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5 Ways to Maximize your RPA Investment & Initiatives

4 min read
Jan 21, 2020 5:08:00 PM

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has emerged as the fastest-growing technology market sector, but it has not done so without its share of limitations. The primary concern expressed by many large enterprise organizations is that the legacy RPA technology they started their automation journeys on is difficult to use outside of the IT department. This has been challenging, since one of the main benefits pushed by first-generation RPA vendors is its ease of use for non-technical stakeholders.

But reality has proven this is simply not the case.

Many large enterprises have struggled to adopt RPA at scale and have been unsuccessful in building large RPA Centers of Excellence (CoE) without any involvement from their IT organizations. Furthermore, the vast majority of successful RPA deployments have been for small and very simple processes. These desktop “swivel chair” automations have failed to realize the speed and efficiency gains that serve as the foundations for many RPA business cases.

Companies have become focused on automating more complex, multi-layered business processes at scale, and have become more inclined to involve the right stakeholders in order to achieve this end.

This paper highlights 5 recommendations to ensure that you can maximize your investment in RPA technologies.

1. Get The Right People Involved

Many organizations start small with their RPA initiatives. Automating simple, easy-to-tackle business processes has provided necessary “quick wins” to give stakeholders the necessary traction to take RPA to the next level.

When that occurs, it’s essential to broaden the automation community. Business owners working hand in hand with representation from technology and compliance is necessary to ensure that the right processes can be automated without exposing the organization to risks that are often only revealed after scaling. It is becoming more common for organizations to appoint a senior automation leader to coordinate and oversee efforts within an automation CoE.

Partners (both technology and global SI) should be considered to augment teams both from an SME and shared accountability vantage.

2. Plan and Prioritize

Based on unrealistic ROI expectations, stakeholders fell into a trap of overpromising and underdelivering on their RPA initiatives. Best-in-class organizations have taken a step back from deploying lots of bots and have dedicated more time to the planning and prioritization stages of process automation.  

With more cross-functional stakeholders rallying around an enterprise automation framework or roadmap, organizational leaders can be confident that the right processes are identified, designed and optimized to ensure the overall business objectives are met.

By leveraging business process design, planning and modeling technology, organizations can ensure that process flows are captured in their entirety, and build levels of complexity to their models that is essential as automation is scaled across the enterprise. In addition, deciding which elements of process flows are to be automated vs. human orchestration becomes critical during the planning phase.

3. Understand Technology Limitations

Even though RPA is a rapidly expanding market with massive potential benefits to organizations, it is becoming clear that a “one technology fits all” approach is extremely limiting as the RPA use case broadens across the organization.

Those vendors that focus entirely on RPA have leading technology for bot creation (both attended and unattended) but fail to deliver on functionality that enables complex process design and modeling capabilities that are necessary for organizations who want to scale their automation efforts. Furthermore, these tools do not include compliance and non-functional requirements that are needed to successfully build and deploy a bot.

Considering a more holistic view of the automation technology landscape accounts for the gaps in the offerings. If RPA at scale is the primary objective, be sure to consider leading business process discovery, design and modeling vendors who can make up for RPA vendor shortcomings.

4. Build a Business Case That Accounts For Each Stakeholder Objective

Robotic process automation is no longer solely about saving time. As a result, the business case should not be solely limited to calculating the number of minutes or hours that can be saved with automation. The entire cost of the business process should be factored into the business case, which must include considerations like process efficiency gains through redesign, improved regulatory compliance, and tighter alignment to customer journeys and business value streams.

As digital process automation initiatives land on the desk of the CFO, simple business cases will no longer win. Companies must ensure that process automation tasks can be scaled to more complex systems, tie into broader parts of the organization, and ultimately meet, or even exceed organizational objectives.

5. Communicate Both Progress and Success

Effective communication of RPA initiatives is extremely important to the overall business. Companies need to ensure that clear lines of communication are built and maintained with the members of the enterprise automation team. Part of the challenge is cutting through the noise. Large enterprise companies are constrained by the size and complexity of their business processes, rules, procedures, and policies. People are overwhelmed with information and RPA is an entirely new undertaking, making it even more important to have clear, concise, and consistent information.

Also, due to the sense of urgency associated with generating returns on RPA investments, it is essential to communicate successes – even small and early ones – loudly and frequently. In addition, as RPA scales across an enterprise, new adopters will want to understand what works, and what doesn’t. By sharing anecdotes and lessons learned, people can arm new internal entrants to RPA initiatives with the tools and technology to drive successful outcomes.

To learn how to deliver RPA at scale and manage your digital workforce in a more effective manner download a copy of our  To-do List for Robotic Process Automation.