7 Robotic Process Automation Pitfalls to Avoid

Tech Insights for Professionals

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Before implementing robotic process automation, you need to be aware of the most common problems businesses face. Here are 7 pitfalls you need to avoid to achieve automation success.

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is becoming increasingly important to businesses. Why? Because it enables you to create your own software robots to automate your chosen business processes. RPA can be an incredible tool for a number of reasons, not least of all because it can save you time, reduce the risk of error and increase your efficiency.

In fact, in his recent insights, Rakesh Sangani, Chief Executive Officer of Proservartner, said that for businesses to remain competitive, automation is no longer a choice but an unavoidable reality.

But while RPA is getting more press, it’s harder than it looks to scale up from a pilot program to a powerful business process, which then needs careful maintenance. That’s why we asked Rakesh Sangani to share his advice on the RPA pitfalls you need to watch out for if you hope to achieve automation success. 

1. Choosing the wrong processes

You need to make sure that you spend some time considering the right processes for your business. The last thing you want is to be faced with lots of technical issues coming out of the woodwork, making your software a larger investment than you expected.

This can be done with good preparation. Take some time to consider what you want to achieve from your process, whether the software you’ve chosen is reliable, cost-effective and easy to use. And while these processes can be implemented in a matter of weeks, this is certainly not a decision you should rush into, otherwise you could face costly challenges along the way.

2. Forgetting about the infrastructure and analytics

It’s one thing to develop the system you want and deploy it - but that’s not the same as monitoring it’s results and supporting the system from then on. Whatever processes you choose, you need to makes sure these are scalable for business growth, and that you can increase or decrease the bandwidth and capability of your bots as and when you need to.

You also need your software to deliver business intelligence and analytics that allow you to measure its performance and return on investment (ROI). If you’ve invested a large sum of money into RPA, you want to know that you're getting a good ROI and that your new process is achieving what you wanted it to.

3. Not optimizing your processes

You also need to make sure that you're getting the most out of every system and know that you don't need one bot per process - otherwise you could end up with hundreds! So instead, for each licensed bot you have, make sure you optimize these to perform the maximum number of tasks possible. This will keep the costs and complexity down, whilst ensuring you get the most from every bot you create.

4. Not assigning responsibility

RPA can serve a number of functions in a business, whether that’s financial services, HR management, telecommunications or a range of other digital processes. For this reason, it can be hard to decide which department the RPA sits with and who is in charge of analytics and maintenance.

This can cause tension amongst the workforce as a result. So it’s a good idea to have a serious conversation about who is responsible for the upkeep, even if this means on-boarding a new employee specifically for this role.

5. Thinking it’s a silver bullet

For the most part, RPA can help you with your business processes, and there are a huge amount of opportunities to help you make the most of these systems. But unfortunately there are some exceptions and gaps in what this technology can do. So don't fall into the trap of thinking RPA will solve all your business needs right away. In some cases, you may need cognitive automation instead, to help you complete more complex tasks.

6. Not effectively governing your processes

One of the great things about RPA is that it is elastic. You can make changes where necessary, add new functionality and in many cases scale it up or down as required. But this also means that each time a system is upgraded for better performance and functionality, your bot also needs to be modified.

These changes must be monitored, documented and the bots updated where necessary. It’s not feasible to think that once your process is up and running, your work is done. Someone needs to ensure any upgrades are made as soon as they are identified.

7. Blaming the bots

There are a number of reasons (including human error and miscommunication) as to why you might experience problems within your RPA. Yet many are very quick to blame the bots, instead of getting to the root of the problem. For example, it can often be the enterprise resource planning (ERP) or the server connection that is causing the problems.

For this reason, good communication across the business is absolutely key. Everyone using the processes must understand the capabilities of these bots to avoid any confusion. If one department is in charge of managing and updating the bots, they must effectively communicate any changes they have made, to the teams that work with these systems every day. Otherwise this can cause frustration and mistrust amongst colleagues and those who believe the bots are not performing as they should.

Avoid falling into these traps

RPA is becoming increasingly important to businesses and you need to make sure you’re embracing these processes if you hope to stay competitive. Following the advice above, you’ll be able to avoid some of the most common pitfalls experienced when dealing with new software, bots and processes.

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