Does RPA ownership lie with business or IT?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been gaining steady prominence as an in-demand technology, and the reasons are essentially clear. RPA streamlines processes and frees employees from repetitive tasks; this enables greater focus on value added tasks.

But one of the significant concerns faced by most organizations lies in deciding whether to consider RPA as a business solution or as an IT tool? Opinions differ on the topic as business users consider RPA decisions as part of critical business functions. After all, it is the business users who decide which processes should be considered as RPA candidates.

However, RPA can rarely be implemented as a ready-to-use solution for business functions. It is true that advances in RPA software allow most businesses to implement automation without large scale involvement from the IT department. But a smooth integration can only be achieved by proper contribution from the IT team.

So is RPA necessarily an IT project or does the business side of things comes into play as well? We think it is a little bit of both.

RPA as A Business Requirement

The fundamental premise of RPA lies in automating and simplifying business functions. As a result, RPA implementation is largely carried out by the business users who have a clear understanding of the processes that need to be automated. Such a detailed knowledge of the processes allows the business users to set up automation rather quickly. This seems to preclude IT involvement in the setting up of RPA.
So it seems clear that the role of the business department is rather significant when it comes to RPA implementation. However, IT cannot and should not be entirely ruled out of the picture. While the business can contribute to RPA through a detailed knowledge of the processes, IT comes with the technical know-how. And while IT itself remains one of the least automated departments in any organization, their role in ensuring proper RPA setup cannot be denied.

Why IT needs To Play A Bigger Role

Not having the IT team on board for RPA implementation can lead to large issues. For starters, the IT department has the most knowledge of the organisation’s IT setup, and this information must be shared with the business users if they are to successfully complete their RPA project. Further, RPA implementation is not a one-time process. The entire system requires careful and continuous testing, evaluation and maintenance, all of which are best carried out by the IT team. Therefore, disregarding the role of IT in RPA completion can become the recipe for disaster.

IT Or Business?

So, to answer the question: is RPA in the realm of IT or business? And the answer is clearly not in the or but the and. For appropriate RPA implementation in any organisation, collaboration is essential between the business and IT departments. For any RPA implementation to come to fruition it is vital that both these sides work together, maintain close communication and share knowledge to overcome any impediments to RPA realization. Further, such collaboration must continue for the entire lifetime of the RPA project if organizations are to reap the benefits that come with a winning RPA strategy and execution.