How can we guarantee RPA delivers on its promises? We define the core blockers to scalability and how you can fix them quickly and efficiently.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is transforming how the workforce allocates its time. By automating repetitive, mechanical tasks while minimising errors, it frees workers from monotonous drudgery and improves process efficiency.
The ability of RPA to execute repetitive tasks means that employees can devote greater energy to more creative, higher value work. According to Gartner, its many benefits has made it the fastest-growing enterprise software category – however, it is still the least scaled Intelligent Automation technology. Why is this?
In this article we’ll uncover the common challenges to scaling RPA and how you can solve them.
Challenge #1: No enterprise-wide strategy
Many organisations deal with challenges reactively. RPA is often seen as a quick fix solution, in many instances, with a bot deployed to solve a problem with no overarching strategy or reason why. Over time, this leads to broken processes, disorganisation, and disillusionment with the technology itself.
If there is one key activity that leads to RPA success, it is adopting a strategic approach to its deployment. Creating a strong vision for RPA, and defining what you want to achieve, ensures its use is clearly aligned to business objectives. For example, setting a goal of ‘improved customer service times’, with RPA as a lead tool to achieve this, makes more sense to everybody, rather than using bots to haphazardly patch up bad processes.
In order to speed the process, create an RPA Centre of Excellence, tasked with managing and implementing all automation projects. With clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and visibility of the entire organisation, RPA can be safely used and scaled for multiple objectives.
Challenge #2: Unoptimised processes
RPA has become a fashionable solution, so there have been unjustified pressures on IT directors and managers to deploy it in some fashion. This rush to deploy automation without first analysing and identifying key opportunities – and where issues may lie – can cause RPA to fail before it even has a chance to scale.
Remember that RPA is not just an opportunity to automate repetitive processes – it is also an opportunity to drive process improvement. Before deploying any sort of automation tool, seek out the inefficiencies and waste in your existing processes. Using RPA on these sub-optimal processes will be just throwing good money after bad. First, identify where they are problematic and solve the issues. Then, and only then, can you use RPA to reduce the human component and scale.
Challenge #3: Not having the right talent
Siloed RPA ownership is one of the main reasons RPA projects are failing and unable to scale. If IT owns RPA, its deployment will (often) be disconnected from business needs. If the business side of the organisation owns RPA, there will be a lot of bot errors and process fixes to be made in the future. Furthermore, RPA is still a nascent technology in many ways, and great talent can be difficult to find.
Ensure that both IT and the business side of your organisation share RPA ownership. Establish a Centre of Excellence, where key stakeholders can pool their collective expertise, ensuring high-level business objectives are covered while taking care of the technical aspects. If you are short on talent, consider working with a technical partner. Procensol, for example, offers market-leading Automation Anywhere solutions to SMEs and multinational organisations.
Challenge #4: Not correctly prioritising or measuring results
When RPA is used as a bit-part problem solver it becomes difficult to quantify its value across the business. If you cannot prove ROI or some sort of improvement, it will be difficult to get owners or directors to buy into the concept, and the project will likely fall by the wayside.
The impact of RPA can be measured in many ways, such as cost savings, productivity and operational efficiency. The key to RPA measurement success is to make sure it is closely linked to business objectives and goals. You must be able to see clearly how and why it contributes to their achievement. Without these solid figures, it will remain as intangible – and perhaps transient – solution.
Unlocking the true potential of RPA
Many of the challenges that are blocking organisations from scaling RPA are easily surmountable. The majority simply require more strategic thinking and planning at the beginning. As the RPA market continues to grow, and the talent pool widens, it is likely that automation processes will become more standardised and these challenges will disappear.
Until then, consider linking up with a technical partner such as Procensol. With over a decade helping organisations to optimise processes, offices worldwide and lots of talented consultants, we can help you build a strong foundation for RPA and other Intelligent Automation technologies.
Interested in RPA? Get a free RPA proof of concept for your organisation.