How to make sure you benefit from Robotic Process Automation (RPA)


Software robots are fast, accurate, secure, reliable, flexible, and quick to implement.  Fact – they do as they are instructed and can work 24/7-365. No holidays, sick days, breaks, night-time and weekends don’t make a difference. 

RPA provides masses of processing capacity for your business in both front & back office. The sheer capacity RPA offers is almost unquantifiable. 

One robot for a small investment will deliver up to 306600 hours of work a year (24/7 365 x 5) compared to average person’s 1360 hours (6 hours a day x 260 days).

They can be used anywhere to a greater or lesser extent when you define their remit. Would you mow a football field manually when there’s an option to have it done by itself in a fraction of the time and cos? What other things can you do if you know you do not have to mow a football field weekly?

From experience, I can tell you that all the above is possible. But if you do not take using them seriously and develop internal capacity (a Robotic Process Automation COE (Centre of Excellence)), you’ll be biting off more than you can chew. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us, and we are at the stage where so much more is possible, but you must make the effort to keep up. 

The way we can work has changed forever, with prominent RPA vendors (UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, Microsoft (Softomotive)) making RPA accessible, and huge ongoing investment to add logic, thinking, monitoring (intelligent automation/hyper-automation) to RPA software. Bots can make decisions, communicate with people, and spot problems. It’s a win-win.

Common problems encountered in RPA

RPA isn’t a plug-and-play solution. Implementation is often afflicted by:

  • Spiraling budgets
  • Messy processes
  • Potential problems not accounted for
  • Automating the wrong processes because of a lack of understanding
  • Reallocating people
  • Having no backup plan

“How on earth are my competitors getting so lean and pulling away from us? What do they know that we do not?” It’s a question we hear all the time.

The answer is simple. Like all new things that change the way we look at the world, we are still learning how to use them, and you must take this new technology and approach to work seriously. Attempting to quantify value with limited knowledge is a recipe for disaster. You cannot create confidence and plan to improve the way you run your business when many are still trying to work out what value automation & AI will bring. 

Things are changing quickly. 

How do you plan for RPA?

In three years, the way back and front office operations are managed will be unrecognisable, and unless you have invested the time to understand and master this new way of working, you won’t know what that means. You must invest internally, develop the capability to make sure you can keep up and even take the lead. Even if you start with one or two people, use a framework to link business operations strategically with IT.

To get the strategy right, you need to know what you are doing. Accept that robots are not pieces of code used to automate minute tasks; understand that this is the first phase of a new way of working. Define why are you looking to automate, i.e. what is the benefit for the business. Is it to support you internally or externally, is it a mixture of both? FTE reduction or additional capacity? To remove errors, increase standardisation or for resilience? What does it all mean? 

Let us stop and think. 

Look at where we will be tomorrow and map how to get there. Invest in our people, so we benefit from their uniqueness. After all, they will not be manipulating databases or spreadsheets in every part of our business for a living.

The answer is to learn, develop internal capacity through a Robotic Process Automation COE with the Nine Pillars. Create a hub that manages what the bots do and has strategic input to roadmap new ways of working—strategically led to maximise our blend of capacity – (RPA) automation and people. 

Define where they both start and stop.

What steps do you need to take to support RPA internally? 

  • Standardised methodology
  • Deliver through frameworks
  • Monitor what you do
  • Quantify RPA implementation

Learn more about implementing RPA into your company 


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