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The Ultimate Guide to RPA as a Service (RPAaaS) in 2024

The global RPA market is expected to reach $11 billion by 2027, and more businesses are adopting RPA as a part of their digital transformation strategy. However, RPA infrastructure can be costly and require hiring tech staff to program and maintain the bots. The desire to increase solution scalability and reduce costs has driven a demand for bot as a service (BaaS) solutions including RPA as a service (RPAaaS).

What is RPA as a service?

RPA is a software that leverages computer vision, OCR, and NLP to replicate human interactions with computers to automate the execution of repetitive rule-based processes. RPA as a service (RPAaaS) is the practice of outsourcing business task automation to service providers to leverage RPA benefits and capabilities on the cloud without installment or licensing requirements.

What are the benefits of RPA as a service?

RPA as a service (RPAaaS) has the following benefits:

  • Cost reduction:
    • Reduction of infrastructure cost as the RPA solutions is implemented on the cloud
    • No licensing or hosting costs
    • No need to hire a tech expert to program and maintain the bots
    • Pay-as-you-go pricing options
  • Faster deployment as no installment is required
  • Automated software and security updates and maintenance

What is the difference between deploying RPA on-premise and RPAaaS?

Below is a comprehensive explanation of the differences between on-premise RPA and RPAaaS, and the pros and cons of each method:

 RPA as a ServiceOn-Premise / Private Cloud
Short term cost reduction and faster ROI, however costs can be higher in the long run
More effective for long-term cost savings,however, it includes unexpected and hard-to-track costs (e.g. FTEs, IT support)
Deployment timeFaster to implementSlower than RPAaaS
PlatformsLeverages proven platform implemented and tested by vendor More platform options
User access and authorizationSimplifies access and user account setupFollows organization policies for authorization 
IT dependencyLess IT dependencyRequires more IT time to setup
SecurityDependent on vendor security choicesEasier to integrate with 3rd party security solution providers
MaintenanceDone by vendor automaticallyRelies on an in-house IT team
Pros and cons of RPA deployment methods

What are the challenges of RPAaaS?

Although RPA as a service is gaining more popularity and exposure, it still faces some challenges, such as:

  • Data privacy: When businesses rely on an RPA service provider, they expose their business, employee, and client data to a third-party who can see or even edit the data as they wish.
    • However, there are several data privacy regulations which address third-party credentials and permissions, including the GDPR and CCPA. And some service providers document their compliance to regulations by acquiring certificates like ISO 27001 or SOC 2.
    • Businesses can also leverage homomorphic encryption which enables them to manipulate the data on the cloud in an encrypted manner, and perform computations on encrypted data without first decrypting it with a secret key.
  • Cloud issues: Cloud-based services often struggle with adoption and downtime issues:
    • Although the spread of COVID-19 has increased the reliance on cloud computing, many businesses have yet to adopt cloud computing, and still rely on on-premise environments to store and manipulate their data. Businesses who wish to leverage RPAaaS need to have their data migrated and set up on the cloud in order to be automated and processed.
    • In 2020, 25% of worldwide businesses reported that the average cost of server downtime ranges between $300K-$400K an hour. Cloud downtime disrupts all processes that being performed on the cloud, and no RPAaaS provider can promise a no-downtime with their solution.

Recommendations: Choose the right RPA as a service provider based on their compliance with regulations, assurance of data privacy, and ability to tackle RPA and cloud issues. Feel free to check our data-driven list of RPA vendors which ranks solutions based on business-significant metrics.

For more on RPA

To explore RPA use cases in business and applications different domains, feel free to read our articles:

To explore the RPA marketplace and vendors, feel free to read our in-depth article RPA marketplaces: In-depth Guide.

If you want to explore the details of RPA technologies, download our in-depth whitepaper on the topic:

Get RPA Whitepaper

And if you believe your business will benefit from an automation solution, check out our hub for automation solutions which includes top RPA and BPM solution providers and consultants.

And we can guide you through the process to find the right vendor for your business:

Find the Right Vendors

This article was drafted by former AIMultiple industry analyst Alamira Jouman Hajjar.

Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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