPA alone isn’t meeting the hype. In this post, we outline RPA’s major limits and show you how Knowledge Automation goes beyond each one. 

How to Actually Achieve End-to-End Automation

RPA is better at automating a task usually in a legacy system versus revamping a business process or rethinking it overall. As one expert put it in the Harvard Business Review: “RPA does not redesign anything. It doesn’t ask whether we need to do this activity at all. It operates at the task level and not the end-to-end process level.”

It’s difficult to actually call RPA an “end-to-end” ITSM solution. Before you can automate password resets, new user account creations, or other L1 and L2 service tickets, RPA typically requires process standardization to function. That means, a given business process must be analyzed, possibly re-engineered to work with RPA, and then broken into small, structured steps which are then coded for the bot. And even after all these steps, it normally can only automate part of a process, not an entire process. 

While RPA can offer approximately 30% automation, it normally operates on the level of a Graphic User Interface, screen-scraping to input data or click through an application. As a result, RPA can and does frequently break. As this Forbes’ piece explains:  “If anything changes with the interface, the data, or any other aspect of the legacy app, then the RPA breaks.” And your IT staff or your third-party RPA vendor must then fix it. 

In contrast, HIRO can automate up to 90% of a business process. It receives tasks directly from your software’s API, then by applying advanced AI, it figures out how to automate them based on its store of knowledge. This approach allows it to adapt to change and actually automate a process from end-to-end.

Going Beyond RPA’s Inability to Adapt

ITSM is just as susceptible to the fast-moving changes of a digital transformation as any other department. So expecting a static, fragile technology like RPA to keep up is a recipe for disaster. RPA bots are more useful for handling routine, rule-based tasks, like moving a file or folder, logging into a web application, or filling in a form. 

Rather than rely on a set script or preset sequence of steps, HIRO and its advanced AI can figure out an optimal solution that takes into account the ever-changing business context. And it can do so for everything from root cause analysis to intelligently triaging IT tickets. As your system, process, or environment changes, HIRO quickly adapts. 

Scaling Fast Versus Failing to Scale at All

Recent analysis from Forrester reports that “only 52% of enterprises that have launched RPA initiatives have progressed beyond their first 10 bots” while 2019 research from Deloitte UK, contends that “Eight per cent of organisations worldwide have deployed over 50 automations, up from four per cent in 2018.” 

For all the buzz, RPA just doesn’t scale easily. Given that RPA bots break, sometimes frequently, scaling requires supervision and management from either in-house IT staff or a 3rd-party vendor. And even when bots don’t break, the cost of maintaining them increases as you deploy more, which can include more licenses and fees from a 3rd-party vendor. 

In either case, more human involvement drives up costs, undermining RPA’s time and cost-effectiveness. As the same Forrester analysis cites, for RPA efforts that span across global companies, patching together RPA initiatives into an integrated system becomes its own colossal challenge. 

Operating and scaling HIRO requires a low level of effort. Like a new hire, it’s trained by another employee and starts acquiring the knowledge it needs for the job. Within a matter of weeks, it can get to work applying that knowledge to automate tasks. To scale further, HIRO simply needs access to the right information systems and any relevant new knowledge.

RPA Complicates Your Digital Transformation. HIRO Accelerates It.

As Gartner predicts in their 2019 Hype Cycle for Business Process Services: “By 2021, task-centric RPA offerings in their current form will be obsolete. The simplistic task-focused RPA deployments that focus on routine, repetitive, rule-based workflow will give way to zeal and demand for automating more complex workflow.”

We’re already there. RPA was once touted as a revolutionary, game-changing technology that would bring about impressive, new efficiency. Yet, as more and more ITSM operations have adopted it, its limitations have complicated their digital transformation efforts. 

To go beyond these limitations, you need a more sophisticated solution that can automate end-to-end at scale and adapt—all with minimal IT upkeep. HIRO has answered with superior results. For SMBs or even enterprise-level companies, Knowledge Automation ultimately delivers on the promises that RPA can’t.