Business Analysts - you NEED to learn Robotic Process Automation (RPA) now!

"Son, The future is RPA"

To paraphrase a great line from a great movie (The Graduate).  This iconic scene popped in my head after reading a recent PR announcement from UIPath.  Autodesk , a 2 billion dollar CAD software company, is jumping into the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) water with what sounds like a significant digital transformation project using UIPath.  You can read the PR release here

I was curious so I took a look at the Autodesk job site to see if they had any RPA job openings listed already.  Very interesting.  in addition to the somewhat expected UIPath technical roles, there is a BA role:  "Business Analyst, Robotic Process Automation"  .  A mainstream, up-to date Business Analyst job listing but with this cool responsibility - "Champion the vision and objectives around Robotic Process Automation and the value it can bring to our business processes".

So What is RPA exactly?

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation.  Despite the images this name inspires, it is software not hardware, that is used to mimic human actions on a computer.  It is macro building on Russian steroids!  

You take your awesome BA requirements + a developer using RPA = no more mundane, highly repetitive, data-entry tasks for bored staff.

Now the Autodesk role is surely a cool opportunity for a motivated BA out there, but IMHO it is also a signal for a huge career opportunity for all experienced business analysts.  Simply stated learn RPA = job opportunities.  And the good news is, there is FREE training available from UIPath (and other RPA vendors) specifically for business analysts.  

RPA really is a no-brainer for a business analyst.  As you will learn in these courses, one of the most critical parts of an RPA project is the selection and analysis of an existing process.  This is your bread-and-butter! 

Business Analysts love this stuff. Sitting with an SME, capturing their workflow, documenting steps, diagramming a flow chart.  All the existing skills you already own.The new addition?  Feeding it into an RPA tool and managing the rollout.

There's Gold in them thar Bots!

To be sure there are nuances to the RPA domain and each tool is a bit different.  But overall, from a learning perspective, I have found RPA to be very accessible.  It is a no brainer.  It really is one of the reasons we have computers. This stuff can be learned and mastered if you put in some extra time.  Ok ok enough of the hard sell Ed, what do I get at the end of this rainbow??

Bottom line - more job opportunities, both internally and externally, most likely at higher pay rates.  You will differentiate  your personal career brand, a critical tactic in today's job market.  You will position yourself to catch a 2.4 Billion dollar market that is about to hit the US. 

Even if you are not looking to be directly on the RPA train, as a BA you should/need to be aware of it, as it is going to be a significant tool in IT, BPO, Process oriented projects.  In addition to a carrot motivator, there is also a stick.  A dark, yet what seems inevitable side of this automation awesomeness is big job disruption, i.e. humans being replaced by bots.

Now the glass half-full folks say, this kind of tech removes mundane, boring work from humans and gives them more time to do higher value tasks.  While I do see healthy, forward looking organizations doing this, the reality is downsizing, layoffs are happening as result of automation cost savings and efficiencies. 

The stick motivator for me is to get in-front of this, learn/grow, and be a part of the higher value, strategic implementations.  Intelligent automation is here and it is not going away.  Avoid being replaced, take advantage of the resources and make yourself more valuable!

By the way every major consulting firm is in this space.  Just yesterday Deloitte announced a new alliance with a leading RPA vendor,  Blue Prism to bring RPA solutions to their clients.  These firms are going to need RPA aware employees, just saying.

Free Training

Do yourself a big career favor, and check out some of these free, did I mention free? ;) training, get a cert and update your resume and linkedin profile.  I suspect you will get some interesting views, calls, and emails for new opportunities.

Create a free account with one or all of these vendors and you will see a dashboard of courses, several focused on the non-technical, BA/PM parts of an RPA project, enjoy!