Key Criteria for Evaluating Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. RPA Tools Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Ben Stanford

1. Summary

The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) market has exhibited remarkable growth, and the increasing sophistication of the vendor offerings has led growing numbers of enterprises to use, or consider using, software robots (bots). A large majority of business data is estimated to exist in unstructured formats, such as email, PDFs, and business documents. Enterprises that can leverage RPA tools effectively to access this data, and create automations to capture and write it into applications and other interfaces, stand to gain a strategic advantage. Moreover, they will begin to understand their businesses better and potentially drive increases in business value.

RPA tools are different in the ways they allow data to be handled in and among many applications. They can be thought of simply in terms of their ability to record a user’s actions on screen and then repeat those actions reliably to remove the need for a human to perform them. However, modern RPA tools increasingly can tackle far more complex problems, like interpreting data in email attachments, discovering the processes best suited for automation, and assisting users in decision making.

Improvements in interface design also have boosted the potential for non-developers to create RPA bots efficiently. Similarly, advances in bot stores and marketplaces within vendor ecosystems can substantially shorten the time required for design and implementation of bots. However, this democratization of RPA, in which the consequences of adding bots often are not considered up front, can lead to poorly managed sprawl. A strong approach to change management, business architecture, and understanding where RPA should be deployed within an organization is therefore key to success in implementing these tools.

RPA has become a key part of digital transformation and has been applied widely across both front- and back-end processes. Human interaction and input to these systems represents a pause in the process flow and can restrict the speed and scale of process automation. In many cases, these interactions are simple, repetitive, and of low value, so finding a solution to automate such tasks can provide benefits in many business scenarios.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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