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This is how you write a convincing business case for RPA

minutes reading time
September 21, 2020

RPA is quick to implement, has a short time to value and delivers quick ROI. You know that, we know that, but how to put it on paper in such a way that you also convince the rest of the organization ? In this article, we'll take you step by step through building the business case for your RPA implementation.

Do you want to get everyone on the same page at organization and find support for the next step in intelligent automation? Then you need a solid business case. This gives everyone the chance to think along and ask critical questions, and ensures that you only start an RPA project when it has been well thought through.

Keep in mind, however, that an RPA implementation never stands alone. Automation is an iterative process, where every step you take creates new possibilities to achieve new results. So never limit your business case to investments and returns of the current project, but include the valuable future opportunities in your plan. Would you like to know more about this? Then read RPA, the complete guide.

Implementation costs (CAPEX)

Implementation costs vary depending on the scope of the project and the size of the organization, but RPA implementation processes are often relatively short. A typical lead time is 3 to 10 weeks. A process with a handful of steps performed on a single system will be at the bottom of the spectrum. A complex process with more operations and controls across multiple systems needs more time.  

An RPA implementation team usually consists of at least one full-time developer. An architect, a business analyst and a quality manager are then involved part of the time. People in the line are involved for providing functional specifications and for testing.

If more developers are available, it is wise to involve the architect, consultant and quality manager full-time in the project. You can then automate multiple processes in parallel, or fully commit to implementing your first bot and deliver them even faster.

Operating costs (OPEX)

The operational costs consist of three parts: licences, infrastructure and maintenance. The operational costs of RPA decrease as you automate more processes. You can share licenses, infrastructure and administrators between processes and departments, reducing your operational costs per process with each new process you roll out.


In general, the licensing costs of an RPA package increase as the package has more features. Server-side bots are more expensive than bots running on an employee's PC. Bots that use AI and machine learning are usually more expensive. So it is essential for your business case that you know what you need, now and in the future. The cost of UiPath licenses depends very much on the project specifications, but in general you can say that on balance you save money if an implementation saves 1 FTE in time.  


Infrastructure costs can remain low at RPA. An RPA-bot can often run on an employee's PC. In that case, almost no extra infrastructure is needed. For software robots that run unsupervised and/or need more communication and integration, you need to set up a 'virtual workstation'. This is often a virtual machine, in the cloud or on one's own infrastructure. In exceptional cases, for example if an RPA solution has to work with software that is no longer used in the line organisation, more is needed. Here, too, it is important to look ahead. So don't just look at your current requirements, but include any future wishes and projects in your infrastructure investments now. This will result in an extra investment in the short term, but prevents you from immediately running into all kinds of limits (and therefore even more expenses) after the first project.


Once an RPA process is running it needs to be supported. For example, underlying systems or processes may change. The software robot will have to be adapted to these changes. It is very difficult to tell in advance how much time this management will take. If you don't have any data available at all, use as a rule of thumb that one full-time administrator can support about 10 RPA processes.


RPA is about much more than efficiency and cost savings. Despite the major benefits in terms of compliance, employee satisfaction and quality, a RPA business case that shows clear savings is the easiest way to gain support. So start your business case with the efficiency gains and present the rest as 'extras'.

Cost savings

The most important cost savings achieved by RPA can be seen in the following areas:

Higher revenues

In addition to cost savings, RPA also contributes to operating income:

Other benefits of RPA

Less quantifiable benefits of RPA, which should not be missing from your business case are these:

Cost of doing nothing

Also include the cost of doing nothing in your business case. What costs will you have to incur as a company in the coming years if you don't start working with RPA? Realize that these costs are not constant. As your business grows, processes are added and existing processes become more complex. The costs of error-prone manual work, the lack of insight and the compliance and security risks associated with this do not increase linearly, but exponentially.

Get to work!

All in all, a business case like this is always quite a job. And, as is always the case with this kind of thing, there will be questions you can't answer beforehand. But if you take all of the above points into account and calculate them as accurately as possible, you will certainly arrive at a business case that can convince your colleagues and managers. Doesn't it work? Then we will gladly come and help you. Good luck!


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