Robotic process automation (RPA) is a transformational process for a wide range of businesses. The ability to automate basic workflows that once required a significant amount of human attention is incredibly valuable, and the business case for RPA implementations is pretty clear cut: There are immediate, measurable benefits via reduced admin and more strategic allocation of resources. And with RPA starting to see success when applied to more complex processes – thanks to support from artificial intelligence and machine learning – there are even more benefits to be realized.
However, RPA – and any sort of major change or improvement for a business – can only be effective when it is properly planned and implemented. If an organization chooses to implement RPA, it needs the right RPA tool, implementation process and high-level strategy to ensure the solution aligns with operational needs at that specific moment in time and in the years ahead. To manage such execution, companies need a benchmark for a successful implementation and a roadmap to keep the RPA journey moving forward.
Keep reading to find best practices that can help your organization make the most of robotic process automation implementation, from building a core team of leaders to ensuring RPA addresses key needs.
Understand your company’s specific position
RPA is increasingly popular, thanks to its proven ability to increase efficiency and allow businesses of many types to position resources in the best configuration possible. The clear benefits of RPA don’t make it a plug-and-play solution, however. Your company needs to assess its needs and develop a deep understanding of where and how RPA will be applied for the best chance at success.
This early and critical action (RPA deployment) can take many forms. A thorough assessment of current processes and workflows can help identify areas where a significant amount of work is needed from employees and where RPA could be successful when applied. Discussions with departmental leaders and the managerial staff who work underneath them can offer a more grounded perspective on areas where RPA may lead to significant improvements as well. Companies that largely employ a digital workforce and still conduct one residual, rote task after another – e.g., accounting and data management functions – are particularly well-positioned to realize true benefits from RPA technology.
The most important point to keep in mind for any RPA initiative is tying the use of bots to very specific concerns and areas of improvement within your organization. It’s never one-size-fits-all.
Build a center of excellence
A center of excellence (CoE), in the context of business engaging in an RPA implementation, is a group of key staff members with relevant skills and experience who can apply those abilities throughout the implementation process. It generally includes IT stakeholders, representatives from the executive team and senior staff from departments where RPA will have a substantial impact.
If an organization chooses to implement RPA, the center of excellence can fill a critical role as dedicated advocates of the RPA project at large. The RPA team has a clear assignment: to focus on successful implementation and, once that step is completed, utilization. Their commitment to the automation journey means better attention to detail and the ability to highlight potential difficulties that may stand in the way of successful implementation.
The CoE plays a critical role in coordination and visibility as well. The group’s deep involvement with RPA allows it to identify roles that need to be filled and the best candidates for those positions.
Establish the right organizational mindset
The earliest stages of seeking out tools that improve productivity and efficiency involves inquiry, assessment, comparison and similar processes. These efforts are vital for finding the most relevant and effective solution, but your company’s mindset needs to shift as it moves toward implementing a specific solution selected by organizational leaders.
Deloitte highlighted a change that needs to occur as companies commit to RPA and move past the investigation of potential solutions: a shift from experimentation to transformation. With a specific solution selected, more attention and effort must be committed to making the operational change as smooth and beneficial as possible. There is still room to consider and review additional ways in which RPA can lead to advantages, but the field of focus needs to narrow over time to address the realities of implementation and use instead of potential solutions once RPA has been selected.
Bring everyone on board
Without clear and specific information about the reasoning behind implementing RPA and how it will improve operations, employee responses can vary greatly. Some may embrace this powerful new solution after learning more about it through research and discussion, but others may not understand its functions or the benefits it brings – until they see it in action as part of a routine workflow.
The American Productivity & Quality Center suggested using a combination of three key factors to enable a positive view of RPA and the advantages it creates:
- Training, which offers specific information about the RPA bots that will be used and their function, as well as allowing staff to understand their new roles once the RPA solution is up and running.
- Success stories, which provide clear-cut examples of the benefits of RPA. These can be external at first, and then come from early achievements made in house. Internal success stories may feel more powerful or relevant to staff members.
- Communication, which keeps stakeholders and the company as a whole up to date on developments, timelines, challenges and triumphs. A steady flow of easily understood information can go a long way toward increasing buy in.
Seek out expert assistance and powerful tools
RPA implementation is often a complex but entirely worthwhile effort. The longstanding benefits it provides help businesses become leaner and remain relevant in a constantly shifting and changing economy. Support from knowledgeable consultants and the right software solutions can make implementation, as well as use and scaling, more transparent and easier to achieve.
Shibumi offers the RPA Accelerator, a cloud-based application that allows companies and, in particular, centers of excellence, to better identify opportunities and scale their RPA efforts to achieve hyperautomation. Your business can benefit from better tracking of automation program data, enhanced management of your RPA pipeline and delivery and much more. To learn more about how Shibumi can support your RPA plans, schedule a free demonstration.