What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
A software technology that helps automate repetitive, rule-based business processes guided by business logic and structured inputs. RPA solutions help businesses process workflow faster and more efficiently, freeing the human workforce from their mundane tasks to focus on more strategic work.
Business leaders across the globe have been harping about how automation can transform businesses and how enterprises could leverage
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to lead and win. However, the implementation of RPA hasn’t panned out the way everyone imagined it to be. More than 50% of enterprises have failed to make the best of automation and get returns on their investment. While the reasons could be many, the success of RPA is determined at various levels, from planning to execution to improvement. There are various steps in these levels that impact the implementation program.
Here are ten steps that help ensure the success of RPA implementation in an enterprise.
- Centre of Excellence (CoE): Scattered responsibilities often result in half-hearted implementation, with no one held accountable or responsible. It is therefore crucial to form a CoE with representatives from all divisions to bring forth the perspectives of different departments of the organization that would directly or indirectly be impacted by the implementation program.
- Change management & communication: Change management plays a vital role in the success of RPA implementation. Organizations that fail to take employees’ concerns and insecurities into account while deciding to board the automation journey often find their employees not accepting the change or reluctantly doing so, causing implementation failure. When the benefits of RPA are communicated to the employees, it helps get their buy-in and enables a smoother transition.
- Governance Council: A Governance Council including the key stakeholders of the program oversees all aspects of the CoE. This council must conduct weekly and monthly progress meetings to set the right expectations and intervene at appropriate times for the program’s success.
- RPA solution and partner selection: Both RPA tools and the implementation partner are determinants of a successful RPA implementation. Therefore, it is essential to consider factors such as tool capabilities & usability, scalability, roadmap strength, ecosystem support, talent availability, and support for AI technologies before selecting the tool and the partner.
- Processes identification: Identifying the ‘right’ process to automate requires setting up formal processes and ROI frameworks. This includes critical steps such as Process discovery, business case approval, actual automation, quality assurance, user acceptance, deployment, and pre-and post-cost factors.
- Building a robust pipeline: Identifying a team of Automation & AI consultants with experience in ‘Process Discovery’ and knowledge of the RPA tool capabilities is a must to build a robust automation pipeline. There are two approaches to identify the right processes to automate: the bottom-up and the top-down.
a. In the bottom-up approach, business process owners share nominations of processes that are time-consuming, repetitive, and a pain to execute.
b. In the top-down approach, the department heads are aligned on the overall automation program, its objectives, and how it works.
- Conducting a detailed process analysis: The detailed process analysis/discovery is performed for all the processes that clear the first level of qualification. This involves a deep dive into the process to get a step-by-step view of the process, typically done with a process SME. These sessions can be recorded to capture process nuances. At this stage, it is also necessary to understand processes nitty-gritty and complexity involved from an automation feasibility analysis and estimation standpoint.
- Business case creation and approval: A detailed business case that captures the overall cost of automation, including tool and implementation cost, the benefits, and potential ROI from automation, must be presented to the CoE Governance Council, which will verify the details and give the go-ahead for the implementation.
- Go live & maintenance: The Go Live involves a team of RPA experts deploying the bots to carry out process automation and carefully monitoring the implementation to intervene in case required. Therefore, process automation should not be restricted to unattended automation alone. It should also include attended automation or hybrid automation, which involves switching control between a human and a robot and extending it to automating use cases involving human cognizance.
- Leveraging Intelligent Automation: Once the basic automation is in place, it can be taken to the next level by introducing advanced technologies like AI & ML. They can also significantly expand the scope for automation towards achieving Intelligent Automation or hyper-automation.
The objective of Robotic Process Automation is multi-faceted. On the one hand, it enables the enterprise to achieve cost optimization, efficiency, and greater ROI. On the other hand, it empowers the employees with improved productivity, agility, and engagement. As a process that transforms both humans and machines, RPA strengthens the organization’s workflow with the power of technologies. Hence it is the combined effort of people and process that makes RPA implementation a success.
If you are struggling to build a successful Enterprise Automation Program, download the whitepaper to learn how a successful automation program results in better revenue growth and significant cost rationalization and makes your organization even more live, agile, and intelligent.