RPA – From zero to hundred in less than 100 days
- Posted by: David Watters
- Category: Best Practices
Utilising the Robotic Process Automation (or RPA) is easy, they say. The projects are fast and lean. In just a few weeks you can automate practically any routine in your organisation. Finally, we can say goodbye to IT budgeting and long IT wish lists that never get implemented.
Is it really that straightforward? Well, yes and no.
In search of replication and scalability
Implementing automation scripts is easy and fast – once you have first found the right tasks to automate and decided what will happen after the automation: how will the teams work in collaboration with virtual workforce and what kind of new tasks will the human take on once they are no longer burdened by trivial and boring routines.
Also, before RPA becomes replicable you need to figure out how to build a scalable technical platform where you can add more digital workers with a snap of a finger. But the fun part really hits in once you start upgrading your core IT systems and the automation scripts you have implemented will stop working. All this reminds me about the good old days when IT was a new thing and everybody was so creative. We had these heroes who were keeping the company up and running. Everybody knows that when “Jack is on holiday nobody else knows how the systems work”. Not perhaps the optimal way to run critical business processes.
If you do not know where you want to go, you can pick any road
Organisations do not implement RPA just because it is fun (even though it is), but because they want to achieve tangible results. Sometimes the results are better efficiency or quality, sometimes higher value. Whatever you target, be sure to define it well and then build an engine to deliver the value. It will not happen by itself.
RPA is an extremely useful and flexible tool when you use it the right way. But even the most flexible tools require management and governance. You might even claim the more flexible the tool the more thinking you need to put in the governance. After all, if the tool is so simple that everyone can benefit from it, as well as implement it, you’ll quickly end up being flooded with automation solutions – that will unfortunately suffer from the next ERP upgrade and most probably need to be reworked after that.
A digital workforce needs to be managed, just like their human colleagues.
Imagine a situation where you had no rules or targets. Everyone could do whatever they wanted and come and go as they like without agreeing anything with anyone. I doubt this would work very well. Despite the rising trend of self-organising teams and “Teal Organisations”, in reality even these structures are far from anarchy. Self-organising teams share a purpose and ground rules. Similarly, digital workers need targets and governance (they cannot, unfortunately self-organise, not yet anyway).
How to bridge the gap from pilots to real productivity?
Some organisations experience disappointment following successful RPA pilots. Business cases may not be fulfilled or results get stuck on a modest level. Usually this is caused by a lack of targets and governance combined with poor scalability of the platforms and missing operational models.
When you start the right way from the very beginning, the rest will sort itself out much easier. You need to set a vision and target for automation and build a robust platform. You will also need to organise yourself around the topic and define priorities and governance models. This is not rocket science, but it is a necessity.
Take the fast lane and pick up speed
Our experiences customers across the region has derived best practices for establishing RPA management while being sensitive to organisational culture. We have created a comprehensive program that helps you set in place the necessary elements for automation in just 100 days. After this you are ready to go with your truly self-funding RPA program! Gone are the days of numerous pilots, trials and small scale automations.