Digital Transformation has been on the forefront of the strategies of most of the organizations today, especially during the current Covid pandemic. Digital transformation serves companies in several ways:
Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Data Science are the most sought-after technologies/concepts that might transform an organization to levels unprecedented in the history of human kind. However, the strategy to adopt these has to have a vision overseeing the broader picture and goals rather than looking at it as a technology embracement to automate certain areas. There have been many cases – organizations were quick to jump on to the bandwagon, just because others have been doing so and have miserably failed. Issues that they have reported range from data loss, privacy issues, Cyber security issues, Business Continuity, Regulatory Compliance, issues with identity & access management etc. All these have to be kept in consideration before adoption. These companies are now waiting and watching for others in their league to burn their hands. On the other end of the spectrum, there have also been several organizations that started exploring the possibilities with AI/ML/RPA with carefully planned strategy and have been successful ever since. In essence, these newer technologies should not be treated as a one stop solution for all the issues that need a fix but rather as band aids that need to be carefully integrated into larger vision of the organization for automation.
So, if your organization is planning to adopt these novel technologies, where do each of these lie with respect to the amount of automation and intelligence that they bring along?
RPA lies between processes that are performed manually and processes that are completely automated where the AI/ML models deployed learn by themselves and perform. The market for RPA has been growing steadily and is expected to grow by 60% CAGR rate in the next decade. As in 2019, it is a $ 1.5 billion segment.
RPA can be adopted successfully, when the following are fulfilled-
RPA can in some cases be a stepping stone in an organization’s journey towards complete automation. Especially in the case of larger organizations that have several legacy systems in place that don’t have the capability to interact with each other. RPA technologies can easily integrate these legacy systems and automate several tasks, activities and processes without a need for a complete overhaul. These larger companies before they step into complete automation, could learn a great deal of things such as employees’ reaction towards automation, can get enough time to re-skill or up-skill existing employees who may be displaced by automated technologies, address regulatory, security and other risks. When it has sorted out all the above issues, it can jump to a complete automation set up leveraging AI/ML. Smaller organizations have the advantage of using newer technologies and may not be really associated with legacy systems as with their larger counterparts.
Automation by leveraging RPA for any organization has to start with a core pillar of Vision creation. What does the organization want to achieve with RPA? Does it want to-
Answers to these and many more form the basis of the vision. This shall be the driving force for the rest of the journey towards automation. It has to be sufficiently backed up by a C level executive and shouldn’t be left to the mid-level managers. Unless there is a voice on the top propelling changes, things wouldn’t gain traction. This has been observed time and again across many industries when they wanted to embrace newer processes and technologies.
Discovery is another important step in the overall strategy. Which items to automate first , should they be complex or low risk items or simpler and high volume ones ? This needs a deeper dive by involving the process leaders and employees as they are the best people who can explain their processes. A simple example would be to pick processes that are of high complexity and are easily implementable, as elucidated below.
Companies that are confident of evangelizing the idea of RPA and where it is confident that the employees are not reluctant for new changes, can adopt a bottom up approach. It is about empowering each employee with requisite tools and trainings to automate their day to day processes. It is a democratic way of implementation of RPA. One has to also be cautions of how these minor projects built across the organization would fit into the larger strategy and vision of the organization. They cannot be multiple stop gap solutions lying scattered across, which poses many risks in the future. The alignment to larger goals must not be missed considering.
A central team of resources drawn out of various departments could drive RPA at organizations making it a top down approach. The team decides which ones to automate, which are important, which are aligning to the vision etc. For conservative organizations, Top down approach is our recommendation.
Based on the type of systems and processes that are identified in the above phases, the organization can choose from a multitude of vendors in the RPA space. The type of implementation – whether to be done by consultants alone or by a mix of internal resources with consultants can be decided here based on the availability of the talent at the organization and the difficulty/ease with which one can build the team. It is a best strategy to have a mix of internal resources and a team of experienced consultants to get the job done.
To name a few, UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, Pega systems RPA are some of the prominent vendors. Specific ones for financial domain also exist such as – REDWOOD.
As pilot projects, a set can be zeroed in, which have to be carefully governed from the initial stages of implementation. Post deployment, the key metrics need to be measured such as ROI, employee satisfaction levels, level of maintenance etc. This step gives an opportunity to fine tune our strategy and with renewed focus, one can move ahead targeting other processes on the list.
If you wish to transform your organization by utilizing automation technologies and wish to know the niceties of RPA, various vendors in the space, vendor analysis, risks arising out of RPA, cost benefit analysis, use cases, pricing and other details, do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, submit your queries on Contact Us form. Our representatives would get back to you shortly with relevant information