A Checklist to Support Knowledge Workers in Implementing Robotic Process Automation

Universität Ulm

Fakultätsöffentliche Vorstellung des Promotionsvorhabens (Grüner Vortrag), Judith Wewerka, Ort: Online, Datum: 13.12.2021, Zeit: 15:00 Uhr

Companies require an increasing degree of process automation to stay competitive in their markets. A promising approach is provided by Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which aims to automate business processes or parts of them using software robots that mimic human interactions. Planning and managing RPA software development, however, is a challenging task as every software is unique having individual challenges and characteristics. Further, it is common that RPA projects are implemented by knowledge workers without IT background. As RPA projects often fail, we aim to understand the challenges to sustainably support RPA project implementation by knowledge workers.

This talk presents the results of developing a checklist to support knowledge workers in implementing RPA projects. Checklists are a simple concept to cover all relevant tasks and have proven to work in various domains. The research is based on design science methodology. In particular, we conduct interviews and distribute questionnaires to understand the effects that can be achieved with RPA projects. Through an exploratory case study, we further identify challenges in RPA projects that lead to undesired effects. The current state-of-the-art is analyzed by a systematic mapping study. Using the resulting framework, we determine challenges that have not been addressed in literature so far. The latter include user acceptance as well as human-robot interaction problems as bots take over tasks previously done by humans. To tackle the challenges, we design and empirically validate an RPA user acceptance model. Furthermore, we investigate desired human-robot interactions empirically. For both research projects, we include RPA users from the automotive industry as participants in the study. The findings are used to derive the checklist, which is then evaluated in four evaluation steps considering users from different industries and with different backgrounds.