Expected Benefits of Process Automation

Navigating the Automation Roadmap Blog Series

Are the expected benefits of process automation too high?

Are the expected benefits of process automation too high?

If you follow the RPA market, you will know advisory firms have provided guidance for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) service providers to shift from RPA into more product-based, “Hyperautomation”, to accelerate intelligent process automation deployment.  While this shift is expected to push outcomes, more than the journey of RPA, I cannot help asking if either approach is really achieving the desired benefits.  Otherwise asked, are the expected benefits of process automation too high?

Why the need for automation arises?

Before addressing the desired benefits, please allow me to set the context for why the need for automation arises (generally speaking).  When a company implements an enterprise application, the intent is to provide support for the business transaction.  Inherent to the software is automation to create an efficient and effective processing of the business transaction.  The result is that process teams can focus on higher value tasks because the lower value tasks are reduced because of the application.

Over time, the application’s ability to stay aligned with the business erodes, therefore business teams absorb the system deficiencies and support with manual work-arounds and stop-gaps.  Before anyone realizes, the business teams are largely supporting the work-arounds and manual work, only leaving minimal time to support the higher value tasks.  As the business continues to evolve, business leaders and IT engage in discussions to amend or add onto the enterprise system.  Typically, enhancements usually have a 6 to 9 month development cycle and a price tag into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which becomes difficult to justify compared to the labor expense (especially if work was moved off-shore).  The result is that manual work becomes the status-quo and to be addressed in the future.

This is the segue where automation enters the picture, since automating the low-value, manual, repeatable tasks is the sweet spot for RPA, but more so, shifts the status quo back towards the business focusing on high value tasks.

Defining benefits

Every organization will have different approaches to tracking benefits, but savings often include: 1) Reduced Labor Costs, 2) Seasonal Coverage Costs, 3) Overtime Elimination, 4) Higher Value Time Replacement, 5) Improved Quality, Regulatory Compliance, 6) Employee Satisfaction, 7) Cost Avoidance – Future Salaries.  Some of these benefits can more easily be measured and tracked over time than others, but these benefits are reasons why processes should (or should not) be automated.  Assuming you can assign an annualized dollar amounts to these benefits, the cost savings calculation is simply:  {Development Costs}  +  {Attributed Operating Expenses}  –  {Business Process Savings}  =  Cost Savings.  Organizations will adjust this basic equation to suit their needs and ability to track, but it provides a basis for understanding the costs and benefits to automating a business process.

Clarity on your automation investment returns

Business leadership will typically make automation decisions based on the prospective ROI for an automation, based on the as-is state of the process.  Unfortunately, we often see automation decisions are made without consideration for the high value work that was being rushed and diminished because of the manual, low-value work that has overwhelmed the team.  Automating processes often just allows the staff to re-focus on the high-value work that lost focus over time, which is a significant benefit, but not necessarily the return on investment leadership was targeting.

My point is that we might not be placing enough value on restoring order to business processing for business teams to focus on high-impact priorities, while doing their jobs more comprehensively and completely, without sacrifice.  We include #4, “Higher Value Time Replacement,” in our benefits calculation, so we enable business leaders to understand and capture the benefits of refocusing team members on the more important work they are currently distracted from.  Without understanding of how work teams are refocused, business benefits can be over-estimated if only focused on the hours returned or the FTE cost savings.  Rather than RPA not delivering benefits, maybe we need to start being honest with ourselves and a bit more realistic that RPA is not a magic pill that will eliminate jobs overnight, but it can be used to create business agility (and cost savings) if used correctly.

Vigilant’s understanding of value and technology not only uniquely positions us to help address restoring of order to a process, but also finding additional benefits trapped in the low and high value manual work.
Thank you for reading.  Our future blog articles will focus on addressing the impact and root causes of bad data perpetuated by ineffective and inefficient business processing, and how solution architects can make or break your automation program.

Please reach out on automation@vigilant-inc.com for a spirited discussion on maximizing the benefits on RPA and how we have found the ‘secret sauce’ for achieving success with automating Oracle EBS Financials and accounting operations.

