Prof. Willcocks, you have recently published a paper that takes an analysis of the effects and involvement of IT departments in robotic process automation implementations in 0rganisations.
Could you please give us a short introduction and why you were looking specifically on the IT-function?
We researched 13 detailed case studies of robotic process automation adoption throughout 2015/16, and also carried out several surveys. While we found considerable business benefits, there also seemed to be surprisingly slow take-up of robotic process automation though it is accelerating dramatically, admittedly from a low base, throughout 2016. Our in-depth case work and interviews show much misunderstanding about RPA’s attributes, and how RPA fits with corporate IT architectures, infrastructures, skills sets, governance and security procedures. In particular IT functions seemed to react by either thinking they did what RPA already, through their IT tools and BPMS, or they saw RPA as a threat to security, governance, infrastructure integrity, and a form of unwelcome ‘shadow’ IT. In our view this has created unnecessary barriers to adopting RPA, and delays to gaining the large process and business benefits manifestly available.
Read the full interview with Prof Willcocks at our partner media, The Outsourcing Journal Online Edition (free, no registration) > Full interview
Authors of the paper: Professor Mary Lacity, Curators’ Professor, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Visiting Professor, The London School of Economics and Political Science and Andrew Craig, The Outsourcing Unit, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, The London School of Economics and Political Science
Interviewer: Stephan Fricke, CEO and Head of the Advisory Board, Deutscher Outsourcing Verband e.V. (German Outsourcing Association) and CEO Process Automation Verband, Germany
About The London School of Economics and Political Science Outsourcing Unit: The Outsourcing Unit is part of the LSE, acknowledged as the world’s premier social science university, and in business and management studies ranked first above Cambridge and Oxford Universities in a 2014 Research Assessment Exercise. The OU draws upon a 2,400 plus case study database covering all major economic sectors and countries, and provides independent, objective and rigorous, timely research, report and advisory services to business, government and third sector organizations. Previous research and published work can be reviewed on: www.lse.ac.uk/management/research/outsourcingunit