When contemplating an RPA solution, the most important strategic considerations should be sustainability and scalability. The benefits of RPA cannot be achieved by automating one or two processes, nor can ROI be realized without establishing a maintenance plan. Let’s dive into the two most common RPA challenges that occur when a business has not clearly defined a long-term scalability solution strategy.
How companies miss sustainable, scalable RPA components
1. By not creating a hyper-care strategy and team. Business leaders will invest in resources for the initial software solution but can fail to plan for “post-launch” or hyper-care. It is not uncommon for RPA programs to lose steam after the initial launch of a bot, but RPA is not a “one and done” technology solution.
For example, a business leader has identified a process that requires one of their employees to log into a system to download multiple files and consolidate them into a weekly report. This report is sent out via email to a predefined distribution list. The process is clearly documented, the definition of success is clear, and the bot is even able to increase the frequency of the report, ultimately achieving even more than originally hoped!
The implementation program is completed, and resources are dispersed until another wave of processes can be picked up in a future project. Several months later, the company decides to migrate from the existing data system to a new one. Given the absence of a hyper-care plan team, the bot is rendered useless even though the business process has not been altered.
2. Launching RPAs within business silos. Most organizations find their business processes organized by business units rather than an end-to-end result. Consider the process of billing for a product or service where the sales team may not interact with the billing team and the billing team does not directly interact with the accounts receivable team.
If the billing team decides to invest in RPA without involving the business units upstream and downstream in the process, the organization risks not achieving the holistic benefits of optimizing and automating the full end-to-end process and misses critical process dependencies that may later result in rework of the bot creation.
For RPA to be effective, the involved teams/business units need to see and understand how the dots connect—the big picture impact of an effectively working RPA and the ability to define and map a future-state, end-to-end workflow.
Lack of Organizational Readiness
In our previous blog, we discussed the benefits, best practices, and implementation of Robotic Process Automation, and how to determine if your organization is ready for RPA. Not surprisingly, three common pitfalls occur because the organization has not taken the steps to prepare for the development of bots. In other words, the process or the people are not ready. Let’s take a closer look at three value blockers.
Processes are not ready. The process optimization undertaking is critical for long-term successful RPA implementation and requires thorough process mapping and standardized documentation. Many organizations find themselves skimping on the process mapping step in an effort to launch bots more quickly. However, thorough process mapping is a critical step in not only identifying optimization opportunities but also identifying technology dependencies.
The quality of a bot’s performance is limited to the quality of the process defined. If a process has not been streamlined and optimized, then developing a bot to repeat it is likely a waste of time.
Recall our discussion on process complexity and the importance of rules-based processes. Many companies miss the mark with their initial process backlog because they don’t take the time to optimize their existing processes first. They neglect to consider the end-to-end complete process; this results in incomplete dependency mapping and a missed opportunity to implement the full business process to realize those cost savings.
SME buy-in is not established. In our previous RPA blog, we focused on the importance of organization readiness as it pertains to process maturity and delivery strategy. But the importance of SMEs and employee buy-in for RPA is equally critical when pursuing a long-term RPA solution.
Overlooking the importance of the SME involvement leads to the bots being technology-driven rather than process-driven. This means that the bots will perform a task based on assumptions rather than business needs. It is critical for the Steam running your RPA platform to own and know the process. RPA cannot be successful if the process is not fully defined, and an SME usually holds the keys to properly documenting the process.
There is a lack of employee engagement. In addition to having champions within the organization, it is equally important to provide ongoing employee education and communication to engage employees early and throughout RPA transformation.
Team members who are close to the day-to-day process need to understand how bots work, their operational value, and how RPA creates capacity and opportunity for employees to move to more value-add work and skillset expansion. Better understanding and communication transparency can help ease any anxieties employees might have about RPA. Moreover, if successes are not celebrated within the organization, it will become challenging to sustain the momentum and impact of future RPA efforts.
These identified RPA challenges to establishing the scalability and sustainability you’re looking for can be easily managed by having a clear, proactive RPA strategy. Creating defined process documentation standards that incorporate a strong governance process will help you manage the inevitable change and cross-functional dependencies of your successful RPA program.
Looking for strategy and implementation assistance? Propeller can help your organization develop a long-term RPA strategy that will help you usher in sustainable growth and operational cost-savings across your cross-functional processes.
To learn more about our RPA partnership solution, reach out to us today.
Described by teammates as high energy, Ashley Farr leans into her optimistic and collaborative work approach and experience steering large-scale, tech-driven business and operational strategies. She approaches every client engagement through three lenses: people, process, and product. It’s a 360-degree perspective that taps her strengths as an empathetic and transparent communicator, an optimizer of existing states with new approaches, and the wise application of tech improvement to optimize tech investment.
An avid CrossFit devotee, Ashley credits the technicality of the movements and the ever-moving targets for how she approaches problem-solving for clients. Ashley received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina.
Described by clients as accountable and personable, Dawn Hu is as passionate about delivering value and making an impact as she is about seeing efficiency improvement and capacity creation. She is a change agent with the ability to leverage data to identify opportunities for improvement and to drive multi-disciplinary groups to consensus through collaboration. Dawn’s success as a consultant is largely driven by her ability to keep the customer experience at the center of every engagement.
Dawn comes to Propeller with more than six years of experience in the financial services industry for a global asset management bank. Her leadership roles included business analyst, relationship manager, Lean consultant, and project manager. Dawn received her bachelor’s degrees in economics and sociology from Boston College.