RPA and digital transformation: Blue Prism says it can help you sprint

Sprints and agile: these are the buzzwords of digital transformation, and according to Blue Prism’s chief evangelist, Pat Geary, RPA and digital transformation are a neat fit, as robotic process automation can support these approaches. But there is also something more, Blue Prism puts it this way: “It’s as if we provide a padded room.”

Lean start-up, sprints and agile: these ways of working are about enabling companies to develop, test, and move on. No one wants to be the next Blockbusters or Kodak, but when tech changes so fast you need a fast way to respond.

As Pat Geary said: “It’s about trying to speed up IT development: so in a sprint you normally have a six-week burst of work.”

It ties in with the idea of lean start-up, with companies treating a new project like they were a start-up: develop to the minimal level so that they can carry out meaningful tests; act upon the results to either scrap the project, modify it, or develop further and test again.

“RPA is like the ultimate agile technology,” says Pat.

“In a matter of days, you you can build an automation. So you can do incredibly fast iterations, trying lots of things quickly.”

He draws a parallel with Toyota. The car company advanced the idea of CI, continual improvement. As Pat said; “It is about having lots of ideas, and you try lots of things quickly.”

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Pat says that Blue Prism have built the ultimate CI system, RPA and digital transformation working in harmony.

But there is a snag, or so says Pat. These days, companies have to worry about governance; compliance, regulation and if you really want to get down and dirty, there is that four letter swear word.

We have a no swearing policy at Information Age, so we will just give you some of the letters: it begins with a G, and end with an R.

Oh and there is a DP in the middle. Oh to hell with it; the word is GDPR, there said it.

And these days; companies have to worry about these things. RPA and digital transformation is all very well, but you can’t run roughshod over all those best practices, let alone compulsory regulations.

Excuse the swearing again, but a key part of the GDPR is privacy by design.

So if you apply agile thinking, or the lean start-up approach, then privacy by design means building in privacy considerations right at the beginning.

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So if you are applying RPA and digital transformation, then you need to do so in a controlled way; not just shipping RPA to different teams without worrying about ensuring privacy is built in at the onset.

And that, says Blue Prism is it’s unique selling point. For Pat, RPA and digital transformation is about all those sexy things, supporting rapid development and testing with automation technologies, but without losing sight of the more boring stuff.

Pat puts it this way:

“I earned a computer science degree. I understand why you have to have a watertight spec before you can build something. You don’t know the ins and out of the business, but you’ve got to try and nail the thing down so you can build it and then say ‘look, I’ve built it to your spec.’”

So in the Blue Prism universe, RPA and digital transformation is also about “putting the power in the hands of the people that really understand the business. If something changed half way through building the process, you don’t have to go back to IT and do a change request; they owned the automation.”

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So there are parameters built into the RPA, ensuring adherence to all those requirements.

“I think of it as like a padded room that’s been built so that the business can do whatever they like in there, but they’re not going to break anything.”

So there you have it; RPA and digital transformation can help companies go and play, test, experiment, and develop fast, but for Blue Prism, RPA and digital transformation is also about providing a safe area, a ‘padded room’, limiting the risk of straying away from that oh so unsexy, boring, detailed stuff, that agile thinking does not want to get bogged down with.

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Michael Baxter

.Michael Baxter is a tech, economic and investment journalist. He has written four books, including iDisrupted and Living in the age of the jerk. He is the editor of Techopian.com and the host of the ESG...