5 questions to ask if you are considering Intelligent Process Automation

Intelligent Process Automation is playing an ever-increasing role in the strategy of organisations looking to modernise their front, middle and back-office functions. In the simplest terms, RPA can access applications, copy, and paste information (without the risk of error), and follow predefined rules at a speed often five times faster than a human. Therefore, accurate data becomes readily available for people to analyse and then make critical decisions. Intelligent Automation has the ability to transform business models and accelerate change within organisations big and small. One of the most important consideration is strategy. You can use intelligent automation to address cost savings, however when applied as a broader strategic tool, returns are far higher. Here are 5 questions to ask if you are considering intelligent process automation:
 

1. Do I have internal capability?

Having internal capability will significantly improve an organisation’s ability to achieve its automation goals, ensuring the full value of the RPA solution is realised and thereby maximise ROI. Having some form of COE (Centre of Excellence) i.e. Internal capability enables companies to better gather, assess and manage the necessary knowledge and capabilities needed to effectively deploy an RPA solution, and provides guidelines to overcome any challenges that surface along the RPA journey.
Internal capability through a COE is the long-term strategic approach to ensure RPA is embedded into the organisation, and automation ingrained into the culture of the organisation. It enables an organisation to scale RPA at the enterprise level through common technology, standard processes and procedures, and a governance model.
 

2 .Do I know what I want to automate?

It is important to select the right processes especially at the beginning to show a quick return on investment. To generate traction, clients have often found it bestto start with simple processes which are more visible and not critical to the
working of the group. Initially, it is better to select processes with a fewer exceptions paths as possible to start with.
 
Selecting the wrong initial processes can slow down or even stop the Automation initiative. Choosing the wrong pilot process has been one of the major reasons for failed Automation initiatives. Now that we have an extensive “Use Case Library” of processes that are a good fit for RPA, it is advisable to choose the initial processes with a strong fit.
 

3. Automation is an Operational Tool

This is a major mindset shift and probably the most important one for successful RPA implementations. Most of the initiatives on RPA either do not take off or end up in failure when RPA is considered purely as an IT tool and goes through the usual Tool evaluation and implementation process. It is not easy but critical to have discussions to align all stakeholders, with the notion Automation is an Operational tool that sites between Business & IT.
 

4. Do I have buy-in from my team

There is a lot of hysteria around job losses due to Automation. So, it becomes especially important to plan and manage communications. It is very important to define the roles of stakeholders within your automation programme. Stakeholders should sit across teams like IT, Infrastructure, Audit/Compliance and Business operations. As with any initiative, there is always resistance from various levels, groups and/or teams. It is important to educate and communicate to raise awareness of
Automation and its benefits. This can help improve buy-in on automation. Quite contrary to popular belief, adoption of RPA actually leads to more sustainable growth and further creation of more jobs in the long run. RPA is not a replacement of the tasks performed by the humans, rather RPA is the tool that helps a business ‘super-charge’ their staff by providing an efficient working environment. Once boring, non-productive, and non-income-generating admin tasks are automated by the RPA robots, humans / employees are free to take on more decision-making and creative responsibilities.
 

5. Measure Performance

Calculating the performance metrics of RPA implementation can be tricky, however every organisation will have its own measurement on what makes for successful RPA adoption. RPA is an effective tool and should be treated with the same due diligence as any other investment. The financial ROI always normally leads the race. However, there is a lot more to how RPA can be measured, simply because it is not just a cost-savings measure. RPA’s Key Performance Indicators:
  • Accuracy of output / error reduction 
  • Workforce productivity
  • Consistency of performance 
  • Compliance to rules and regulations
  • Employee satisfaction