10 Critical Tenets for Setting an Organization on RPA Success Path
Robotic process automation (RPA) has taken service organizations by storm. It promises to be the biggest change lever for back-office operations and customer-facing processes. With bots coming in, business leaders witness a significant surge in the productivity of business users. Besides that, they can free up their staff for other activities focused on providing customer servicing and driving revenue.
Here’s a quick rundown of 10 critical factors that go in choosing the right RPA technology and can affect the success of your RPA initiative(s):
Be clear on why RPA over other technological options.
There’s a wide range of disruptive technological options available in the market. However, you must have concrete reasons to zero down on RPA over others. Instead of considering RPA as the be-all and end-all of your digital journey, think why RPA? Identify if it would be for reduced FTEs, increased throughput, improved task level productivity or reduced process cycle times.
Understand if broken processes are the real problem.
RPA is not meant to connect broken processes or silos within an organization. Thus, if there are situations where you have disjointed or mismanaged processes, it’s a case for a broader BPM approach. In simpler terms, do not headfirst to get bots up and running. Instead, embrace an agile approach.
Emphasis must be on identifying the right processes.
Robotic process automation is all about processes. So, first identify the right process and analyze the core processes. Understand the reason and relation for deploying bots in a specific process. Apparently, a set of structured, error-prone human, repetitive and voluminous tasks warrant automation. And, that’s when you might get lost in the general characteristics of processes and lose sights of specifics.
Measure and simulate; benchmark the process.
The ability to measure the key process parameters is critical. Measure the overall cycle time, throughput, task level traits, and their impact on the business performance. Simultaneously, you need to be able to simulate the process with various ‘what-if’ scenarios. Assess if the proposed improvements from RPA would impact your business performance to the desired levels of results predicted.
Account for exceptions in the process.
To be able to manage business and technology exceptions, while triggering business users wherever human intervention is necessary, is a vital component of RPA. This means errors, arising due to technical flaws, business exceptions or task level complexities can be identified, triggered and often, resolved in many cases. If it is not possible, or the process demands immediate human actions, such cases get seamlessly transferred to a separate queue and are visible in reports. To make this happen, you’d need to aid RPA with the process level exception handling mechanism through a BPM platform that can define a fallback option in the form of human intervention or through rules management.
Establish visibility to facilitate administration of process and bots.
Dealing with hundred bots is still manageable without elaborate monitoring mechanism. However, as the scale upsurges (where the real benefits accrue), the overall mechanism demands deployment of robust and scalable monitoring. Such monitoring should encompass human activities, bot statistics, exceptions, queue monitoring, process level and queue level alerts and overall process statistics.
Don’t underestimate auditing, security and compliance aspects.
In a process, activities are distributed among humans, bots, and backend systems. Some exceptions also end-up being managed by humans. Hence, in the absence of a broader process management mechanism, compliance teams will have to rely on data coming from disjointed systems and link them together. However, in a BPM-based RPA technology, all audit trails (comprising user level, bot level and most importantly, item level) can be easily accessed via a single unified system.
Ponder on horizontal and vertical scalability.
Scalability must be considered beyond task level multiplication. The real impact of RPA comes from vertical scaling through bot cloning upon the increase in volumes. With BPM platform that manages the process at an elevated level, you can conveniently rearrange, realign the process by splitting it and adding bots, of a myriad variety, in parallel steps.
Look for platform-based RPA for enterprise-grade automation.
Speed, extensibility, reliability, and user-friendliness are the cornerstones of an ideal RPA platform architecture. Different use cases require different types of bots. The basic digitization or swivel chair operations require relatively simple types of bots, which rely on record-script-playback mechanism. However, enhanced digitization requires rule management and data extraction capabilities. Hence, you must look for platform-based RPA solutions, which can provide you all of these through the ability to include various types of bots, such as simple, complex, imaging & extraction, or cognitive, and others.
Have a sound understanding of the prerequisites of effective RPA.
RPA is not a magic bullet to either fix your organization’s sky-scraping costs or maximize operational efficiency. RPA, in essence, is a process exercise. Process orchestration at the business unit level is what drives the overall business value to which incremental leverage can be provided by RPA. Thus, you must take into consideration how RPA fits into the overall process management.
In a nutshell
To grow your business faster, achieve greater throughput, foster happier knowledge workers and satisfied customers and accelerate your digital transformation journey, you should leverage RPA with a robust BPM platform.
Senior Vice President (Sales & Marketing / Products) Newgen Software