How to Make Sure You’re Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Workforce


Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Today, businesses are looking toward an increasingly digitized future. While business models always have—and will for the foreseeable future—rely on human workforces, intelligent automation has seen the transferral of logical, repetitive, rules-based tasks to new digital workers.

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How to Make Sure You’re Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Workforce
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Robotic process automation (RPA) is the tool behind this acceleration of digital transformation. It’s a significant shift away from traditional, legacy models of working and requires a fundamental re-evaluation of how the workplace operates.

Organizations must adapt to a hybrid workforce, one in which humans work side by side with digital workers in order to guarantee success in this new way of working.

Whether you’re only in the planning stage of your automation journey, or you’ve already begun to implement intelligent automation across your organization, there are a few ways you can maximize the effectiveness of your digital workforce to boost productivity and make the lives of your human employees easier.

Consult your human workers

Given that a hybrid approach has been proven to be the best way forward, the secret to getting the best out of RPA lies in ensuring processes are optimized to bring maximum value to your human employees. This could constitute automation of payroll information to free up finance departments in other areas, for example.

As a first step to building this hybrid workforce, bring employees to the table and provide them with an opportunity to decide which tasks and processes would be most valuable to automate. They’ll be able to offer insights into areas of inefficiency and other areas of potential, ensuring you can allocate digital workers where they’re needed most.

This will allow you to establish a long-term vision for the implementation of intelligent automation. You can base this vision on your overall organizational strategy and goals, before defining the organizational design that best supports delivery of your RPA capability and aligns with your corporate strategy and culture.

Provide clear definitions and targets

It’s also important to set strong, reliable governance and pipeline targets. Define best practices, standards and governance and identify who will be responsible for maintaining the development integrity and its constituent processes and objects, as well as updating a centralized view or library to reflect the available objects and processes. By creating processes and objects that are reusable, any changes can be implemented once and then cascaded through other processes that use the same object.

Once you’ve gone through these initial procedures and decided which processes to optimize, you need to decide the right delivery methodology to ensure successful deployment of the digital workers that are going to undertake that automation. Come together with team leaders in impacted departments to define the optimal delivery approach and embed policies for rapid and efficient automation in a structured, controlled and repeatable manner.

As the digital workers begin their work, a strong and focused service model is essential to ensure ongoing support for automated operational processes. To get the most out of your RPA model in the long term, you’ll also need to define management, reporting and scheduling procedures, as well as referral handling.

In the midst of all of this, you’ll need people. In spite of all of the tasks that can now be handled by a digital workforce, humans are still required to build and run these automated tools. That means selecting people with the right technical skills, as well as consulting teams to ensure digital workers are on target to meet the initial vision.

Building a team around RPA

A good team structure for the implementation of RPA involves a few roles:

  • Head of RPA: Owns the overall vision for RPA and is responsible for its delivery and overall management
  • RPA Architect: Takes on this vision and is responsible for defining and implementing the optimal approach to RPA capability creation within and across an organization in order to maximize business benefits, scalability and replication
  • Process Analyst: A specialist in identifying which areas are ripe for optimization, they can help your existing employees by clearly capturing the detailed requirements for process automation. This person also documents process definitions and supports testing.
  • Developer: Responsible for developing and delivering automated processes and objects using defined design principles and following the appropriate standards. Confirm all members of the development team stay up-to-date on policies and practices by revisiting training and tutorials on a regular basis.
  • Technical Architect: A technical expert that delivers and maintains a secure and scalable infrastructure platform for your digital workforce. Conversations between teams facilitated by the technical architect increase awareness and understanding of what a digital workforce looks like within an organization
  • Process Controller: A key role that controls, administers and coordinates the daily running of automated processes in the operational environment

The final foundation, informed by everything else, is to choose the right technology to achieve the goals identified by the discovery process. Using these insights, define a scalable technical architecture and the associated growth strategies to generate maximum business benefit from your automation.

Support infrastructure

Continuous service improvement is vital to ensure long-term high performance and scalability. To do this, you’ll need a support infrastructure that helps to drive the adoption of a digital mindset across your organization while enabling the seamless deployment of complementary technologies.

The new age of intelligent automation is exciting, and the plethora of business benefits have inspired many leaders to get started as soon as possible on their automation journeys. Give yourself the best possible chance of success with RPA by taking these foundational steps to make sure you get the most out of your new digital workforce.

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