We look forward to your feedback.


Joshua Gotlieb

Intelligent Automation Practice Director, Vigilant Technologies

Action Oriented Security Approach | Public & Private Cloud

data security concept

Action Oriented Security Approach:

 Design, Monitor and Optimize

Vigilant Technologies incorporates a collection of best practices that provide clear actionable guidance for security related decisions. This is designed to help your organization improve upon its security posture and reduce risk whether your environment is cloud-only, or a hybrid enterprise spanning cloud(s) and on-premises data centers.

The Vigilant Technologies core approach for success is three-fold

Design for the business, Monitor and Auto-Remediate, & Optimize for Change.

As part of this core service offering, Vigilant Technologies executes upon a set of principles and capabilities that support a variety of consumer cloud platforms including Hybrid-Cloud, Oracle Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure, & Microsoft Modern Workplace:

  • Governance, risk, and compliance
  • Security operations
  • Identity and access management
  • Network security and containment
  • Information protection and storage
  • Applications and services

Progress through Action: Vigilant Technologies Security Design Principles

Vigilant Technologies core security principles provide actionable steps for improvement in three key areas and provides a securely architected system hosted on cloud or on-premises datacenters (or a combination of both).

With careful execution of these principles your team will dramatically increase the likelihood of its security architecture to maintain (1) confidentiality, (2) integrity, and (3) availability.

Each recommendation referenced below includes a summary description of why it is recommended and how each principal map to one of more of these security concepts:

  • Align Security Priorities to Mission –Security resources are almost always limited, so prioritize efforts and assurances by aligning security strategy and technical controls to the business using classification of data and systems. Security resources should be focused first on people and assets (systems, data, accounts, etc.) with intrinsic business value and those with administrative privileges over business-critical assets.
  • Build a Comprehensive Strategy –A security strategy should consider investments in culture, processes, and security controls across all system components. The strategy should also consider security for the full lifecycle of system components including the supply chain of software, hardware, and services.
  • Drive Simplicity –Complexity in systems leads to increased human confusion, errors, automation failures, and difficulty of recovering from an issue. Favor simple and consistent architectures and implementations.
  • Design for Attackers –Your security design and prioritization should be focused on the way attackers see your environment, which is often not the way IT and application teams see it. Inform your security design and test it with penetration testing to simulate one-time attacks and red teams to simulate long-term persistent attack groups. Design your enterprise segmentation strategy and other security controls to contain attacker lateral movement within your environment. Actively measure and reduce the potential Attack Surface that attackers target for exploitation for resources within the environment.
  • Leverage Native Controls –Favor native security controls built into cloud services over external controls from third parties. Native security controls are maintained and supported by the service provider, eliminating, or reducing effort required to integrate external security tooling and update those integrations over time.
  • Use Identity as Primary Access Control –Access to resources in cloud architectures is primarily governed by identity-based authentication and authorization for access controls. Your account control strategy should rely on identity systems for controlling access rather than relying on network controls or direct use of cryptographic keys.
  • Accountability– Designate clear ownership of assets and security responsibilities and ensure actions are traceable for nonrepudiation. You should also ensure entities have been granted the least privilege required (to a manageable level of granularity).
