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 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/implementation phase, which we’ll dive into here.
Setting the Right Expectations
If you’re an organization at the beginning stages of an 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 that you ever have before, even if 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 is your end-goal business successes going to effect your IT practices going forward, and visa 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.
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, 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 user experience within their developer studio through their drag-and-drop platform functionality.
Automation Anywhere:Automation Anywhere aims to extend their intelligent digital workforce solutions to various industries worldwide. New users need little to no programming language to start creating bots, streamlining their organizations journey to maximize human capitol and on-board a digital workforce.
Microsoft Power Automate: Power 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 a 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.
Further, expect to fail fast through this implementation (which goes back to setting the right expectations). Lay out 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 AFTER and DURING an RPA implementation. Limit RPA application use and interference at first to allow for enough assessment time.
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