Robotic process automation (RPA) empowers businesses to work smarter and boost productivity by deploying intelligent machines to capture and interpret existing applications to complete a range of tasks, including transaction processing and data analytics. The scope and potential for RPA use in business is staggering, but enterprises need to optimize RPA implementation to maximize the value from digital evolution.
RPA can drive cost reduction and operational excellence when it is deployed correctly as part of an end-to-end strategy, but those who embrace a haphazard approach to robotics integration will cause havoc as bots access sensitive data without governance or robust oversight. Consulting enterprise McKinsey & Company touches on these concerns, adding that “installing thousands of bots has taken a lot longer and is more complex than most had hoped it would be”.
In its recent Get ready for robots report, EY stated that as many as 50% of initial projects fail. This is often due to factors such as focusing on IT rather than it being a business-led initiative, not having an RPA business case, and a lack of understanding about how everything will change when processes make the switch to automation.
How to tackle RPA
The need for optimization is clear, but what is the best path? Enterprises should begin by building an RPA business case, identifying complex and critical processes that are RPA-mature, calculating the number of robots needed, maximizing RPA utilization and then working towards orchestrating a blended human-machine workforce.
In addition to the wider strategy of RPA optimization, enterprises need to focus on optimizing RPA for each function, such as customer service. Merely having chatbots, for example, is not enough if they are incapable of meeting the needs of customers. Building intelligent assistants must, therefore, be the goal – third-party software companies can often deliver the solutions that take RPA to the next level.
ActiveOps Workware is among a new breed of cloud-based back office solutions empowering enterprises to optimize RPA adoption in the workplace. Using analytics and real-time insights, employees can identify and remove inefficiencies for an RPA project even before it has been deployed. These insights can be used for ongoing optimization too, ensuring the robotic workforce is always delivering the right level of service at the lowest cost. Digital connections to robots allow for at-a-glance reports on their performance and capacity, which provides a holistic view of the blended workforce.
Think like a robot
Just like a human workforce, robots and machines need to be optimized as well. It is no surprise that they need different conditions to thrive. They require a constant stream of work to perform correctly, are reliant on system response to support their functions, and are often susceptible to bottlenecks. Each of these factors can impact performance. These are aspects that need to be managed carefully to ensure your enterprise gets the most from RPA implementation.
Governance and oversight must also be considered. It is now possible to leverage capabilities such as auto self-documentation so that every action from a machine is tracked, which creates an audit trail and ensures compliance risks are minimized.
Implementing RPA is relatively easy. Ensuring it supports the business effectively in the long term is the hard part.