  • Embrace Automation –Automation of tasks decreases the chance of human error that can create risk, so both IT operations and security best practices should be automated as much as possible to reduce human errors (while ensuring skilled humans govern and audit the automation).
  • Focus on Information Protection –Intellectual property is frequently one of the biggest repositories of organizational value and this data should be protected anywhere it goes including cloud services, mobile devices, workstations, or collaboration platforms (without impeding collaboration that allows for business value creation). Your security strategy should be built around classifying information and assets to enable security prioritization, leveraging strong access control and encryption technology, and meeting business needs like productivity, usability, and flexibility.
  • Design for Resilience –Your security strategy should assume that controls will fail and design accordingly. Making your security posture more resilient requires several approaches working together
    • Balanced Investment– across core functions spanning the full NIST Cybersecurity Framework lifecycle (identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover) to ensure that attackers who successfully evade preventive controls lose access from detection, response, and recovery capabilities.
    • Ongoing maintenance– of security controls and assurances to ensure that they don’t decay over time with changes to the environment or neglect
    • Ongoing vigilance– to ensure that anomalies and potential threats that could pose risks to the organizations are addressed in a timely manner.
    • Defense in depth– approach includes additional controls in the design to mitigate risk to the organization in the event a primary security control fails. This design should consider how likely the primary control is to fail, the potential organizational risk if it does, and the effectiveness of the additional control (especially in the likely cases that would cause the primary control to fail).
    • Least Privilege– This is a form of defense in depth to limit the damage that can be done by any one account. Accounts should be granted the least amount of privileged required to accomplish their assigned tasks by access permissions and by time. This helps mitigate the damage of an external attacker who gains access to the account and/or an internal employee that inadvertently or deliberately (for example, insider attack) compromises security assurances.
  • Baseline and Benchmark –To ensure your organization considers current thinking from outside sources, evaluate your strategy and configuration against external references (including compliance requirements). This helps to validate your approaches, minimize risk of inadvertent oversight, and the risk of punitive fines from noncompliance.
  • Drive Continuous Improvement –Systems and existing practices should be regularly evaluated and improved to ensure they are and remain effective against attackers who continuously improve and the continuous digital transformation of the enterprise. This should include processes that proactively integrate learnings from real world attacks, realistic penetration testing and red team activities, and other sources as available.
  • Assume Zero Trust –When evaluating access requests, all requesting users, devices, and applications should be considered untrusted until their integrity can be sufficiently validated. Access requests should be granted conditionally based on the requestors trust level and the target resource’s sensitivity. Reasonable attempts should be made to offer means to increase trust validation (for example, request multi-factor authentication) and remediate known risks (change known-leaked password, remediate malware infection) to support productivity goals.
  • Educate and incentivize security –The humans that are designing and operating the cloud workloads are part of the whole system. It is critical to ensure that these people are educated, informed, and incentivized to support the security assurance goals of the system. This is particularly important for people with accounts granted broad administrative privileges.

