The secret behind scaling RPA across the enterprise

As businesses everywhere look for solutions to their shared question of how to increase productivity and efficiency in a secure, scalable way, robotic process automation (RPA) software has emerged as a leading answer.

The digital workforce that RPA creates enables long-term agility and compliance for strict security standards and increases capacity without increasing headcount—all while helping human workers prioritise their workloads and shift the mundane, robot-like work off their desks so they can focus on adding real value to the business.

>See also: Robotics process automation and the robotised enterprise

But RPA integrations can fail—and when the business is relying on that digital workforce to execute against mission-critical processes, failure is not an option. Proper change management—including getting the business and IT on the same page—is critical to success. Here are several key factors a business should consider when planning an RPA deployment.

Establish the vision

In order to succeed, the project will require buy-in from a core group of evangelists, spanning the business and IT, who will use their unified vision to get the rest of the company on board with the cultural change that automation will bring.

Unlike other technology-driven initiatives, automation is most successful when it is driven by the business and supported by IT. Since the business realizes the efficiency and productivity benefits, it is best positioned to understand the goals and determine success for the endeavor and be the driving force behind the change.

IT, on the other hand, will have its own enterprise-grade standards that need to be met, and will be instrumental in giving the digital workforce the data center access it needs to be truly effective.

>See also: 5 steps to successful RPA implementation

Together, the combined group of stakeholders must also:

• Identify the issues facing the business that are within the scope of this technology
• Reengineer processes for easy implementation with RPA
• Develop a communications plan to on-board, educate and prepare peers across departments

Without a well-established vision and smooth cross-organizational communication, your RPA efforts will likely fail.

Create a centre of expertise

Once the vision and RPA roadmap are ready, this knowledge must be centralized in a way that can support the business now and in the future to safeguard its successful, sustained and RPA-enabled digital transformation.

Some businesses will use a simple by-function team structure, where each organisation will tackle their own functional initiatives as each arises in the road map. For some, that works—but that wealth of knowledge and long-term insight gained at the start will mostly be second-hand depending on the function.

As an alternative, some businesses look at growing a Centre of Expertise (CoE), or uniting the internal evangelists for process automation technology to manage all instances where the software will be leveraged across business organisations.

>See also: Robotic process automation: an operations silver bullet?

Commonly, the stakeholders who helped build the vision will make or train the CoE to enforce the aforementioned roadmap. That way, the right projects for RPA are taken at the right time.

There are four key business engagement responsibilities the CoE should focus on:

• RPA promotion – facilitate RPA service development across organizations and reduce overhead.
• Oversee and validate opportunities – manage the RPA roadmap and support new business case opportunities for RPA.
• Resource allocation – ensure there are resources available to the management, service and support for the many RPA processes, allowing true business continuity and maintaining high-productivity across the business.
• Knowledge tracking – track the RPA platform’s return on investment overtime and continue to standardize core methodologies and technologies.

These evangelists in the CoE will become an invaluable resource to a business, not only to support the above functions after and during implementation, but also for maintaining the governance standards established at the start to deliver the promised success.

>See also: The robots keep rising as AI-driven business transformation evolves

Automation technology has the power to completely transform businesses, from the way the smallest, most mundane tasks are performed to the way an organisation thinks of work in the first place—but only if that automation technology is properly integrated and managed.

The true secret to a successful digital workforce is the successful collaboration and organization on the part of the humans in charge.


Sourced by Dave Moss, chief technology officer, Blue Prism

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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...