What is the relationship between the automation of robotic processes and the more general idea of digital transformation?

A significant majority of 93 percent of business executives agree that automation is the first step in the direction of digital transformation, according to the results of a survey of 502 executives conducted in May 2019 and reported in The Economist.

This is consistent with the notion that the primary factor for making digital transformation real is an ‘automation first’ mindset. Recognizing the value of automation in a constructive manner, however, by committing to scale RPA, does not immediately turn into leveraging RPA to transform companies digitally fully.

Sustained efforts are needed to enhance people’s knowledge of automation, highlight its benefits, and thereby build and maintain enthusiasm. Within the entire enterprise, the disruptive development of digital technologies is driven by a humanistic viewpoint, according to which technology is beneficial in the first place because it helps the workers to do more desirable jobs and thus become more comfortable with their employment.

How does RPA help your organization transform?

Let’s start with a review of why automation contributes so significantly to your company’s progress and is, therefore, to be seen as a disruptive technology in the most positive sense of the word ‘disruptive.’ The following robotic process automation findings provide a basis for discussion of its transformative ability.

  • Financial benefits, e.g., reduced operating costs, improved ROI returns;
  •  Rationalizing the workflow, making complicated procedures more accessible and more flexible;
  •  Reduction of risk to safety;
  • Enhancements to cycle times and accuracy;
  • Enhanced operational and commercial control, e.g., compliance with regulations;
  • Better insights and market analytics;

Last but not least, the implementation of RPA can be seen as an entry-level approach to digital transformation. In the pilot stage the journey starts, while by standardizing the company’s plan to automation, scaling RPA makes progress. In the transformation phase, it is the responsibility of the employees themselves to identify suitable automation processes, while the Center of Excellence oversees the deployment of RPA.

What are the best practices for effective ways to scale automation of the robotic processes and face the inherent scaling challenges? We will describe ‘efficient’ in terms of leading the way to digital transformation by redesigning the automation approach, in line with the current topic of discussion.

Collaboration and Contact

One of the most significant obstacles when implementing RPA is addressing people’s concerns. Employees worry about being replaced. Managers wonder how they handle their staff can affect the RPA robot personnel. Executives fear they won’t see the expected ROI.

An RPA CoE can manage the communication between HR, IT, and the business units.  This includes:

  1. The aims of automation at the business
  2. The importance that this gives to its specific functions
  3. How you manage the robots
  4. With questions and complaints, people may have and who they will turn to.

The goal is to ensure that the business units, IT, HR, line managers, and employees are all on the same page and aligned to the same goal in moves.

In this situation, business units will need to take the lead in planning and to develop a tasked based change strategy to help ensure RPA technologies are implemented, and optimum business outcomes are achieved.

Creating a common environment between the company and the RPA CoE will help improve the organizations scalability and deployment of technology.

Do not forget about the importance of bots within your corporate security policies

You may be inclined to assume that corporate security measures are not meant to protect the robots.

In this situation, the rules should be revised so that they are relevant to the modern digital context, whereby bots will have access to the corporate processes themselves, given the lack of human credentials.

Enabling and Supporting RPA

The vast majority of RPA software solutions are ‘business-friendly,’ meaning automation can be built without coding or IT expertise to a large extent. However, to scale RPA automation across a whole company, a core group of RPA technical experts is needed. This core group will:

  1. Ensure a functional operating environment (e.g., virtual servers for RPA robots or robots with mobile assistants)
  2. Work with IT to consider changes in future infrastructure, systems, or applications which can affect automation of RPA.
  3. Test RPA automation to ensure safety and governance requirements are respected
  4. Provide training to end-users of RPA solutions
  5. Closely monitor robots are an internal “support desk” for RPA-related issues/questions
  6. Provide automation changes requests management.

The benefits of RPA automation can be massive, not only in terms of time savings but also in terms of better quality, accuracy, enforcement, and interaction between customers and staff.

For starters, a large banking and financial services company wanted to be the lender of choice for car dealers. To do so, the response to requests from dealers needed to be faster. And their adjudication process was slowed down. The company employed ten full-time staff to manually sort loan applications based on customer history, credit rating, loan interest, and other criteria, into the correct adjudicator ‘s work queue.

They were able to automate this process by implementing RPA, that did not require drawn-out data integrations or any software coding. The spectacle speaks for itself.

The funder decreased the time it took adjudicators to receive, review, and allocate loans by 50 per cent; from 6 minutes to 3 minutes. Half of the FTEs that were assigned to this project could be redeployed, saving an additional $250,000 a year. They also improved efficiency, minimized human error, and reduced risk by not allowing borrowers to accept applications outside their authority limits.

They eventually enhanced the experience of their customers and became the lender of choice for their area.

Setup an enterprise-wide and consistent governance structure

RPA service providers’ involvement can alter the dynamics of functional and technological changes within your company, respectively. The solution we propose is to create some sort of executive oversight, such as an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE), which provides a cohesive, holistic view of the entire automation journey.

In reality, bottlenecks in governance are among the pitfalls that can impede automation progress early, i.e., during the implementation or test process, and prevent RPA scaling. The CoE is responsible for selecting tools, vendors, and policies for the robotic process automation.

You will also need a CoE as you move down the automation path to maintain the balance between bots already in development and new ones; ‘balance’ stands for ‘consistently good quality on both sides.’ Also, the CoE’s role includes training staff with regard to practical ways of cooperating with the bots at all stages of RPA deployment.