Robotic Process Automation Program Success – How to get from nowhere

Robotic Process Automation Program Success – How to get from nowhere

Ok, so you keep hearing about Robotic Process Automation(for a refresher on RPA check out our blog What is RPA Really? for a hype-free operating definition).  But like most new initiatives it can be hard to figure out where to start.  And when the rumor is 50% of RPA initiatives do not fully deliver on the promise, nobody can blame you for being a little careful.

This is a case where a little bit of analysis, and some help, can go a long way.  First on the help.  Partnering with an implementation firm early can help avoid rookie pitfalls, and bring an educated eye to bear on the opportunities in your organization. They’ll know where to look for good candidates, and then how to assess,in a clinical way, the candidates to develop your list of priorities, based on your criteria.  Usually this includes cost reduction, but can also deliver speed to revenue, reliability to processing, increased customer service, etc.  A small number of criteria helps you make a balanced decision.

Second on the analysis.  A couple of key items to look at: (a) cost and time profiling, which will show time frames and costs to execute a particular process.  This highlights not only costs, but where speed can make a difference; (b) work analysis, that is macro process mapping to ensure the process flow is understood, what comes in and what goes out, what/how applications are leveraged and finally volumes nd deadlines; and (c) data analysis, to understand how and where information is extracted, manipulated and ultimately loaded.

Next comes synthesizing what you have learned.  As a rule, high volume processing of consistently formatted information is a good candidate.  Where the information is not “machine-ready”,cognitive automation (e.g. Automation Anywhere’s IQ Bots) can be very effective in extracting information reliably for further processing.   With lower volumes, or when the information is inconsistently presented, more sophisticated artificial intelligence tools could be deployed.  And finally, a process may simply not lend itself to automation…so don’t bother trying.  Under RPA and Cognitive Automation you likely have a long enough list of candidates to start with.

The final step is to prioritize (use the criteria mentioned in the second paragraph above) to support your decisions, and be sure to quantify the tangible and intangible ROI. As you’ll want to get the organization lined up behind the program, ROI will get a lot of people’s attention quickly. Especially in these kinds of automation projects where implementation time frames are short (usually weeks), and paybacks quick (i.e. months).

So don’t be afraid to get some help, and then do a bit of homework to find the right places to start. Before you know it, your first couple of implementations will be done and you’ll be on your way!