Are you still questioning whether implementing robotic process automation is the right thing to do for your company? Given that rule based activities are core tasks for most economic enterprises, and that employees waste up to a quarter of their time on these manual repetitive tasks, it is quite likely that the short answer is ‘yes’.
If you consider the benefits of RPA deployment and how these benefits translate into competitive advantages for your company, the affirmative answer gains more strength. For instance, not only is implementation rather easy and non-costly, but the return on investment is quick.
In fact, RPA can actually be deployed in a matter of weeks, not months. According to McKinsey, the revenue in the first year upon RPA implementation shows a growth of 30–200%. Data management, cybersecurity, or regulatory compliance are other areas that are facilitated by the adoption of software robots.
It is important to acknowledge that what actually drives these benefits is establishing a harmonious joint venture between human staff and technology. Currently, human employees are still the ones who schedule and oversee the realisation of the automated processes, as we have discussed at length in an article about the benefits of RPA.
This being said, let us get down to business by looking at some usual procedures that we consider best practices for implementing RPA.
Best practices for implementing RPA
1. Plan wisely
It is best to start with a crystal-clear list of the objectives that you want to attain by means of automation. RPA adoption can be challenging, if only because of the turmoil that it will generate among your employees.
This makes a strategic plan for change management, which takes into account all the relevant details of the current state of affairs, even more necessary. According to Porter Lynch (2012), the so-called change champions are key to a successful outcome of organizational change because they are instrumental in the actual implementation of the digital change.
2. Smartly select the processes to be automated
According to CiGen’s CEO and Co-founder Leigh Pullen, beginning RPA implementation with those business processes that are best suited for automation is crucial for tapping into the vast potential of robotics. You can find here some questions that are worth asking yourself in order to single out the right processes before implementing RPA. Some process features that you could be looking for are:
- Stable, predictable and well-documented processes, with consistent and well defined operational costs;
- Processes with low exception rates, which do not require complex human intervention;
- Processes that can be quantified in terms of measurable savings, be those related to greater accuracy, faster response times, lower cost base, etc.;
- High volume /high-frequency processes, which often provide a faster ROI.
3. Focus on collaboration
Implementing RPA is conducive to optimal (i.e., fastest, most efficient) results if performed as teamwork, and not when handled in silos. Draw on all available resources, across the departments that will be affected by the new technology.
The more specific recommendation refers to not leaving implementation exclusively on the shoulders of the IT team, despite the fact that they will be the ones to manage the software robots. It is highly important that you include the end-users in the implementation journey since they are the ones with proficient knowledge about the actual processes that you consider automating.
In the planning phase, extensive feedback from the part of those affected by the digital change is very useful, because it may pinpoint to what might be better done differently. You may consider the organisation of focus groups as an efficient method for gathering people’s opinions on the topic.