I am starting a business in RPA (robotic process automation). I know what companies have paid consulting firms to get the job done in projects I’ve done for them. I also know what companies generally pay employees to do it.
I am curious in a general sense on peoples’ opinions. If you currently spent $1mm/yr to to a task or process, what would you pay to have it automated?

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Depending on what it is, I would hire two hungry analysts at $150k each plus a $200k program manager to automate it in-house. The fact that the solution to the problem is RPA, I’m certain it can be automatable using code or another in house designed tool/process.

And no, I would not pay $500k for a solution that would cost more to maintain, plus licensing fees on top.


I think I’m general, hiring people in house is great. The big question would be, are there more automation projects after this one? If not, you’re paying people to sit around.

Those are great salaries and can’t argue what you said. I haven’t seen anyone actually pay that much for those skills in-house. Consulting firms are a different beast. I will however add, licensing costs for automation are only worth while if you’re looking for no-code/low-code, which I’ve oddly seen people have to hire people with experience, which to me defeats the purpose. I prefer building things in open-source software.

I’d pay $1M one time to save $1M/year in perpetuity.

It’s not uncommon for the setup of a value-adding system/tool/process to cost more than a year of using the actual product.

- SaaS Services Person (so yeah I’m biased)


Bias or not, I wish everything thought that way!
So far I’ve only seen what companies are willing to pay consulting companies for it. Which is a good amount of money, but I think the overall value should be higher. Granted, when they get a price, they don’t know what’s involved to staff for it or how long it’ll take. So they hire me as a contractor after. The longest it’s taken me so far is a month to complete a project. I can tell you, if I made as much as the consulting firm in that one month time, I’d be a happy happy man.



Even if you automate, you will need people to support and maintain the automation. You need to factor in the total cost of ownership, and the number of years for ROI


Maintenance isn’t as hard as people say. Things don’t just randomly break. It’s either the inputs that change or they want different outputs, both would be additional work to original contract, and would be considered separate work. Also, could be software is upgraded which would be a few minutes of work on my end. I’d give one-year free maintenance and anything after that, I have someone they can hire for cheap, if they don’t want to maintain in-house. I’d leave it up to the business to make the decision that they consider best for them, but the first year is covered.

Its very rare that it's that clean cut of savings, and RPA is very competitive. Id buy the software and have someone figure it out of the savings were that easy.

But if its truly going to save them 1 million in actually dollars, do it on a percentage basis - I'll take 25% of the savings for the next five years.


From my experience, there are ones that are complicated where you get diminishing returns and it’s not worth automating all of it. Most of the ones I have been a part of have been pretty clean. The low-code / no-code automation is getting more expensive. For example, last job I did, they wanted through Microsoft Power Automate. I saved them approx. $100k/year extra from paying for all the flies they’d need and the additional costs (majority) from using the AI builder by building it in Python. It certainly makes sense sometimes to buy the software, but in this case would’ve cost them way more.

Determining cost gets weird when you are looking at cost opportunity savings instead of actual cost savings. Anyway, 25% for the next five years. That’s interesting. Thank you!

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