You’ve learned the definition of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). You’ve learned about how it works and about the impressive results that can be realized. So, now it’s time to take the next step to explore some lesser known concepts and truths about RPA implementation.
1. RPA is a lot tougher than most people think.
If your goal is to develop enterprise-level RPA solutions, success will be difficult to come by without a robust plan and solid framework. We’ve seen many companies falter with their forays into RPA, often times due to an inadequate understanding of the technology and lack of necessary preparations. The ones that succeed understand that an RPA project will require an upfront investment. It is a standing best practice to work closely with IT leadership early in the process in order to establish governance and to ensure all key stakeholders fully understand the processes and exceptions. Ultimately, there is a lot to think about and prepare for before you should automate even a single task.
2. In most cases, RPA is not shrinking business functions, but growing them.
RPA does have the potential to create leaner business functions that can produce the same volume and quality of output. However, that is far from being the only outcome we have seen with our clients. One common strategy is to grow the business, including headcount, utilizing RPA as a catalyst. One is to simply increase the consistency and quality of outputs by using RPA to augment existing teams. Another strategy utilizes RPA to increase team morale and introduce more human-friendly workflows. Some well-planned implementations manage to achieve all of the above. This demonstrates the importance of thinking of RPA as a tool in the toolkit to help solve specific business challenges. Keeping this in mind will enable more creative and effective solutions, compared to simply replacing humans with robots.
3. It isn’t just offshore processes being automated anymore.
Until recently, it was assumed that RPA was most appropriate for organizations that were utilizing and focusing on offshore business operations. This was likely due to the relative ease in automating existing tasks as well as the immediate value companies saw in bringing processes back onshore with digital automation. However, the reality is that there are tremendous opportunities in processes that have been traditionally retained onshore.
The intelligent automation industry is exciting and growing rapidly, but as outlined above RPA is a powerful, but complex technology. As you embark on your journey toward digital transformation, be sure to keep a critical eye on proven best practices as well as a holistic understanding of the technology and process design.
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