For many years, one of the key applications I used to manage earned the unique distinction of being the most heavily scripted, screen-scraped application for our organization’s website, contributing to almost 75% of overall traffic. So why would someone choose to script its usage, or use robotic process automation (RPA) instead of a neater, well-defined integration?
In today’s world, RPA is being presented as the go-to solution for many things. There is nothing more appealing than a quick fix that’s easy to implement and seemingly cheap. That said, quick fixes rarely produce good results in the long run.
Essentially, leveraging RPA during digital transformation is akin to putting duct tape on a new boat. You would have created a new system which looks shiny and modern, but underneath, it remains connected to the old system in a very rudimentary manner. For example:
When you use an RPA to integrate with a legacy system, you are forcing yourself to continue running those legacy systems in the future. An effective transformation requires decommissioning older platforms to reduce your IT footprint and save costs in the long run. Going with the easy fix hinders this crucial move forward and does not allow for innovation opportunities.
As you continue with the modernization and digital transformation initiatives in your organization, you would encounter situations where you must choose between system integration and RPA.
Implement RPA or integrate?
An RPA solution may be able to perform a function much quicker than a user ever could, however, the response time and functionality of the provider application are only as fast and efficient as the current application. Whichever type of automation you choose is always bound by the functional and technical limitations of the current application involved.
Before you decide whether to implement RPA or to integrate, I’ve mapped out a few key decision points you need to consider.
The decision flow covers three important aspects from an enterprise’s perspective—business requirements, organizational readiness, and cost and benefit analysis. It can help you visualize the consequence of each decision point, enabling you to address immediate opportunities and adjust for better future outcomes. I’ve included more questions below to help you make the right choice:
Parag Srivastava is a seasoned technology evangelist with more than 25 years of experience in designing multi-tiered, high-performance enterprise solutions and application architecture. With a proven track record in successful digital transformation initiatives across various industries, Parag’s strength is in his ability to accurately translate cross-functional business process requirements into high-performing solutions with implementable solution blueprints and strong ROI.