2019 is still young, so a 2019 RPA guide can be helpful in guiding your technological choices for the year. According to UiPath’s chief evangelist Guy Kirkwood, 2019 seems to be the year of digital automation expansion into the mainstream, with the public sector predicted to witness the most pronounced RPA growth. Most business leaders are aware by now of the benefits that can be obtained by using robotic process automation for the repetitive, dull tasks that pose a high risk for employees’ burnout. However, by ‘expansion into the mainstream’ we refer not only to the growing number of companies that use it, but we also wish to emphasise the fact that RPA is no longer the privilege of large enterprises. Multi-national corporations, as well as small and medium businesses that wish to enhance their market competitivity, must be aware of the ways to leverage the potential of state-of-the-art technology.
This normative claim is backed by the results of a recent OnePoll survey by Ultima. The numbers show that 65% of UK businesses are planning to automate key parts of their processes, and for 77% of those, the automation of transactional, mundane tasks is the primary impetus for starting the digital automation journey. More than half the respondents who envisage ‘going digital’ aim to pass on these tedious, repetitive tasks to software robots in order to free up their staff to focus on higher value jobs, in accordance with a humanist, person-centred perspective of technological development. This brings to the fore the CIOs’ crucial role in the RPA venture as facilitators of collaboration between various departments of the company (mainly, business and IT).
How to start your digital automation journey (2019 RPA Guide)
With these eloquent bits of statistical data in mind, you should be well prepared to sketch a roadmap of your digital automation journey throughout 2019. We are here to help you do it well.
1. Determine which processes are likely to bring about most benefits when automated.
You might know by now that ‘not all processes are created equal’ when it comes to suitability for initiating digital automation in your company. We suggested here some questions that are worth asking for process selection with most beneficial results. Error-prone, low fault-tolerance, and speed-sensitive tasks are highly profitable to automate because of the significant error and duration reduction effects compared with manual processes. Processes with irregular labour requirements (e.g., sales) also make a good match with the scalability of software robots. Automated high volume processes cutback the costs because of the considerable reduction of manual effort, and should thus be considered for the ‘first wave’ of automation. Things will work best if you involve the business as well as the IT teams in picking the processes to be automated.
2. Make you life easier by selecting easy to automate processes.
The implementation prologue involves a careful examination of your business processes, and running the needed adjustments so that these processes facilitate improvement of customer experience. The message here is rather simple: keep you feet on the ground and do not take automation as a panacea for otherwise dysfunctional processes.
Most automation-friendly processes are simple, rule based, with uniform functioning (i.e., bearing few exceptions and contingencies), mature, and company-specific. More complex processes that, however, promise to yield speedy, significant revenue by automation, should first be broken down. (This also makes processes more understandable, thereby leading to reduced programming and auditing effort.) You can then go on to launch bots that can efficiently carry out the subprocesses in piecemeal fashion.
3. Gain the confidence of people in your organisation.
Do not lose track of the fact that the case for RPA ought to be approved before you can fully focus on implementation and launching details. The mythical fear that “robots will steal our jobs” is the main stumbling block for the extension of RPA use across industry sectors and geographical regions. Therefore building as compelling a case as possible for digital automation is a strategic must. In order to persuade your business executives, for instance, you might share McKinsey’s profitability analysis, according to which within only one year from implementation, RPA can yield between 30 and 200 percent ROI. And you can also go one step further, by suggesting concrete ways to measure the ROI of RPA deployment along the way. Train your employees with respect to what robots can and cannot do; starting with an in-person workshop to ensure an information baseline for everybody is our recommended solution. Don’t waste any effort to make a case that technology is expected to create more jobs than those made redundant. Use survey data to back your claims, e.g., this 2019 Gartner report. Prepare upskilling options for your employees, in the form of tutorials, best practices, or testing guides, which can be delivered in the classroom, or web-based (webinars, demos) similar to UiPath Academy.