Digital Transformation, Robotic Process Automation, AI and ML are terms you would have come across frequently if you are from the technology space.

Humongous effort and resources are spent on digital transformation.

What does this mean for you and your organization?

It has become an IT industry fad to compare the number of bots their contenders have deployed.

Is digital transformation success just a measure of the number of BOTs, Analytical dashboards or Chatbots with NLP or digital assistance?

Are you considered to be digitally transformed if you have these checked off your list?

It is very important to plan your digital transformation journey according to your organization’s mission statement.

Set a goal defining your targets, RPA should be used as a tool to speed up the journey to your goal. Let’s see how RPA will help your organization’s goal.

Making RPA all about meeting your Organization’s Vision Statement

Your organization’s mission statement could be customer-centric, to provide customer satisfaction, value adds or exceeding expectations.

The questions to be pondered upon are

  • Does the business process currently followed meet the vision statement? Or aligned with it?
  • Are there avenues to improve the current process to eliminate latency and waste that weighs down on the cost?
  • Considering a process with SLAs attached, are there regular SLA slippages, penalties, that require attention?
  • High resource utilization required to meet the deadline or SLA? Can the margins be further improved?
  • If the process is mature in terms of customer-centric focus, can the process provide more internal benefit by optimization?
  • What are the factors required to improvise the existing process to meet with the future vision of the organization?

Business Process Optimization

Let’s get one thing clear. RPA cannot fix an existing broken process, so it is very crucial to optimize the existing process to be more mature and rigid.

An optimized process is the outcome of a waste eliminated process.

If you are embarking on an RPA journey with an inefficient process, you are automating the inefficiencies as well.

The outcome of the automated process may not reap benefits as expected. Even RPA might be a failure, as the process inefficiency consumes the benefit of the RPA outcome.

To begin with; a Pre RPA exercise is mandatory with all the stakeholders such as business owners, process owners, application owners.

It is not necessary to involve IT at this stage, as this exercise is more business-driven and not IT-driven.

IT involvement is needed during feasibility and infrastructure support stages. Any of the Process improvement techniques can be used, such as six sigma, lean, lean six sigma.

This helps in identifying process defects, gaps, underutilized resources, so on and so forth. The foremost priority would be to fix these defect opportunities.

Process Mining

There are multiple advanced techniques for process mining. Process mining helps in

  • Understanding different perspectives on operations and not just a process perspective.
  • Improvement of operational excellence
  • Automated discovery and analysis of customer interactions, as well as alignment with internal processes
  • Contextualization of processes, that is, visualization of how processes contribute to business value (such as business operating models)

It is not advisable to deviate too much from the goal of RPA and get into the extensive and cost-intensive process improvement exercises, instead try to adopt a technique on a high level to cater to the current goal.

  • Listing down all the business-critical processes department wise
  • Listing down the pain points in each process
  • Let the business process owner provide insights to goals that can be achieved
  • Define process heat maps
  • Brainstorm to arrive at a strategy
  • Make the required changes to the Process
  • Implement the process change (but if the process change requires a complete revamp or the cost exceeds the RPA cost, it is advisable not to consider RPA for the process)
  • Implement RPA
  • Enjoy the benefits of a leaner, optimized process combined with RPA.

It’s not always a rule of the thumb that 100% of the process needs to be automated, this does not mean the End-to-end process needs to be considered resulting in automation of tasks.

If even 70% of the automation of the overall throughput is going to reap business benefits and considerable ROI, then RPA can be piloted while the business owners align rest of the throughput to be aligned to the optimized path.

Factors to consider before RPA implementation

Choosing the right

  • RPA platform
  • Implementation team – Vendor selection
  • Blend of supporting technology
  • Governance models

Once a leaner and mature process is chosen for RPA, few other factors are to be considered for production fit RPA process.

Factors to consider after you embark on the RPA journey

While the RPA journey has successfully kicked off, keep in mind a few points for a successful implementation.

  • Share as much knowledge as possible to the RPA team
  • Never assume that the RPA consultant knows your internal process. It is always better to expose the intricacies, all process deviations, paths and expectations.
  • Share known error databases, application exceptions as is.
  • Involve IT support only for application access and environment setup
  • Train the process owners and stakeholders to work along with the new digital workforce

Working alongside a digital worker

Once the digital workers are deployed, stick to a few rules to keep the RPA ball rolling.
Measuring your KPI is no big deal, revisiting the metrics at regular intervals and aligning them to the organizational goal decides the success of your RPA journey.

The brighter perspective about RPA is that when exploited to its fullest, it makes life much easier.

To sum up

RPA helps organizations to cut down the cost, improve productivity and enhance quality. Keep in mind. Before you make any big changes, you have to do your homework and understand the process. Before setting up the RPA, your organization’s business process needs to be optimized.

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