Digital workforces are the future. The development of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) means that organizations can now automate at a fraction of the cost, with no disruption to everyday processes. This new IA (Intelligent Automation) technology allows anyone to configure bots at user interface level. It puts scalable, digital resources at your fingertips, giving employees more time to focus on creative aspects of their jobs.
Bots can capture data and carry out repetitive tasks, just like human workers – only faster, and with zero mistakes. This saves businesses money and helps them scale effectively. The benefits are countless, but not all companies are RPA-ready.
Initial considerations with RPA
Before investing in robotics, it’s important to consider whether your organization is ready for the transition. The best candidates for RPA are businesses that run on multiple operational processes in high volumes – these are usually procedures that require a lot of manual effort. Applying RPA to the wrong processes simply won’t give you the results that you desire.
Some organizations have concerns about costly and time-consuming implementation. But unlike traditional automation, RPA is a non-intrusive technology. It latches onto existing infrastructures without causing disruption to your systems. So business downtime will be little to none.
Additionally, RPA solutions don’t necessarily require large budgets. One of the key considerations here is the cost of alternative solutions, such as business process outsourcing or offshore manual processing (which are significantly higher).
Laying the groundwork for automation
To maximize the potential of robotic automation, you first need to have a strategy. This strategy should involve process selection, process streamlining, and an implementation timeline. Contrary to some of the fears surrounding automation, introducing RPA to your business is a very human process. Business leaders should start by asking their teams where they most need help, what changes they would like to see, and how their time can be better utilized.
Marketing the idea within your organization is also important if you want to ensure that RPA is well-received. Resistance to new technology can be a problem, but with a staggered rollout, the benefits of having bots in the workplace will become clear in no time.
Training is essential when deploying RPA, but will cause minimal workforce downtime. Bots can be configured without the need for code (or with very little), and RPA tools work with existing applications at the user interface, making them easy to integrate. With full cooperation from staff, RPA can boost productivity levels and give you 24/7 output. Done right, you will see results quickly and painlessly, with almost-instant wins on the processes you automate. But it’s important to lay the groundwork and get processes ready if you want to pave the way for a successful digital workforce.
Choose the right processes to automate
The most important step in getting your processes ready is to choose the right process to automate in the first place. Selecting the most suitable processes is the key to achieving seamless end-to-end automation, saving substantial resources and giving you a much better return.
The types of processes in your business that are ready for automation are usually high in volume and high in manual effort. They are the sorts of things your employees do every day, repetitively, in a simple yet structured format.
This isn’t to say that more complicated processes can’t be automated. Processes that are more complex in nature can also be considered, but will require the workflow to be predictable and capable of being modelled.
Processes to consider might be:
- High volume administrative work
- Data entry that is prone to manual errors
- Dual data entry that uses more than one system at a time
- Transactions that need to be completed within a certain timeframe
- Data matching, collating and comparing
Processes to avoid might be:
- Low volume processes that take up little human resource
- High-volatility processes prone to workflow changes
- Very complex processes that require human decision-making
In theory, RPA can be applied to a wide range of scenarios, and across all departments within a business. But the greatest value comes from finding those repetitive, rule-based tasks that can be easily mimicked by a bot.
Streamline your processes first
The next step is to ensure your processes are optimized for robotics. One of the biggest challenges with RPA deployment is the errors and inefficiencies created during the mapping stage. So before automating company processes, find ways to improve them.
Here is how your processes should be optimized for RPA:
1. Make your process clear
If your processes are easy to understand and follow a logical pattern, you will put less work into configuring the bots. The simpler your processes are, the more easily you can make RPA a scalable solution across the whole business.
2. Reduce steps and variables
Ask yourself if there’s an easier way to achieve a task. Many companies overcomplicate procedures with too many steps and variables. Break it down and make it as straightforward as possible. This may require separating joint tasks that need to be standalone processes, or finding other ways around a complicated task.
3. Use careful mapping
Incorrectly mapping keystrokes is a simple error that can result in inaccurate automation. To avoid robots from mimicking human mistakes, it’s important to approach this stage with absolute care. Ensure that workflows align before and after mapping.
Implement the right RPA software
In addition to choosing and streamlining tasks, it’s important to choose the right RPA software for your processes. Finding an enterprise-grade solution that is also easy to use will ensure that the technology integrates with existing operations, and can be easily adopted by all members of staff.
One of the vendors worth reviewing is Automation Anywhere – a global RPA platform of choice. Automation Anywhere has been identified as a leader in the industry, and was ranked in The Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q2 2018 report as one of the “15 RPA providers that matter most”.
Automation Anywhere is the world’s most widely deployed platform, and it has the ability to provide a strong RPA foundation, automate complex tasks, with possibilities of fast scaling and rapid adoption.
Choosing a platform like this allows businesses to improve productivity across every department one step at a time. By starting small, a company can roll out RPA in a structured way. A staggered approach to technology adoption ensures that future robotics are seamless, and ROI is maximized.