Robotic Process Automation: Four Big Must-dos Before Deploying Your Bots

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is going mainstream, but businesses should be aware of blind spots that could hinder optimum use of this technology, says Jabian Consulting.

Organizations need to look at multiple factors and ask questions for long-term RPA success

As adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) goes more mainstream, enthusiastic yet unsuspecting businesses can fall victim to a potential number of bot blind spots.

“Think macro to micro,” says Will Funderberg, a director in Jabian Consulting’s Charlotte office. “There are some tasks at this stage of RPA usage that align perfectly with their utility. But before deploying anything, it’s essential to get a really good handle on a well thought out use and integration strategy to take advantage of what this technology can provide.”

To review, an RPA tool operates by mapping and mimicking the manual computerized processes humans do. The software bot follows computer pathways to access multiple applications to automate and perform rule-based tasks that are highly repetitive and labor intensive.

As presented on Jabian Consulting’s Strategy That Works Podcast, here are some key considerations to think about when implementing RPA:

  •     Think volume and value – High task volumes, customer touchpoints and value of a person’s time are where RPA will deliver the most value. Initially look for areas where task volumes are extremely high, such if a task is repeated thousands of times a month. For example, Finance loves RPA. Giving it back hours at the end of the month by helping them close books more quickly can be a significant win over time.
  •     Cost vs. time – Yes, RPA software and license costs can be pretty inexpensive. But utilization is almost less about the dollars and more about the ancillary impacts of time saved and maximized efficiencies. If a repetitive task only needs to be automated for six months, it might still make sense to deploy a bot. The cost of several weeks of set up could be quickly recouped through the greater efficiency of using a person’s time elsewhere.
  •     Look at the arc of use and deployment – “While a single use case can build interest, lack of due diligence over expanded deployments will create issues,” says Jed Manfull, manager with Jabian Consulting, Charlotte. Organizations need to look at multiple factors and ask questions for long-term RPA success, including:

o    What is our value proposition?
o    What and how many functions can be automated?
o    How are we going to integrate or interact with different business areas?
o    What is our governance structure going to look like?
o    How do we to scale up?
o    What does usage look like in five years?

  •     RPA ownership – Any department can take a manual repetitive task, load a bot on their desktop, and automate it. However, IT should know what’s going on to help with possible issues and oversee future applications. So, on the very front end of setting up an RPA capability, establish an understanding between who is using RPA and who will ultimately support it.

Delve deeper into the current state of Robotic Process Automation in Episode #2 of the Strategy That Works Podcast.
Strategy That Works Podcast features the best minds in management and technology. Subscribe and listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

About Jabian Consulting
Jabian Consulting is a strategic management and technology consulting firm with an integrated approach to creating and implementing strategies, enhancing business processes, developing human capital, and better aligning technology – ultimately helping clients become more competitive and profitable. Jabian blends functional expertise, industry knowledge, and senior experience to think strategically and act practically. It’s a Strategy that Works®.

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