5 Best Practices for Scaling Intelligent Automation


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Friday, January 31, 2020

Robotic process automation can help every business, but taking full advantage beyond the initial trial or early rollout out takes planning and understanding as intelligent automation starts to take over from traditional RPA.

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5 Best Practices for Scaling Intelligent Automation
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Congratulations, you’ve proven that RPA can work in your business. But beyond that first effort, ensuring successful scaling and adoption across the rest of the organization requires discipline and planning to ensure future efforts don’t run headlong into show-stopping roadblocks.

1. Build an automation team

Most RPA trials or first efforts take place focused on one simple process within one team or department, or heaven forbid, as an unapproved effort. Whatever the level of success that sees leaders keen for wider adoption, focused on process, technology and people, with a dedicated team is needed to plan, test and approve rollouts and consider longer term plans.

IT is the natural focal point of these efforts, but automation teams should include members from across the business, with regular support and interest from leaders to ensure efforts are in the best interests of the company, and not just nice-to-haves for a few lucky offices. The team should have an overarching vision for the company’s intelligent automation effort and be tasked to meet key aims and communicate their efforts across the business.

The team will also need to ensure that data privacy, security and consistency are maintained, while keeping an eye out for other departments perhaps trying to run their own shadow RPA that could derail wider business efforts.

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2. Understand the IT process automation market

Having seen initial success with RPA, the IT department needs to keep up with ITPA developments, new vendors, products and services, along with the current and future market landscape for the technology and skills needed to operate process automation.

Understanding which services will align to your business needs, from vertical-focused products to general tools that could work with partner companies or beyond will all play their part in large-scale RPA deployments. IT also needs to understand failure points and fallback positions as there will inevitably be issues in wider scale rollouts.

3. Set ambitious RPA goals

Depending on the size and scale of the organization, goals can be focused around revenue and/or improved IT efficiency, but should maintain a view of the future ambitions of the company. That may include physical growth or acquisitions, and IoT expansion where edge processing will require a high degree of automation.

Any fiscal goals should make sense in terms of the company’s size and whether the benefits of RPA have been proven to have a major impact on the bottom line. So, while the team might set modest initial ambitions, there is no point in low-balling targets. Along with those immediate goals, highlight growth targets and link them to the company’s future with automation acting as an integral part of working across all process lifecycles, rather than a here-and-now approach.

Goals and targets need to be assigned to teams/leaders/departments and have people responsible for them, along with investment in the IT department to ensure continuity, as experts or team workers come and go.

4. Use a widely published roadmap

RPA at scale should be introduced over time, with check-and-test points, training and room for adjustment. Changes in processes or technology need to be flagged in advance, and IT must have the capabilities to run dual-processes as old methods are run in parallel until new RPA processes can be validated.

While there are likely to be many requests for RPA, the list needs to be prioritized by business benefit, linked into wider upgrades or changes to IT and other issues. In the future, the likes of Gartner see 69% of routine manager’s work being fully automated by 2024, showing just how much things can change.

To maintain an engaged workforce, ensure plenty of opportunity for the technology to be explained at all levels. For those impacted, they will require training in how to use dashboards, higher-level data, or how to refocus their efforts when they benefit from more time due to RPA efficiencies.

At the business level, when the automation is delivering the promised benefits, departments and teams will need to look at what they can do with the savings in terms of investment or seeking further ways to optimize the business.

5. IT needs to evolve to meet automation needs

As ITPA evolves to streamline IT operations across the department and the wider business, the department will need to adapt to these changes. As greater automation takes over, staff need fresh opportunities, other new technologies will need analysis and testing, while workflows will continue to change.

Any traditional IT department will soon find itself required to meet the demands of a smarter, leaner business. While resources must still be in place to keep the lights on and the emails flowing, IT leaders and teams must focus more on how they can help grow the business and use their IT knowledge to build new services, drive greater efficiency and deliver on the promise of an AI future.

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Kofax intelligent automation solutions help organizations transform information-intensive business processes, reduce manual work and errors, minimize cost, and improve customer engagement. We combine RPA, cognitive capture, mobility & engagement, process orchestration, analytics capabilities and professional services in one solution. This makes it easy to implement and scale for dramatic, immediate results that mitigate compliance risk and increase competitiveness, growth and profitability.


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