Steven headshot

Author: Stephen Clark

Principal – Technology Strategist, Vigilant Technologies

Power Automate Desktop: A Rising Star in the RPA Arena

Power Automate Desktop, RPA tool


In the rapidly evolving world of business automation, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) stands out as a transformative technology. Vigilant Technologies, a leading integration partner in the USA, deeply understands this evolution, especially in the realm of RPA and Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). As businesses strive for efficiency and innovation, the choice of the right RPA tool becomes crucial. This is where Microsoft’s Power Automate Desktop enters the scene.

Power Automate Desktop has emerged as a strong contender in the RPA marketplace, challenging established players like UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere. In this article, we delve into the reasons why Power Automate Desktop is not just another RPA tool but a viable, competitive solution for businesses seeking to automate their processes. With Vigilant Technologies’ expertise in process optimization and system integration, we explore the unique aspects of Power Automate Desktop that make it stand out in the crowded field of RPA solutions.

Power Automate Desktop: Features and Benefits

  1. User-Friendly, Low-Code Interface
    • Key Benefit: Empowers users with varying technical skills to build automation.
    • Impact: Dramatically lowers the barrier to entry for automation, enabling a wider range of employees to contribute to process optimization.
  1. Seamless Microsoft Integration
    • Key Benefit: Direct integration with Microsoft 365 suite, including Excel, Outlook, and SharePoint.
    • Impact: Streamlines workflows for businesses already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, enhancing productivity and collaboration.
  1. Cost-Effective
    • Key Benefit: More affordable than many of its competitors, especially for small to medium-sized businesses.
    • Impact: Provides a lower financial entry point for businesses beginning their automation journey, offering a significant ROI.
  1. AI and Cognitive Services
    • Key Benefit: Incorporates AI capabilities and cognitive services for advanced automation tasks.
    • Impact: Enables businesses to automate more complex processes, such as data extraction and processing, leveraging AI for enhanced efficiency.
  1. Scalability and Reliability
    • Key Benefit: As a Microsoft product, it benefits from robust cloud infrastructure, ensuring scalability and reliability.
    • Impact: Businesses can scale their automation efforts confidently, knowing the underlying platform is secure and dependable.
  1. Extensive Pre-built Connectors
    • Key Benefit: Offers a wide range of pre-built connectors to various applications and services.
    • Impact: Simplifies the process of integrating different systems and services, reducing development time and complexity.
  1. Custom Scripting Capabilities
    • Key Benefit: Allows for custom scripting in various languages, offering flexibility for complex automations.
    • Impact: Provides the ability to tailor automation to specific business needs, accommodating unique processes and workflows.
  1. Continuous Updates and Community Support
    • Key Benefit: Regular updates from Microsoft and a strong community for support and sharing best practices.
    • Impact: Ensures that the tool stays current with the latest technological advancements and provides a platform for learning and growth.

In summary, Power Automate Desktop offers a blend of accessibility, integration, cost-efficiency, and advanced features, making it a potent tool for businesses looking to embrace automation.

Comparison with Competitors


  • Strengths: Known for its extensive library of pre-built activities and a strong developer community. Offers advanced features like AI and machine learning capabilities, appealing to enterprises requiring complex automation solutions.
  • Considerations: More complex and feature-rich, which might require more technical expertise and training. Generally, it is a more expensive solution, making it less accessible for smaller businesses.

Blue Prism

  • Strengths: Highly regarded for its enterprise-grade security and robustness. Offers excellent scalability and control for large-scale automation deployments.
  • Considerations: Higher cost and complexity level compared to other RPA tools. Requires more technical expertise, potentially limiting its accessibility to smaller businesses or those with limited IT resources.

Automation Anywhere

  • Strengths: Provides a comprehensive suite of AI-powered tools, making it suitable for complex, cognitive automation tasks. Known for its strong analytics capabilities.
  • Considerations: May have a steeper learning curve due to its comprehensive features. The cost can also be a barrier for smaller businesses or those with limited budgets.

In contrast, Power Automate Desktop, with its user-friendly interface, cost-effectiveness, and seamless integration with Microsoft products, appeals to a broad range of businesses, particularly those already within the Microsoft ecosystem or those seeking a more accessible entry into RPA.

Why Power Automate Desktop Stands Out

  1. Accessibility and Ease of Use
    • Power Automate Desktop’s intuitive interface allows even non-technical users to create and deploy automation workflows. This accessibility accelerates adoption and reduces the need for extensive training.
  1. Seamless Integration with Microsoft Products
    • Its integration with Microsoft 365 suite streamlines processes for businesses already using these tools, enhancing productivity and collaboration without needing additional software.
  1. Cost-Effective Solution
    • Its competitive pricing makes it an ideal choice for small to medium-sized businesses looking to start their automation journey without a significant upfront investment.
  1. Flexibility and Customization
    • The platform offers flexibility with custom scripting and a range of connectors, allowing businesses to tailor automation to their unique needs and existing systems.
  1. Backed by Microsoft’s Robust Ecosystem
    • Being a Microsoft product, it benefits from continuous updates, a secure cloud infrastructure, and a vast support network, ensuring reliability and scalability for businesses as they grow.

These factors collectively make Power Automate Desktop a standout choice, particularly for organizations seeking a user-friendly, cost-effective, and flexible RPA tool that integrates seamlessly into their existing Microsoft environment.


In the realm of RPA tools, Power Automate Desktop by Microsoft emerges not just as an alternative but as a viable, potent solution, especially in scenarios where user-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and integration with Microsoft products are paramount. Leveraging Vigilant Technologies’ expertise in process optimization and integration, Power Automate Desktop can be a strategic choice for businesses looking to enhance efficiency and innovation in their operations. As the RPA market continues to evolve, Power Automate Desktop is well-positioned to gain popularity among businesses eager to embrace automation in an efficient, scalable, and cost-effective manner.