Want Smooth RPA Implementation? Look At Proof Of Value – Not Proof Of Concept.

The growing amount of data and the pace of digital technologies development means that the existing structure of companies stop to be effective. Many companies see solutions to their problems in artificial intelligence and robotics. According to Deloitte findings, the growth rate of companies’ expenditure on the implementation of such technologies by 2021 will grow by an average of 50% each year — on a global scale — up to 200 billion dollars.
The choice seems to be obvious — RPA’s positive outcomes are almost immediately visible taking the robot out of the human. Today’s average knowledge worker employed on a back office process has a lot of repetitive, routine tasks that are uninspiring and demotivating. RPA is a type of software that mimics the activity of a human being in carrying out a task within a process. It can do repetitive stuff more quickly, error-free, and non-stop unlike humans, freeing them to do other, more creative tasks tasks requiring human strengths such as emotional intelligence, reasoning, judgment, and interaction with other people.
However, international companies eager to implement robotic process automation are often wrongfully fixated on seeing a PoC — proof of concept first. The key to effective RPA implementation is finding PoV — Proof of Value, not a proof of concept.

 

Why RPA implementations fail

When people go on to automate a simple process that might require one employee and half a spreadsheet and declare success. That is a wrong approach since all they did is proving that the technology worked.
What they haven’t proved is whether there is a real business case for automation, if it delivers the scale of improvements the company wants to achieve and most importantly — if the current process steps are irreplaceable or should they be firstly optimised. Rather than a POC, companies should insist on POV — proof of value — before embarking on RPA. 
RPA is not an universal process-specific solution, but rather the automation of rules-based, manual work not covered by a company’s process-specific technology systems. And that work necessarily varies from company to company. You can have few organisations and they each could be running the same SAP system, but the way in which these systems are configured depends on the particular company’s rules and that means there is different work that falls out manually.
Although it’s almost always better to optimise the process before automating it, some companies prefer using RPA technology to automate the work the same way employees do it. It really depends on what is driving the business decision. The process rules can be simple to extremely complex, ranging from projects in which it’s taken weeks to several months to capture and learn the processes that are eventually automated.

 

Proving the value in five steps

Whether the RPA work involves simple or complex rules, companies need to follow certain steps in order to get a proof of value. Here is a synopsis of our five steps for deploying RPA technology:

 

1. Get the scope

As it happens with other transformational projects, RPA is a process enhancing, transformational tool, not an Excel macro builder. This isn’t just about the cost; rather, it has to do with mitigating the challenges of growing in a linear fashion by increasing the number of full-time employees. For some, it is about improving speed and quality to differentiate in the market. Others are attracted by the insight and analytics that come from consolidating all transactional data into one database for real-time visibility.

 

2. Capture, map and identify

It’s often hard to spot pain points within the organisation, especially when often top management does not have a full picture of how the operational tasks are performed and how repetitive they are. Solutions like Untrite SophiaAI™ mapping solutions help to identify pain points within the organisation and identify what needs to change.

 

Identifying processes for RPA is time-consuming and error-prone, especially when there is a knowledge gap between managerial and the operational employees. It’s time-consuming because companies lack intelligent tools and rely on a series of discussions with subject-matter experts as the chief source of information for a process. Process descriptions are often inaccurate or incomplete making RPA process prone to error. These errors increase project risk and extend timelines due to costly cycles of exchanges between client, business analysts, and developers.

Analysing the business and map processes at keystroke level allows RPA experts to get a good picture of areas where configuration will be complex. Standard operating procedures, training materials and system manuals will be great inputs, but not enough by themselves. Have the RPA experts sit with the process experts to map what really happens. It eventually makes it easier to plot costs and service levels to the processes as a baseline.

3. Analyse and design

With the scope defined and mapped, you can identify processes and parts of processes most suitable for automation. Next, calculate the time and cost to implement these, as well as the benefits of doing so. The following step is to design a target operating model (TOM) — a graphical depiction of the desired business structure and processes affected by the RPA implementation; it should detail everything from stakeholders to the applications/systems used by the automation. It’s important to map not just the RPA portions but also the scope of the business to determine how to redeploy freed resources to drive greater business value.

4. Forecast the implementation journey

Consider all that is involved in the transformation and don’t underestimate the time required for change management and benefits realisation. Create the implementation plan and financial model by looking at the savings and the cost avoidance that this transformation will bring over an estimated three to five years. Consider the cost of implementing RPA without forgetting about its maintenance — updating it to take on additional tasks as needed.

5. Gain top management support

The final step is to use the business case, TOM and strategy to get support for prioritising this transformation. The business case will be usually predicting ROIs of 300% or more, making the case easier to roll out.

At Untrite, we provide smart RPA solutions for high growth companies. We are very excited about the new projects we are taking on helping our clients’ employees focus on productivity — not processing. Follow our next steps by subscribing to our newsletter or get in touch by emailing me directly at kamila@untrite.com.

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