What is RaaS?

Posted by Brendan Canny on 4 April 2018 in: RaaS, Robots-as-a-Service, robotic process automation, Automation, Real Estate

Simply put RaaS stands for “Robots as a Service”. Great, but what does that mean and why should you care?

It is swings and roundabouts as the business world shifts between horizontal specialization and vertical integration and back again. Today, I am seeing more and more companies deciding to focus on their core value chain within their industry. For Real Estate companies this generally means focusing in on investment management, mergers and acquisitions, property management, construction and general customer or prospect relationship management.

More and more companies are deciding to focus on their core value chain within their industry

While it makes sense to stick to your knitting, this often leaves some of the other business functions out in the cold. And IT is often seen as a “hygiene” factor, a function purely there to support the more important processes. Over the years the shift of focus from non-core business functions has spawned Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) as well as the desire to move toward everything “as a service” or XaaS. Companies can now employ Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and many more. This “as a service” model is fast becoming the norm, with the biggest companies in the world, including Google, Microsoft and Amazon focusing on this model for future growth.

So why the hype? What does the “as a service” model offer? Simply put, A LOT - if implemented correctly and for the right reasons.

But, before we unpack the specific benefits of RaaS, let me point out that 60% of internally run Robotic Process Automation (RPA) programs fail. Why? For a number of reasons:

  • Suitable candidate processes are not properly identified
  • Difficulty in finding, maintaining and managing resources with the correct skill set
  • Costs – large upfront and ongoing investment is required
    • Infrastructure
    • Team skill-up
    • Mandatory minimum Robot purchase

With this in mind, let’s unpack how RaaS can help tackle and prevent failure:

Let the “experts” handle one or more functions or processes

I would venture that everyone would agree that Microsoft is probably the most well equipped to handle the intricacies of managing an Exchange server – which is exactly what they offer with their Office 365 “as a service” model.

RaaS allows companies to benefit from our backing of 16 years of Real Estate process knowledge

In the same vein, automation (RPA or otherwise) demands a dedicated skill set, which your company would need to source, hire and retain. RaaS allows companies to benefit from our already established team and the backing of 16 years of Real Estate process knowledge. Importantly, we help identify processes with a high likelihood of success. We have also painstakingly created and trained a purpose-built team of automation specialists that will take you and your company through analysis, implementation and – most importantly – ongoing support.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

The majority of candidate automation processes are common across most business. Choosing to take your automation in-house means that each company is essentially re-inventing the wheel with every process. It would be like every company building its own HR system from the ground up. Choosing the RaaS model means that you can benefit from modules and plug-ins that have already been built out according to best practises.

Avoiding reinventing the wheel also has a number of related benefits:

  • Reduced implementation cost
  • Rapid deployment and realization of associated benefits
  • Benefit of hindsight – letting others “pay the school fees”
  • Economies of scale

Cost

The RaaS model also allows a company to benefit from economies of scale

Of course, most – if not all – business decisions boil down to the associated cost or return on investment. As highlighted earlier, internally run automation initiatives often fail due to a misunderstanding or miscalculation of the capex and opex expenses associated with providing automation services.

RaaS allows you to have an easy to understand cost model with a fixed, once off, capex implementation cost and a structured monthly operational cost tied to your usage. The RaaS model also allows a company to benefit from economies of scale, as the expert automation provider is achieving bulk Robot discounts, better costing on hosting and infrastructure as well as better utilization of delivery and support staff. There are further cost benefits to be achieved thanks to flexibility and scalability.

Flexibility and scalability

Whilst cost reduction is often seen as the cornerstone of BPO, and thus automation, it is not always understood that a key component of cost is not always the one-to-one comparison of what your resource cost is today vs. the BPO solution. You should also factor in your ability to scale in a flexible manner.

RaaS allows a company to benefit from automation with a definable ROI

As an example, your company may process 10,000 invoices a year in 2018. But, what happens if you sell off a large portfolio and are left with an AP staff geared for 10,000 invoices now processing 2,000 invoices a year? The reverse is also true, what if you buy a portfolio and need to scale from 10,000 to 20,000? Either way your HR team is going to be busy. And like BPO, RaaS allows you to scale your throughput and associated cost as your business changes -- just so much quicker

 

Speed

How many times have you heard someone use the old “I want this done yesterday” line. Creating and maintaining a successful automation offering requires a lot of time, so nothing is getting done “yesterday”. The reality is that your team will spend many months skilling up and laying the foundations for automation. This means your success will only be visible to the organization, and crucially your sponsors, after many long months. RaaS allows you to leverage what was discussed above in the “experts” and “don’t reinvent the wheel” sections to deliver business value within a matter of weeks.

In summary RaaS allows you as a company to benefit from automation with a definable ROI without having to incur the costs of setting up your own internal team.

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