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July 14, 2021

INSIGHTS ARTICLE: Blueprint Software Systems - Charles Sword: RPA Design Standards are the Future of Automation

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RPA Design Standards are the Future of Automation
 
Initial adoption is no longer the critical area of focus in the RPA space today, organizations are looking to scale and realize greater returns from their automation initiatives. However, stalled automation pipelines and detrimental RPA maintenance and support levels prevent automation programs from realizing those objectives.
 
One reason for the challenges of achieving scale and greater value is the absence of universal RPA Design Standards. Universal RPA Design Standards would provide an industry-wide, core structure for automation, standardizing how RPA tools describe process automation.
 
At the moment, there is no portability or inter-operability in the RPA ecosystem—a bot designed in one platform can’t be packaged and run in another. This is because all tools along the automation value chain speak a different language. Each RPA tool, whether it’s an RPA platform for the development and orchestration of bots or a process discovery tool, specifies process automation details in a different way.
 
The impact of a lack of RPA Design Standards can most strongly be felt in stalled automation pipelines and vendor lock-in. Stalled automation pipelines result from having to transcribe processes into different tools and create paper-based, error-prone documents like PDDs or SDDs to drive bot design and development—all of which are time-intensive and ineffective.
 
Vendor lock-in results from no portability in the RPA space because each RPA platform has proprietary technical details. Even if an automation program would like to switch providers, the effort and costs associated with building entire digital workforces from scratch make switching a non-starter.
 
If the RPA community were to come together to establish a cohesive set of RPA Design Standards, scale, and greater value capture would be enabled by these three ways:
 
1. Increased Automation Pipeline Velocity – There would no longer be a need to transcribe processes or create paper-based documents like PDDs because all tools would specify process automations the same way.
 
2. Empowered Citizen Development – A set of RPA Design Standards would separate automation design from implementation. With a core structure for automation, users wouldn’t have to understand the technical details of any platform, making automation much more accessible to the average business user.
 
3. Cost-Effective and Accelerated RPA Platform Migration – With the portability that a set of RPA Design Standards would deliver, RPA programs could easily switch vendors to leverage better offerings or platforms that would promote the scale and ROI they demand.
 
The future of automation, for the benefit of all RPA programs to achieve the scale and returns they seek, is a set of Universal RPA Design Standards a vision that seems to be becoming more of a reality by the day.
 

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