When deployed and used correctly, the advantages of automating your daily processes are endless. With the surge of RPA implementation across sectors, it becomes important to understand that the correct implementation in your business is a process with pre-determined steps. While there may be slight changes in the implementation depending on your business needs and scale, the fundamental stages critical in the implementation of robotic process automation are as follows
1. Initial value proposition
Exploring the feasibility of the process and the financial impact goes hand in hand with the selection of the tool being considered for implementation. This is one of the most critical stages in this process, because the benefits associated with automation are correlated to how fine of an automation process is required in the business. An RPA Solution is not built to address the same business problems across varying organizations, and so the same automations cannot be used across the board. However, the beauty of intelligent automation is its infinite potential for customization
In many scenarios, organizations will first identify various processes that they’d like to automate based on the successes of other processes. This not only complicates the implementation of an RPA solution, but may also lead to the application of robotic process automation to processes that are necessary and may not add any value to the business.
Workforce management is also an aspect considered in automation as the implementation leads to savings that translate to profits. Savings for different processes are generally as follows:
- Standalone applications: One bot for every five users
- Web applications: One bot for every four and a half users
- Citrix applications: One bot for every three and three-quarter users
- Remote: One bot for every three and a half users
Process selection is another feature of tool identification. The processes you select to be automated should be stable, repetitive in nature and must be structured in a comprehensive manner to be considered for automation. While processes cannot be automated completely, selecting those that are ideal and fit the guidelines ensure a greater chance of success.
2. Risk Identification
Once the Process and tools have been identified, the risks associated with the development and implementation of this process need to be identified. A thorough plan that includes exact costs involved in purchasing the Tool licenses, the software and hardware required for the setup, the complexity of the setup and the ease of implementation, need to be assessed, and any discrepancies that pop up must be addressed immediately so that it doesn’t affect the process later down the line. Using expert advice and insight, organizations should design a model that depicts the business structure and processes that will be most affected by the RPA solution. It’s important to identify the ripple effects – starting from the internal resources, applications and systems, and ending with the organization’s external stakeholders.
This process accounts for the time required for the RPA implementation and the benefits of doing so – specifically in allowing employees to pursue more value-adding roles. Having the impact mapped will also identify areas within the organization that can use the additional resources made available thanks to automation.
3. The Pilot
Once the risks are assessed and the project is given the go ahead, a test run needs to be done to assess how smoothly the bots run and how consistent and accurate the RPA is. Several rounds of test runs need to be conducted to determine the readiness for deployment. This enables you to see first-hand, the effectiveness of your automation plan in real time. Once the results of the pilot come back, improvements can be made accordingly. Inclusion of processes that need further automation and processes that can remain an exception can be identified at the stage very clearly. There is a difference in testing and a live roll out. So, this is also the phase where inputs of the stakeholders involved need to be taken into consideration.
4.Execution and Maintenance
This is the final stage of implementation, where the bot is deployed for production. Business processes are dynamic in nature and changes will be continuously made to better suit business needs. Periodic maintenance of the processes will ensure a smooth run of the automation and will reap greater rewards for the business. Automation isn’t a one-time activity, and it follows that one time execution without follow-up management isn’t healthy. The impact of changes to the systems must be gauged and contingency plans ready to go should be in place.
When implemented correctly, Robotic Process Automation provides huge cost savings in addition to increased productivity and efficiency. Minimizing human effort and intervention is the name of the game, and we are forging a path towards the day when RPA comes embedded with artificial intelligence.