Evaluating Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Tools


What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

RPA is a software that is used to automate highly repeatable tasks typically performed by humans. These tasks can include processes done the same way every time: clicking through a website, maintenance, etc. The goal of using a Robotic Process Automation tool is to remove repetitive [and maybe tedious] processes that a worker does and free them up to be allocated to more value-added work. We are excited to share this RPA tool evaluation with you. 

Did you know robotic process automation can yield substantial ROI. The average business sees an ROI of 250% within 6 to 9 months! We’ve built a calculator to show you the impact RPA can have on your organization: RPA ROI Calculator.

RPA Tool Evaluation and Assessment

Round 1

Many Robotic Process Automation tools have been introduced to the market. While each tool has its competitive advantages, how do you know which one is right for you? A client asked UDig to complete a product evaluation and assessment to determine the tool that would work best for their company.

We began with a list of seven different tools that appeared to be on the end of the spectrum that was further along in sophistication and development. A scoring matrix was created for both product evaluation and risk evaluation, and each tool was graded on a score of 1-5, with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest.

Scoring Process - automation tools
Exhibit 1: Round one scoring breakdown

The initial scoring was purely based on research and served to help us narrow the list down from seven RPA tools to four.

robotic process automation tool evaluation criteria
Exhibit 2: Definitions of product evaluation criteria
rpa risk evaluation criteria
Exhibit 3: Definitions of risk evaluation criteria

After all the scoring was defined, we took an average for each category [product evaluation and risk evaluation] and ranked them on a graph to see how they measured up against each other.

product matrix - robotic process automation tools
Exhibit 4: Re-creation of risk x product matrix graph based on the average scores

Equipped with pricing, the product and risk evaluation criteria, we narrowed our list of tools down from seven to four.

Round 2

UDig and the client developed a use case that addressed a real-life problem they were facing. This use case involved logging into different websites, navigating to their document library, downloading the necessary document, and saving it to a shared file. This same use case was built on all four RPA tools to ensure consistency in our evaluation.

The team built out the process for four different documents, and then created one large process so the Robotic Process Automation tool runs through all four documents in one process.

While the team was building the processes, they took notes of any pros and cons that they experienced during development, as well as any questions that would be helpful to ask the vendor themselves.

Like round one, a scoring matrix was created and evaluated for the development of the use case for each RPA tool.

Scoring Process
Exhibit 5: Round two scoring breakdown

The below criteria was defined for the round two evaluation.

build evaluation criteria
Exhibit 6: Definitions of RPA build evaluation criteria

After all the scoring was defined, we again took an average for this category and ranked it to see how they measured up against the others.

This created a recommendation of one overall tool for the client to consider for purchase and use.

Next Steps

Post recommendation, the client is following up with vendors and having them do their own demos. This way, the client can ask questions that the team came across and allow the vendor to speak to their tool. This will be taken into consideration with the recommendation and evaluation the UDig team delivered. After a tool is selected, the client will go through the procurement and implementation process to have this tool up and running and ready to provide value to their organization.

Why would an RPA tool evaluation benefit you?

As mentioned earlier, each RPA tool has their own competitive advantage and specialty. Doing a product evaluation allows you to identify which tool is right for your business based on needs, use cases, industry, budget, etc. With technology like RPA, it is useful to identify a use case and develop a proof of concept. UDig building the same processes on each of the four tools gives us a consistent comparison of the pros and cons of each.

However, we do recommend also talking to the vendors you are considering. Doing the proof of concept before speaking to the vendors allows you to walk into these conversations more knowledgeable and identify questions that you may not have been able to address had you not had the opportunity to explore and research beforehand.

Although this product evaluation was done for RPA tools, a product evaluation is recommended for any sort of product or software you may want to dive into.

About The Author

Jessa Barnes is our Intelligent Automation Practice Lead. She has spent over nine years working on technology-related projects and initiatives from an analytical and project management role, as well as automation development. Jessa’s experience and inquisitive nature allow her to work with clients to map out processes, dig deeper into business problems, and help identify solutions.