Starting your RPA journey can be challenging, and being completely aware of the initial steps in an RPA implementation will set you up for success in achieving automation. One of the world’s leading research and advisory companies, Gartner, has developed a three-step process to help companies like yours begin the RPA journey.
Gartner and the RPA Journey
When starting an RPA journey, the initiatives and focus can sometimes dwindle due to the selection of complex, unfitting use cases, the lack of robust testing procedures, and the inability to select the right RPA vendor. Application leaders, for example, often struggle to determine which RPA vendor and product system are best suited for their needs, leading to failure down the road.
Usually, vendor-driven product demonstrations don't help much in providing in-depth details, which stakeholders require to determine the right product for your business. Unrealistic expectations about use cases and the vendor platform can affect the decision-making of application leaders, as well, and they end up struggling to find the answers to fulfill their needs.
When organizations are taking RPA initiatives, application leaders are often responsible for the architecture, development and integration of the application. To prevent these complexities from occurring, Gartner lined out three solid steps to begin your journey with RPA.
Step 1: Identify, Analyze and Select Use Cases
It's crucial to identify the best use case for your business needs before beginning your journey. One of the biggest challenges is identifying and prioritizing use cases that are suitable with RPA. Use cases require a lot of technical expertise to and business process knowledge to ensure the successful initiation of RPA.
It's essential to ask questions before evaluating use cases for RPA and follow specific guidelines. Application leaders should keep four parameters in mind while determining the most promising use case for RPA.
Stability and Predictability
Questions to ask yourself:
- What type of candidate process does your organization follows; stable, standardized or predictable?
- Is the process part of the routine, and are there any significant changes coming up in the process?
- Is subjective decision-making involved in the process?
- Prioritize processes that are stable, structured and rule-based
- Ensure there are low chances of exceptions
Volume and Scale
Questions to ask yourself:
- What is the frequency and volume of the process that requires automation?
- Is it logically possible to break down the entire process into segments?
- Will automation lead to cost-saving, avoid risk, and increase revenue?
- List out potential benefits
- Choose high-volume and standardized processes to amplify benefits against the automation cost
Questions to ask yourself:
- How complex is the process?
- How many steps does the process have, and how many applications can be accessed?
- Can the bot perform complicated tasks?
- How many times will the UI of the application platform change while using the bot?
- There should not be more than 20 steps in a process
- It shouldn't involve over three application platforms
- The preferred UI and method should not change very often
Step 2: Shortlist Suitable Vendors
To choose the right RPA vendor, one must have knowledge and understanding of the broad RPA market. They need to analyze the different offers and value propositions by these vendors. At the same time, it's vital to know that no vendor can provide all RPA capabilities equally across an organization to cater for its functional, technical and operational needs. To implement RPA broadly across an organization, careful selection criteria and coordination are required.
Application leaders must make choices between the functionalities and the features that are excellent and better than others. However, this selection entirely depends on the priorities of an organization. According to Gartner, the following are necessary to start your RPA journey successfully. Application leaders can refer to this list to access what vendors are offering:
- Integration features
- Automation development
- Dashboard or control panel
- Enterprise IT software development lifecycle
- Hosting and cloud
- Security and GRC
- Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), along with natural language processing (NLP)
- Optical character recognition (OCR)
- Intelligent document processing (IDP) and process discovery
Application leaders can also:
- Prioritize low-code/no-code capabilities to achieve automation development if they want to begin RPA with developers who do not know to code
- Prioritize cloud-based hosting capabilities for different deployment options
- Prioritize OCR and IDP capabilities if the use cases require reading of unstructured documents
Step 3: Test Shortlisted Vendors’ Products
Once the products are finalized, application leaders need to test the products from their shortlisted RPA vendors and focus on the following:
- Running a POC for high-value, short-development use cases
- Noting detailed information of a focused plan and a list of desired outcomes
- Guiding vendors and staying involved in the POC process
- Clearing outline and functionality of each use case
- Testing the use cases by involving enterprise data in POC demonstration
- Providing relevant data two weeks before the date of the actual POC so that the vendor has enough time to prepare
- Inviting stakeholders from essential business areas to review the POC
- Ensuring the feedback format to bring more consistency to the evaluation