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Posted: 23 Nov 2016

9 Key Takeaways on RPA Governance

By Mohit Sharma

Whenever we evaluate any big decision in life, the topic of governance is front of mind, even if we are not explicitly thinking about it in those terms, whether it is assessing a country, a company, or even an aspect of our social lives.

Most commonly, the topic comes to mind when assessing a potential contract for service provision, and decisions often come down to the vagaries of human emotions and personality. How much do I trust the people involved to do what they promise?

As the option for businesses to consider Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for many tasks emerges rapidly, some of these decisions must consider the RPA governance model


An RPA Governance Framework refers to a structured set of guidelines and practices that you can follow to manage and control all RPA initiatives effectively. Moreover, It ensures that RPA robots are utilized in a way that aligns with organizational goals, adheres to regulations, and minimizes errors. 

Some key elements usually included in an RPA Governance Framework are:

Strategy, Leadership & Organizational Fit This part focuses on defining the organization's RPA objectives and identifying suitable processes for automation.

Organizational Expedition & Change It involves managing the organizational changes associated with RPA implementation, for example, communication, training, rules of engagement, roles & responsibilities, and support for employees who will work alongside the RPA robots. Thus, it ensures a smooth transition.

Deployment and Operations This part focuses on developing, testing, and deploying RPA bots. It includes establishing development and testing standards, ensuring quality control, version control, and adherence to coding standards. It also involves monitoring the performance of RPA robots and continuously improving their operation.

Security and Compliance It addresses the importance of data security, privacy, and regulation compliance. It involves implementing measures to protect sensitive information, defining access controls, and ensuring RPA processes comply with relevant industry standards and legal requirements.

RPA Governance Model

The RPA Governance Model includes six main focus areas for the RPA Governance Framework.

Financial Management This component aims to establish financial protocols to predict the costs associated with RPA implementation. It includes budgeting, cost estimation, expense tracking, and ensuring cost-effectiveness throughout the RPA journey.

Discovery and Approvals This part involves finding, recommending, checking, authorizing, and ranking bots or automation chances. It recognizes appropriate procedures to automate, evaluates their practicality and possible advantages, and gets permission from relevant participants.

Development This particular aspect focuses on the process of implementing bots within predetermined timeframes and financial limitations while achieving the desired business outcomes.

Architecture Standards: This section concentrates on establishing guidelines and best practices for the architecture of RPA systems. This involves defining criteria for selecting RPA tools, creating system components, setting configuration standards, and ensuring compatibility with your current IT infrastructure.

Security and Compliance: When implementing RPA, it is essential to adhere to security and compliance standards. This involves identifying the necessary data security requirements, setting up access controls, implementing encryption measures, and ensuring compliance with relevant industry regulations and standards.

Support & Administration This section involves recognizing and specifying the necessary support roles and duties required to efficiently manage the RPA system.

Therefore, For implementing robotic process automation governance, you should be aware of the RPA governance Model and its components.  

Here come RPA tools to automate routine tasks and provide rule-based operations and automation.

RPA Tools

In this new era, we are removing intangibles like unpredictable human nature and emotions. For better or worse, we have software/RPA tools that mimic human actions and behaviors, but not emotions. When assessing RPA options, and maybe comparing them against human-based options, organizations need to adopt a different type of governance structure, in order to address the opacity of a non-human workforce. Having appropriate levels of RPA governance in place is an essential element of ensuring the RPA tools deliver on expected business outcomes. 

Big questions emerge, such as how much Meaningful Human Control (MHC) is required when an organization brings in automation initiatives.

RPA is a journey and is evolving rapidly. Mindfields has clients at all the different stages and is documenting the challenges and discoveries in order to make the journeys of future clients as smooth as possible. Client organizations are expected to increasingly shift RPA enabled processes onshore, although this may not happen immediately. A wide range of activities that typically arrive in off-shoring deals includes risk, governance, and regulatory issues as well as data security and privacy concerns. By adopting the RPA governance model, clients will be able to take back control over these issues. In order to share some of this knowledge, and the experiences of others, we ran a webinar this week entitles “What, How and Why of Governance in Automation.”

The event included the thoughts of Simen Munter, who has led one of the biggest deployments of a robotic workforce in the world, covering multiple countries for a leading global bank over the last 18 months.

Simen was generous in sharing his experience of the RPA governance, answering the many questions he was sent in from webinar registrants.

We also discussed the findings of four polls, which we conducted with participants from many large organizations, with most of them from leading top 100 Global organizations.


  1. RPA Governance is not about maximization but about optimization.

  2. Decisions should be taken based on a hierarchy of priorities, which goes People - Process - Technology (in this order).

  3. RPA Governance should not be 'owned' by the IT department or a business unit, but by the enterprise.

  4. Some processes are special and need to be treated as such, almost like a pet (with a name e.g. Norman). Others are more like cattle (which can be killed and recreated if it fails), and this depends on the materiality and importance.

  5. Just like humans, robots are not immortal and have a shorter life span, they will die and return with evolved functionalities.

  6. RPA projects should be treated like a T20 cricket match and not a five-day Test match (I could not find the right sporting analogy for US readers).

  7. Don’t plunge in at the deep end just like driving, it is better to learn in a Kia before driving a Ferrari.

  8. RPA software will evolve and catch up with rival options, just like other tech categories eg., LG vs Samsung vs Sony vs Apple, so keeping up on developments will be necessary (some might end up like Nokia and Kodak if they do not evolve).

  9. RPA will not make outsourcing obsolete but it will fundamentally change the business case and considerations for end-user clients. It will also fundamentally change the business model and offerings of the service providers.

Of course, viewing the event will put these Key Takeaways on RPA Governance in a more complete context, and there were many more valuable ideas shared.

Watch the full “What, How and Why of Governance in Automation” webinar below:


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Mohit Sharma

Mohit Sharma

Founder and Exec Chairman
Thought Leader | Trusted Advisor | Innovator