Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots are exceptionally efficient at mimicking human behavior in performing repetitive, rules-based tasks ranging from copying and pasting texts to logging into applications and uploading documents and far more complex tasks when used with other advanced technologies. RPA creates flexibility, scalability, and control which in turn leads to better accuracy, reduced cost and greater customer satisfaction. A great way to get started with RPA is by creating an RPA pilot.
According to Gartner, 90% of large organizations globally would have deployed some form of RPA by the end of 2022. Interestingly, it is also predicted that by 2024 half of RPA clients would be business buyers from outside IT. "
Getting Started in Your RPA Journey
RPA offers an abundance of benefits to businesses, but the initial implementation of the technology needs to be handled carefully as there is no standardized solution that can just be taken off the shelf and implemented. Initial RPA projects have a failure rate of 30% to 50% according to E&Y which might seem alarming but the same report suggests that these failures are a result of organizations’ misunderstandings and misaligned methodologies rather than the technology. Every business has its own set of challenges and for successful implementation, an RPA strategy should be developed taking specific challenges into account.
An RPA journey consists of several steps including planning, resource management, setting up timeframes, and ensuring compliance but one of the most important steps is getting started.
Before implementing RPA, businesses need to understand how feasible automation is to their overall operations. Subject Matter Experts can evaluate processes and present a comprehensive assessment of how the processes should be automated. RPA experts on the other hand can carry on a technical assessment on how the logic, rules, and programming should be made to ensure the success of the project. A complete RPA implementation strategy that outlines different stages including project planning, development and deployment and support and maintenance can ensure that RPA saves time and cost, streamlines operations as well as justifies the ROI.
Understanding what processes can be automated efficiently is an important part of beginning the RPA journey. Generally, rule-based, and repetitive tasks are considered fit for automation as RPA bots can perform the same work much more efficiently. But arbitrarily selecting every repetitive task for automation isn't effective and can impact the project adversely. Several factors need to be considered and agreed upon by the domain and RPA expert who can determine if the implementation in those areas is technically possible.
Process mining is the automated discovery of “as-is-process” based on data. Process mining software sits on top of the IT system and uses data from event logs to provide insights into business processes. This data-driven approach can help identify processes that are best suited for automation and avoid automating processes that are ill-suited for RPA.
Identify RPA Tools and Partners
It's important to identify the right tools and partners before embarking on an RPA implementation. Organizations need to evaluate their requirements, budget, and decide on what kind of tools can best serve their purpose and justify the investment. Organizations need to decide if an RPA implementation can be done by the in-house team, or by an external vendor.
In the case of the latter, selecting the right automation partner can be crucial in the RPA implementation strategy. A competent RPA vendor or partner brings with them expertise and in-depth understanding of RPA implementation and guides the organization on how to use RPA correctly and efficiently. When selecting partners, organizations must ensure that the pricing models of the vendors are aligned to automation objectives. The partner develops bots and infrastructure as well as provides long-term support and maintenance.
Creating a Pilot Project
To get an initial understanding of how RPA works, the benefits, and the risks that it entails, a pilot project of the RPA implementation can be carried out. This can be a small end-to-end solution automating selected processes to develop a proof of concept. Performance changes can be measured during this test, and this offers a learning experience for everyone involved. Stakeholders can gain insight into how the implementation would work when scaled up and the cost savings that RPA can provide. Employees can get familiar with RPA bots and have firsthand experience during the pilot project. RPA pilot projects can also determine if the tools and partners are effective and meet expectations.
RPA can be immensely beneficial for most businesses which is why it is being adopted throughout all industries. It can bring in new sets of capabilities to the organization and accelerate digital transformation. Thus, it is necessary to ensure the initial steps in an RPA journey are well thought out and strategized.