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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, just how much do I trust the people involved to do as they are promising? As the option for businesses to consider Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for many tasks emerges at a rapid pace, some of these decisions will have to be considered keeping in mind the RPA governance model.  

In this new era, we are removing some of the 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