RPA Journey Phases – How to Build a Program from Scratch

Organizations wanting to start an RPA program within their organization may not know where to begin. We’ll cover the phases of the RPA journey, and what you’ll need to get started.

RPA Journey Phases – “Going 0 to 60”

Many organizations today recognize the need and urgency to implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology within their repetitive processes. However, these organizations, especially those less tech-savvy, may find themselves at a stand still and unable to get their RPA journey up and running.

Contrary to popular belief, businesses just starting out don’t need to have software automation experience to begin their journey, and they have the capabilities to start a program from scratch by following a set of phase-related guidelines. Recently, RPA Today hosted a webinar outlining these steps, from the expectation phase to the build and implementation phase, which we’ll dive into here.

Setting the Right Expectations

If you’re an organization at the beginning stages of a RPA implementation, you’re looking to digitally transform your processes. This involves placing repetitive, paper-based, mundane tasks in the hands of software bots, leaving innovative and thought-provoking initiatives to the human workforce. However, it’s in this stage where RPA beginners might find themselves making the following mistakes, which you should actively avoid:

  • Thinking RPA is a fix-all solution – RPA cannot and should not be viewed as an “easy button” solution. Further, RPA will not fix an already broken process just because it’s implemented. While RPA can automate end-to-end processes through hyperautomation, it’s crucial to gain a developed understanding of the process at hand before the implementation begins, and where/how RPA as a tool will come into play.
  • Forgetting about other potential technologies at play – RPA will help you understand your processes better than you ever have before, even if the said process is going to avoid human intervention in the coming future. However, don’t forget about other technologies that can also come into play for the non-workflow portions of this process, such as handling unstructured data, and enhancing data analytics practices.

Involve the Right People

Of all the RPA journey phases, implementing your Center of Excellence (CoE) is one of the most important components. This involves encompassing the right champions around your newly implemented RPA process, which should involve both IT and business resources. When implementing your CoE, here are some core fundamentals to remember:

  • Build an opportunity assessment framework – Build a framework of your business processes, and note those you wish to automate.

  • Engage your business partners –Engage your partners on a frequent basis during the development process, and ensure every member understands their role.

  • Measure the ROI – When evaluating what processes need to be automated, question the investment through and through.

Define What Success Looks Like

Without first defining what a successful RPA implementation looks like, the automation journey will feel more like an aimless drift at sea. While success value will vary, you can define it through two aspects – business value and technical viability.

How are your end-goal business successes going to affect your IT practices going forward and vice versa? What will the unison be like moving forward within your CoE, primarily between your business development champions and your IT support staff? These are important aspects to consider.

Missed the webinar? Watch the recording!

Select the Right RPA Software

Perhaps one of the most crucial (and long-term impactful) phases of the RPA journey is to select the right software. While many RPA providers can offer the same benefits, a distinction needs to be made on user experience, support, and functionality. Here are some examples of RPA providers:

  • UiPath: A leading provider of Robotic Process Automation technology for both business and IT. UiPath places an especially heavy focus on the user experience within their developer studio through their drag-and-drop platform functionality.

  • Microsoft Power AutomatePower Automate allows users to construct time-saving workflows into everything from individual tasks to large-scale systems with seamless integration using hundreds of prebuilt connectors.

Select the Right Process

After you’ve set the right expectations, built your internal CoE, defined success stipulations, and selected an RPA provider, you’re ready for the final step before a full-scale integration. When selecting a candidate for automation, it’s important to start with a low-risk process, which will have little to no drawbacks should the initial integration not go as planned. This is why Smartbridge always recommends the creation of a Demand Management Playbook to ensure the right process is chosen next for automation purposes.

Further, expect to fail fast through this implementation, which goes back to setting the right expectations. Layout the business value and examine the process details throughout this phase of your journey. As said before, you will get to know your process more intimately during and after an RPA implementation. Limit RPA application use and interference at first to allow for enough assessment time.

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