Organizations are increasingly turning to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to improve productivity, operational efficiency, quality, customer experience, and customer satisfaction. It is now part of a broader move towards automation. Yet, RPA often remains misunderstood, as few have experience building large-scale, organization-wide RPA capabilities.
The implementation of RPA and AI systems in companies is still in its infancy. Only 15 percent of companies consider themselves to be mature in their use of RPA, and only 5 percent in AI. Companies are still far from utilizing the vast opportunities provided by automation.
As a result, organizations remain vulnerable to costly mistakes in striving to realize the significant productivity outcomes and transformational benefits of RPA. How do we avoid these costly mistakes? This article puts the spotlight on a brief list of Dos and Don’ts to consider and discuss before formally engaging in RPA activities.
- Align the RPA strategy with digital and business strategy to ensure shared objectives and expectations.
- Get support from the executive level, within the business units and from IT to business stakeholders.
- Select the right vendor based on the organization’s needs, goals, and resources
- Centralize RPA efforts to share information cross-organizationally and develop expertise rapidly.
- Brainstorm, foresee and mitigate roadblocks and temporary failures during RPA development.
- Augment employees by automating all mundane and straightforward aspects of their jobs.
- Organize a Center of Excellence to govern RPA efforts to mitigate risk.
- Understand what RPA can and cannot do, and select the right processes (such as repetitive, rule-based, high volume, etc .) for automation.
- Select processes with minimal or infrequent change to reduce bot maintenance costs
- Redesign the process to maximize business value and automation efficiency
- Set up a change management plan to smooth the transition pre-, during, and post-automation.
- Prioritize security to keep your data safe through automation and appropriate security policies.
- Attempt to identify all reasonable business and technical errors or exceptions that could arise to reduce maintenance needs
- Thoroughly test automation in controlled environments before broader deployment.
- Monitor automation after deployment to identify unanticipated exceptions and harden the bot
- Conduct regularly scheduled IT system testing for bots
- Set RPA strategies independent of the strategy of the organization or forget the strategy altogether.
- Focus on getting only business unit or IT support to support RPA efforts, as the RPA strategy is ultimately closely aligned with business strategy and needs support from the top down.
- Choose a vendor purely on cost.
- Silo automation efforts among departments or geographies
- Set expectations so high as to negatively affect RPA efforts when roadblocks or failures arise.
- Expect RPA to replace human workers entirely.
- Leave the bots ungoverned when the maintenance and security needs quickly arise with scale.
- Assume that automation is appropriate because the process appears to be ‘simple.’
- Automate a process that will be obsolete in the near-term, or runs on a system or application that will be replaced shortly
- Automate the process without evaluating it first, as it may be inefficient, cost-prohibitive, or non-standardized across departments
- Forget about security when designing and building bots.
- Assume bots will intuitively and automatically be able to handle unanticipated exceptions without proper designing
- Scale aggressively and expect automation adoption to be high and process execution to be error-free without a proper plan.
- Assume after initial testing that automation cannot fail.
- Expect bots to run flawlessly without maintenance needs once deployed.