By Parth Pandya, VP & Robotics Process Automation CoE lead for First Horizon Bank
Robotic process automation (RPA) is rapidly becoming an invaluable asset in the global business technology market and day-to-day company operations. According to Grand View Research, the RPA market will be worth more than $30 billion by 2030. This high growth rate is largely because RPA has proven to be faster and more flexible than traditional automation. The technology optimizes business operations, reduces manual errors, improves compliance, and boosts a company’s performance through improved agility, speed, and quality. Additionally, RPA helps organizations gain valuable insight into large datasets, both structured and unstructured, informing better decision-making.
Another appealing feature of RPA is its user-friendly nature that does not require superior programming skills or coding knowledge to develop or customize scripts. RPA bots, powered by artificial intelligence, automate time-consuming and repetitive tasks according to a defined set of instructions or algorithms without human intervention. More importantly, RPA does not necessarily require application integration, unlike traditional technologies, and is compatible with no-API and legacy systems. RPA’s ability to work across most applications and existing infrastructures puts it light years ahead of other technologies.
Compared to traditional technologies, RPA is simple to adopt from cost and timeline-to-implement perspectives yet enterprises tend to make common mistakes when implementing RPA. To establish an effective and reliable RPA infrastructure that meets organizational needs, it is critical to understand these pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Mistakes companies make when implementing RPA
Based on its many benefits, RPA often seems like a one-size-fits-all solution. It is critical, however, to ensure proper oversight is in place when adopting and implementing RPA solutions to prevent undesired outcomes or setbacks. Be aware of these key missteps when implementing RPA in an organization:
- Minimal IT involvement and failure to involve key stakeholders when adopting RPA solutions. Although RPA is intended to reduce the need for human intervention, IT involvement and oversight help ensure the platform chosen to automate will work effectively with the company’s current IT infrastructure. Additional IT oversight also helps to protect sensitive data and prevent data breaches, which is critical to the security of a company’s digital infrastructure. IT feedback provides valuable insight into technological developments, industry trends, and user satisfaction. An effective way to stay informed is to hold regular stakeholder meetings to provide everyone an opportunity to ask questions or express concerns, and more importantly, ensure everyone understands their responsibilities. This also allows a company to elaborate on its objectives for automation, how it will bring value to each role, and how the RPA program will be managed.
- Not setting up a robust maintenance program. A robust management process is important to avoid downtime caused by interface changes or other variables. It also helps ensure that any problems arising during production can be quickly identified and resolved. This process allows for continuous monitoring of automation to ensure performance optimization and that the needs of the company are being met with RPA.
- Automating an inefficient business process. The business process workflow must undergo process engineering to ensure that a streamlined process is automated properly. Otherwise, the result is unstable automations instead of an efficient RPA. Process mining technology, often integrated in RPA software, can help map, identify and optimize processes that are candidates for automation.
- Lack of clear ownership and governance. Without clear ownership and governance, RPA projects can become disorganized and suffer from misaligned goals and objectives. It is essential, therefore, that all stakeholders understand their responsibilities. It is best to establish an RPA Center of Excellence team responsible for the overall governance and success of RPA programs at the enterprise level.
- Neglecting change management. RPA implementation can have a significant impact on employees, so it is crucial to manage its introduction and implementation effectively. Communicate RPA as a technology that does not replace humans but instead as a technology that helps staff do more important tasks while leaving mundane and repetitive tasks to bots. To avoid a sense of competition, employees need to be aware of how automation will change their day-to-day responsibilities and how they can leverage RPA to their advantage. Additionally, if there is a change in the user interface or in another application that interacts with RPA, the automation team should be informed in advance so bot codes can be adjusted accordingly. Failure to do so will result in an automation breaking, which will result in downtime and loss of productivity. A robust change management process supports a proactive approach by the RPA team.
Establish a holistic approach for adopting and implementing RPA solutions
The adoption and implementation of RPA solutions are making a substantial impact in many sectors, including banking, manufacturing, healthcare, and government, among others. Companies that successfully adopt RPA solutions have one thing in common: a well-established, holistic approach. This provides a better understanding of all business processes and how they interact with each other. One way to accomplish this is to map out all the business processes within a company. This can be an exhaustive exercise, but it helps the RPA team understand the processes that currently exist in the company and how they are intertwined. Third-party applications can help determine how changing one process impacts other linked processes. From there, RPA teams can identify automation opportunities and arrive at a better ROI in terms of cost and customer experience. If these steps are skipped, processes may be automated in silos, limiting improvement in overall cycle time, and increasing bottlenecks.
Compared to traditional technologies, RPA is faster, more consistent, and more flexible. It also optimizes business operations, reduces manual errors, improves compliance, and boosts performance revenue. As RPA continues to experience double-digit growth, it will remain an invaluable asset in the global business technology market and daily company operations.
About the Author: Parth Pandya is an expert in robotics process automation and process re-engineering with 16 years of global experience. He has successfully built and led passionate, high-performance operations and robotic process automation teams. Parth holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from SRM University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Southern California. He is a Six Sigma and COPC certified implementation leader. Parth currently serves as a vice president and robotics process automation CoE lead for First Horizon Bank.
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