From Hype to Reality: Navigating the Challenges of RPA Implementation


  • Stephen Treacy University College Cork
  • Aishwarya Adyanthaya
  • Chloe Kearny
  • Jayesh Anand
  • Kieran O'Sullivan
  • Yue Xu



The term Robotic Process Automation (RPA) was first utilised in 2012 (Hindle, 2018). The term began to gain traction in 2014 when businesses started to announce major savings because of automation. In early 2016, RPA back office automation became more significant but during this period it was still relatively limited (Willcocks & Lacity, 2016). From 2016 to 2017 the global RPA market increased by 64% (Fersht, 2017). They also reported a 42% increase in the global market for RPA between 2017 and 2018 and an anticipated increase of a further 94% between 2018 and 2021 (Fersht, 2017). The demand for RPA has increased using AI and software robots are expected to be the key drivers of growth. RPA continues to gather prominence throughout Europe as companies are eager to improve customer experience and to offer a streamlined service particularly for the financial services industry (Information Services Group, Inc., 2018). The key objective is to improve organizational performance and the customers’ experience using an RPA solution. The RPA solution will enable the organization to provide around the clock robot assistance to the client, enhancing effectiveness and efficiency of the compliance process, faster return on investment (ROI), reduced processing time as well as helping to meet deadlines, improved quality with reduced human errors (Pattfaut and Borghoff, 2022). However, RPA is an extensive process and requires expertise in this space, structured input, and governance to achieve optimal implementation. The research objective of this investigation therefore is to explore methods for automating business processes while reducing operating costs and improving efficiency. In doing so, three research questions are presented: 1) What are the key phases in an RPA implementation?: 2) What activities are involved in each of the phases?; and 3) What should be the focus of each of these activities?