Implementing robotic process automation can follow a smooth path towards successful deployment and tangible benefits if you follow some recommendations. The first step is crucial, namely, choosing the business processes that are best suited for automation.
You should then question your company’s need to work with a specialised RPA consultant, who can build, implement and manage the automation projects for you. You can find here some relevant suggestions to guide your choice of an RPA partner.
Preparedness with test plans and fallback plans, an ‘RPA sponsor’, or directly addressing employees’ resistance to automation due to understandable fears of job loss, are other ingredients of the RPA ‘recipe for success’. We invite you to have a further look at our article in order to equip yourself with a larger set of best practices for maximum gain out of digitisation via RPA.
It’s worth noting that the suggestions for a beneficial RPA implementation from the above-mentioned article are still perfectly applicable in the present time, despite significant changes in the automation market.
Two years ago, only 70% of the companies surveyed by the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence were allocating increased funds for investment in RPA in 2018.
“In May 2019, among the 502 cross-industry executives that responded to The Economist Intelligence Unit, as many as 90.8% were already using automation, and more than half were using it extensively.”
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This evolution justifies the expression “the automation maturity curve” used in The Economist study to describe the automation dynamics during the last couple of years.
In this article we will be focusing on operational best practices for implementing RPA, which means that we aim to provide you some more applied suggestions for making the most out of software robots deployment.
Essential operational best practices for implementing RPA
1. Ensure an integrated, coherent vision of the road towards RPA deployment
A robotic Centre of Excellence (CoE) might be what is needed to provide the realistic forethought that is able to contain the automation journey beyond the first steps of implementing RPA. The RPA CoE is a multidisciplinary team; besides IT leaders, it includes C-suite, marketing, and department representatives
It centralises the development of the automation project, and thereby provides not just short-term process automation but also a coherent longer-term plan, maintaining the automation standards across the implementation stage, and further, towards scaling-oriented deployment.
The CoE is a governance entity that fosters the assimilation of software robots into your company’s workflow and into the employees’ perception of the workflow. In fact, it is the source for the adoption of operational best practices, helping you to coordinate change management and accountability.
2. Do not lose track of complementary technologies to RPA
When artificial intelligence is combined with traditional automation tools, it enables the automation of increasingly complex processes. The more complex a process, the more likely that its automation requires joint work from RPA and AI.
Personalised offers and promotions, internal communication monitoring, customer queries, risk exposure monitoring, personalised financial advice, etc., are but a few examples of the more intricate processes that would benefit from the joint usage of RPA and other emerging technologies like, e.g., artificial intelligence, business process management, optical character recognition, process orchestration, machine learning, or natural language processing.
It is also the RPA Centre of Excellence can serve as the interface with other digital technologies at work in your company, e.g., chat bots, advanced analytics, and thus pave the way towards intelligent automation.
3. Make a savvy choice of the business processes to be passed on to software robots
Everything should start from attempting to answer what you need automation for, for which processes, and in which departments. The wide range of RPA application areas and the ever-growing success stories that demonstrate its potential, may make it rather difficult to pick those that are likely to yield most favourable outcomes when automated.
The robotic Centre of Excellence, with their long-term perspective of the company’s objectives, may be helpful in making this goal-oriented choice. Upon identifying routine, high volume, stable processes with measurable savings, as well as the pitfalls of manual processing that can be more easily avoided with automation, the best-fit candidates for RPA will be the tasks with the most significant effect on accelerating and amplifying the return on investment. With this knowledge in mind, it will be easier to prioritise the most relevant use cases for the attainment of your business goals.
4. Manage a fruitful collaboration between IT and business departments
For RPA projects to be successful, there is a stringent need to involve IT and business leaders in a form of partnership structured by a wise division of labour. The business people (who know best their processes and are responsible for operations performance) might contribute to making an effective choice of automatable processes and, further, manage the robots’ behaviour directed towards achievement of clearly set financial goals.
The IT team might focus on software delivery that is consistent with the technical infrastructure of the company, secure end-to-end performance, or ensure the highest level of cyber security. In contrast to the beginning of automation, consistent IT support has become a must for sound and effective RPA implementation, and to an even greater extent for subsequent enterprise-wide scaling. Appropriate bot updates and application changes also require that both sides leave aside the historically combative attitude, and engage in joint action for the pursuit of common goals.
These operational best practices for RPA implementation are meant to help you leverage the full benefits of automation. RPA equals optimal use of resources: when routine, monotonous tasks can be performed quasi error free by software robots, your employees are freed to use their expertise for higher-value jobs that require creativity, communication abilities, and other human specific skills.
Consequently, RPA empowers your team, thus raising their level of job satisfaction and increasing productivity. Bots’ scalability allows your company to be more flexible and adapt to current demands, without being tied to predefined workload schemes. Quasi error-free software robots eliminate costly mistakes from the workflow and make a significant contribution to more cost-effective business operations.
Last but not least, implementing RPA along the lines of our recommended best practices saves you both time and money, since you can go about it without setting up an API, via easy to use Graphical User Interfaces that don’t require much technical expertise.