Suppose you are set on automating at least some of the dull repetitive processes in your business, aiming to make best use of the human potential for inventive, out of the ordinary work. But what is the right plan to bring your good intention to fruition?
According to Richard Ahl, Program Manager at Clancarty Consulting Ltd, there are four phases of RPA implementation: assess, approve, design and implement. The first two constitute the “prologue”, or the pre-work. They are focused on the business and not on the robotic part per se, and can take up to 70% of the project time.
In the first phase, the aim is to decide which processes call for automation. The choice is dictated by factors such as the degree of a process being repetitive and predictable, whether a process is contained in one department of your business or distributed across several departments, or whether or not it deals with structured data. The expected outcome of assessment is a report that offers a detailed overview of the project and its implementation.
The approval stage is the most laborious, because an agreement must be reached regarding the initial process to be automated. This requires detailed documentation, a preliminary design of the robot to-be, and an attempt to integrate it properly with the other business processes. The Business case should be made available to the steering committee and the project sponsor.
Next, as part of the design phase, a software merchant must be sought which matches the criteria mentioned in this Business case. After the acquisition of a licence, the robot is actually designed and tested iteratively until its activity matches perfectly the user’s behaviour. Finally, it is implemented and ‘released into the wild’. Outcome evaluation may then ground future automation decisions.
‘Going big’ with RPA implementation
In the implementation phase, ‘going big’ refers primarily not to the technological investment (because software is rather inexpensive), but to the organisational investment. According to David Eddy, RPA product evangelist at UiPath, RPA implementation calls for large organisational expenditures because of two related kinds of requirements: those of automation skill sets, and those of managerial framework.
High skill set requirements are the other side of the coin of elevated operational benefits — the latter simply bring about the former. Different skill sets (business analyst, IT, management and governance) are made necessary by automation.