We all understand the power of 3. We understand it from our earliest learnings – A, B, C and 1, 2, 3. We understand it from folklore – “Three leafed clovers” and “Third time lucky”. We understand it from history - “Blood, sweat, and tears” and “I came, I saw, I conquered.” We have harnessed this power in our RPA endeavours and developed 3 principles for RPA success.
We want our customers to realise the full promise of RPA and avoid the pitfalls and we believe our 3 principles offer essential guidance for all RPA projects, large and small. We have developed a 3-part series to share our insights, starting with Principle #1. This principle focuses on the need for strategic positioning and strategic thinking when it comes to RPA. We firmly believe if you want your RPA programs to optimise benefits, they must be strategic. Let’s understand this further. We will begin on the count of 3...
Success Principle #1:
Think strategically, automate wisely. Don’t focus solely on the perennial desire for quick wins. This principle is number 1 for a reason. It underpins all others. If you want a sure-footed RPA implementation, commence strategically. We believe this to be true for four reasons:
It is a mistake to choose processes for RPA automation based on their stand-alone benefit, particularly if relying solely on FTE savings. This may lead to a series of tactical and fragmented RPA ‘bandaids’ and will almost certainly fail to leverage full RPA potential. Conversely, it is just as problematic to ‘over-stretch’ and automate process that are a poor RPA-fit. This crucial balancing act requires not only strategic thinking but strategic backing from top levels of management. In our experience, more RPA implementations end in disappointment because the wrong processes are chosen than for any other reason.
Before starting an RPA implementation, it is essential to perform a level of process review and re-engineering. At the very least, this means eliminating waste or non-value-added tasks and fully understanding process complexities such as source data limitations, business rule variability and exception levels. Without strategic endorsement, this review may never happen and your RPA journey will surely commence on shaky ground.
Another reason for strategic endorsement relates to the technology itself. Because of its non-invasive nature, RPA quickly becomes the conduit or backbone in an organisation by which connections to other technology occur. This includes connectivity to legacy systems as well as newer automation technologies using artificial intelligence or machine learning. We are starting to see native RPA functionality expand as products move beyond basic rule-based processing into more cognitive areas such as dealing with unstructured data and more complex rule sets. RPA is fast becoming integral to businesses both technologically and strategically.
The final reason why a strategic approach to RPA is recommended, is a financial one. For those implementations where productivity (or releasing FTE) is the main driver, the more processes and sub-processes performed by RPA the more RPA can spread its benefits. This presents three significant opportunities
the ability to liberate FTE that may work partially on multiple sub processes,
the option to automate cyclical or seasonal processes that would not stack up on a stand-alone basis and
the potential to share base licencing costs across a broader selection of team or departments. As more processes are automated it is easier to optimally assign robots and because pricing structures normally price additional robots at a relatively low marginal cost, there is additional incentive. This all adds up to one more reason to think and plan strategically.
We continue our series of 3 RPA success principles by introducing Principle # 2. This is all about the criticality of business ownership and business leadership in RPA programs. We recognise the delicacy and diplomacy that may be necessary to achieve this but we also recognise the damage and disappointment from not doing it. We firmly believe if you want your RPA programs to have authenticity and momentum, they must be business owned.
To find out more about RPA, visit https://www.btpaustralia.com.au/robotic-process