Points of View

Harvesting a BotFarm to Shake Up Process Delivery

May 15, 2016

One of the great challenges of process delivery is how to scale up and down cost-effectively to match seasonality and other variability in transactional volumes. In a legacy model of process delivery, this was achieved by attempting to simplify the processes in a way that labor could be moved in and out (or overtime paid) to match demand, but this solution was always complicated and costlier than intended because of the lag times associated with mobilizing human agents.


When HfS began coverage of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) four years ago, one of the advantages of RPA we foresaw was the ability to create much more fluid and cost effective solutions to support the varying demand in transactional delivery through the effective creation of on-demand bots. We enshrined this ability within the Deployment Model Strategic Element in our RPA Maturity Model as shown below.


Exhibit 1: RPA “Bot” Deployment Model



Up until now, this ability to offer a shared pool of coordinated bots to address variability in demand, both within and across processes, has been a longer-term goal for RPA vendors and their clients both in the enterprise and service providers. As a result of their inability to get this moving in the shorter-term, both enterprises and service providers have been limited in their ability to mature their process delivery operations. This has also limited the ability to realize the HfS As-a-Service Ideal of being a Broker of Capability because bots were more tied to individual processes or deployments which limited overall flexibility. If clients can truly start to govern end-to-end processes that include bots and people, we can start to tie genuine business outcomes and value metrics to RPA investments.


With the new announcement from Automation Anywhere of their BotFarm capability, HfS believes the functionality is now in place to begin to industrialize more effectively and broker RPA as an enterprise-wide capability.


In the coming weeks and months, we expect to see BPO/IT service providers announcing the adoption of the BotFarm approach inside of process delivery operations. Having been challenged for so many years to try to respond effectively to demand variability using human agents. The opportunity to now harvest bots so that the utilization of individual bots is maximized will be very appealing strategically and financially.


This ability really allows service providers to think about maturing their RPA and broader process delivery in a way that wasn’t possible before and which will have further impacts on how physical delivery centers are configured and operated. If variability in agent and seat capacity is more controllable in the future, it will be much easier to design and operate delivery floors because of the enhanced predictability in what will be required to meet baseline operations.


Automation Anywhere’s BotFarms is exactly the type of innovation in RPA that both enterprises and service providers need to allow the industry to better harvest the opportunity that Intelligent Automation brings to process delivery as the market moves out of old legacy models and into the As-a-Service world.