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Unlocking the Full Potential of License Utilization in Automation

Maximizing RPA license utilization is crucial, requiring strategic planning, inventive solutions, and robust orchestration tools for efficient automation.

Mikael Varle
January 13, 2023
5 min read


We're deep in the age of digital transformation, and automation technologies are being snapped up like hotcakes. However, there's an elephant in the room that many seem to be ignoring. A recent study revealed a shocking gap between the purchase and utilization of automation licenses. Here's a fact to turn your head - while enterprises are shelling out for an average of 110 RPA product licenses, they're only putting 45 of these to work. That's a utilization rate of just 40%.

Here's a fact to turn your head - while enterprises are shelling out for an average of 110 RPA product licenses, they're only putting 45 of these to work. That's a utilization rate of just 40%.

Demystifying License Utilization: Looking Beyond the Numbers

So, why the disparity? Let's take a closer look at what license utilization really means and how we can effectively keep tabs on it. It's not quite as straight forward as it might seem. With a plethora of license models available from RPA vendors, the views on how to maximize the usage of RPA licenses can vary quite dramatically.

When we dig deeper, we find that different organizations have unique ways of assessing license utilization. Some follow an allocation-based approach, assigning licenses to specific processes or departments, and once a license is allocated, it's considered 'utilized'. Other organizations take the approach of running scripts non-stop to get robots working whenever capacity is available. This does indeed lead to high utilization, but it can also result in a lot of unnecessary activity. Then, there are those who measure utilization strictly during business hours, identifying these as peak periods. These are just some examples, and the reality is there's no definitive right or wrong way to measure it. Each organization can choose an approach that best aligns with their needs. However, in order to fully understand the available capacity, it's crucial that we understand how vendors measure license utilization.

Breaking Down License Utilization: An Illustration

Now, let's put this into perspective. Think of license utilization as the span of time a robot is actively working with a license - let's measure this in minutes. Suppose a license is busy doing actual work for 8 hours and 15 minutes in a day. That comes out to a utilization rate of around 35% (495 minutes out of a total 1,440 minutes in a day). Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? However, the real challenge arises when we consider the constraints and limitations that prevent those 495 minutes from maxing out to 1,440. Also, we need to make sure that these 495 minutes consist of actual productive work and not just idle periods or other overheads, such as startup or shutdown time. Our mission, then, is to optimize these factors and make every minute count.

Ideally, we'd want license utilization to be close to 100%. However, getting to this target often proves tricky due to obstacles like restricted business hours, specific business requirements, fluctuations in the number of incoming cases, management of virtual machines, and system availability. These factors complicate the task of making the most of the licenses. So even shooting for the 40% utilization cited by the HFS Research report can seem like a Herculean task, let alone aiming for the elusive 100%.

Mastering Orchestration: The First Step to Enhanced Utilization

So how do you push your utilization close to the 100% mark? Being smart about how you orchestrate and execute your bots is a step in the right direction. Here are a few things you can think about if you're looking to bump up your utilization:

•     Reducing “buffer” time: Runtime for bots varies a lot, which often leads to buffer time being included in our scheduling plans. But this creates many gaps in how efficiently the licenses are used. The key here is to reduce buffer time, ensuring that as soon as one bot job is finished, we can get started on the next.

•     Focus on deadline and dynamic triggering: Due to the nature of how bots have historically been triggered, we've gotten into a habit of planning the start time based on the business deadline. We need to flip this thinking. Instead of asking the business when they need the task done by, we should be asking when the bot can start running and when the task needs to be completed. This typically gives us a bigger window in which to run the bot and allows for more room for optimization.

•     Monitoring utilization: Although it seems evident, many organizations lack detailed data on license utilization. Recognizing peak and off-peak periods is crucial to boosting utilization. With the right insights, you can adjust schedules to maximize utilization while ensuring timely delivery.

These strategies can significantly enhance your utilization, allowing you to derive more value from your existing licenses. Be it developing inventive solutions or leveraging an orchestration tool like Optomo, remember, successful orchestration is the cornerstone of effective utilization management. But note, orchestration isn't solely about amplifying utilization. A robust orchestration tool also aids in reducing case handling time and errors, thereby offering faster, superior service to businesses.

Wrapping Up: The Imperative of Maximizing License Utilization

Inconclusion, as the automation landscape evolves, businesses must elevate their license utilization strategies. With strategic planning and constant monitoring, they can avoid unnecessary expenditure on redundant licenses. The goal should be to harness every ounce of potential from your current investments.

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