Like all other digitization efforts, implementing RPA requires a well-thought-out business case and a systematic approach to implementation. While RPA is arguably the fastest route to process automation, diving in blindly will lead to adverse results, even for the most ideal use cases. Below are some of the critical considerations for organizations implementing RPA for the first time.
All new technologies come with a set of implementation challenges, and RPA is no exception.
Create a solid case for automation
Automation should for all intents and purposes serve, not only as a replacement of what a human being was doing with a faster software robot. Instead, the case for automation should be firmly grounded on a fundamental process rethink.
Automation efforts need to be integrated with the organization’s BPM and re-engineering programs that serve as feeders to the automation business case. Cases for automation should include a critical review of how the organization can better use its human workforce to provide better customer service while the digital workforce takes care of its repetitive high-volume tasks.
Select the Right Implementation partner
With a solid case for automation, selecting an RPA implementation partner is critical to the success of the effort. Most RPA software vendors have implementation partners with extensive knowledge of the internal workings of the technologies behind RPA. The role for the implementation partner needs to be clearly defined, including demonstrating poof of value, facilitating strategy discussions, defining the RPA governance and delivery models, creating RPS centers of excellence, leading the implementation efforts, and facilitating the training of resources. Implementation partners bring with them a host of lessons learned from the previous implementation that will shorten the learning journey for organizations thereby fast-racking the route to success.
Start Small, Think Big
RPA remains a fairly new technology for most organizations and will be for a few more years to come. It is vital that organizations start with small steps that deliver high value. Even though RPA has been proven, conducting a pilot or a proof of concept with core processes, where substantial value can be achieved, is a key step towards proving value to stakeholders. It is also a way to understand key opportunities to transform the end-to-end digital landscape as well as capture and define specific benefits to be achieved. The pilot project helps to refine the organization’s understanding of RPA, its expectations, the required infrastructure and governance required for success.
The full value of RPA is derived when it is deployed across an enterprise’s full breadth of automation suitable processes and the pilot is conducted with the enterprise-wide vision in mind. Organizations need to think beyond just the pilot but define a target operating model, an innovative and transformational roadmap that changes the way of delivering consistent and superior customer experiences. Furthermore, scaling up quickly and maintaining the momentum is key for the organization to get its return on investment faster.
Fail Fast, Re-Learn
All new technologies come with a set of challenges, misplaced expectations, misalignment between business and IT stakeholders, and RPA is no exception. Not all processes are ideal for automation, and not all stakeholders are receptive to automation. Cultural and employee resistance, change management, choosing the right processes, organisational risk appetite and technical uncertainty are a few of some of the challenges organisations ned to get past as quickly as possible otherwise they can derail the program easily.
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Part 4 will explore how organizations can use RPA to rapidly automate processes and to reduce operation cost, improve efficiency and increase flexibility.