If you have just started exploring RPA or are seriously considering to implement it soon one piece of advice would be to not fall for the “simple” trap. Let me explain.
Most companies begin their search by finding an RPA solution vendor in the marketplace. A quick glance on google search results will reveal the top three or five vendors in the space. If you visit their websites you will be very impressed and you will think their solution offering is a panacea for all that is wrong with your business processes and you will feel that you have finally found the golden hammer that you were looking to put all the nails down. Next, you will contact the vendors for a demo. It is here that you will begin to get sucked into the sales pitches. The demo will look very fast without any hitch and very simple to do. This will further solidify your belief that you have finally found the magical golden hammer and you begin to think that there is really no rocket science here and you start thinking of doing it alone without any outside help as you think it to be very “simple”. And that is precisely my point – Do not fall into the “simple” trap and decide to do it on your own and run in circles around your RPA initiative. You have just seen the trailer of the movie which the vendors manage so well and you decide to create the movie of your organization based on what you see. Don’t. Here is why:
- First, the demo or the proof of concept or PoC that vendor does is just for one process or robot. So, of course, it will look simple. Most vendors will do a quick PoC involving just a day or two. Once they sell the license, off they go and you are left on your own. This is where a consultant or a consulting partner can help. They can do a PoC spanning 4 weeks with a slightly complex process that may cut through different departments or systems and help you understand what is involved at a much deeper level than before. The consultant or the partner will guide you through each and every step of RPA implementation process as part of their implementation methodology. We call ours Foresight 20/20™ for a reason as we have a crystal clear roadmap that will guide you through the journey and you won’t have to figure it out on your own.
- The next question is around starting your RPA journey. Some questions to consider are: Where do you begin? Which processes you should start with first? What is your selection criteria for process automation? This will require a process assessment and analysis. Here again, a consultant or a consulting partner and their knowledge in process analysis and implementation methodology can help.
- The vendor solution will have its limitation as no one tool can provide all the answers. Therefore it is imperative that you have a guide that can tell you which 3rd party tool can work best for your process requirements and vendor solution.
- How will you manage it all? As you begin automating your processes and building your bots you will need to consider scaling. From a scaling and management point of view, you will need to implement a Robotic Operations Centre or ROC. This will look after team roles responsible for various aspects of implementation, change management, governance etc. On the technological side, you will need to consider bots orchestration, a reusable library of bot microservices etc. So it will be important the consultant is not just knowledgeable on the business side but on tools, practices and technology as well.
- Once you reach a certain a level of RPA implementation maturity, you will start to think of ways and means by which you can further derive value from automation, Here is where process mining and AI can help derive significant mileage from your automation investments.
Final word: So what may appear simple at first can snowball into a complex undertaking and may derail the entire RPA initiative even before it begins. Better too do it with a consultant or partner than alone.