5 steps to successful RPA implementation

When it comes to beginning the robotic process automation (RPA) journey, many organisations are preconditioned to believe that the first step is to purchase and install the software to ensure it works. Time and time again, the same outcome is achieved: the software installation appears to be successful.

However, the process of proving the software works only delays the organisation from using the technology to achieve key business goals, streamline processes and alleviate employees of mundane, rules-based work.

>See also: RPA and the role of the CIO

Rather than waste time with a “proof of concept,” organisations should begin by performing a “proof of value.” This prompts the business to identify where automation will drive the most value and how it can be configured to solve critical problems and set the business up for greater success (and competitive advantage).

Here are five steps every organization must follow to implement RPA and prove its value based on unique, individual business needs:

1. Look for people, not processes

RPA is not built to address the same business problems across varying organisations; what may be used as a payroll tool for one business can also be used to streamline HR on-boarding processes for another.

In many scenarios, organisations will first identify various processes that they’d like to automate based on the success cases of other businesses. Not only does this complicate RPA implementation, but it also masks the true value of automation, forcing it to be applied to areas that aren’t necessarily organisational pain points.

Perhaps ironically, a business should first think about its human employees when considering a new software deployment. Where are people being forced to perform non-value adding work (i.e., structured data entry or invoice processing)?

>See also: Robotic service orchestration: 10 ways it’s different to RPA

What needs to change so employees can pursue the judgement-based roles they’re more suited for – like creative problem solving, strategising and critical thinking? These are the processes that will benefit the most from automation and will help solve the challenges the organisation is facing.

2. Ask the experts

Once businesses identify the processes to be automated, the next step is to sit down with experts who can determine the areas where configuration will be complex. The experts will work with the employees who perform the tasks that will be automated to discuss how the process works and where the tool will be deployed. The experts will also train employees to manage the tool and ensure it remains consistent in performing the task at hand, making future deployments more efficient.

3. Map the impact

Using the experts’ advice and insight, organisations should design a model that depicts the business structure and processes that will be most affected by RPA. It’s important to identify the ripple effects – starting from the internal resources, applications and systems, and ending with the organisation’s external stakeholders.

This process accounts for the time required to implement RPA and the benefits of doing so – specifically in allowing employees to pursue more value-adding roles. Having the impact mapped will also identify areas within the organisation that can use the additional resources that will be available thanks to automation.

>See also: Automation technology to the rescue

4. Calculate the cost (and savings!)

RPA implementation doesn’t happen overnight; it’s important that businesses set expectations on the time required to both get the tool up and running and start seeing benefits and change.

However, it is possible to calculate and forecast the financial model attributed to RPA, including the cost to maintain and update the solution, as well as the savings that the transformation will bring.

5. Present the proposal

With a clear strategy, expert assistance and financial business case in hand, the final step for organisations is to present the benefits of RPA implementation so it will be prioritised over other projects.

With the monetary savings, increased employee satisfaction and scoped transformation, the benefits of automation in helping the business solve organisational challenges and drive value will be clear. Once the project is approved, organisations can move forward with implementing the solution and be prepared to see the ROI.

>See also: Robotics process automation and the robotised enterprise

While it’s a simple task to prove that RPA works, identifying how it can bring transformational benefits to an organisation is the key to successful deployment. It doesn’t have to take long – the assessment of suitable processes, design and forecasting the implementation plan and production of a business case can be completed in less than six weeks.

Using these five steps will provide organisations with the strategy, sponsorship and access to resources to prove RPA’s value and ensure it gets successfully implemented.

Sourced by David Brain, co-founder and COO, Symphony Ventures


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...