- Faouzi Charfadi
Maximizing the Benefits of Robotic Process Automation: A Guide to Successful Implementation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an innovative technology that utilizes automation to perform repetitive tasks typically carried out by workers daily. According to the 2019 KPMG Technology Industry Innovation survey, RPA ranked as the second most significant innovation among the top 10. This year, the global RPA market has reached a staggering nine billion dollars. However, despite its potential, a survey reveals that 69% of RPA projects fail due to the complexity of implementation. Businesses strive for enhanced efficiency and profitability, prompting the question: why do these failures occur?
RPA is a powerful tool, serving the specific purpose of automating processes and reducing administrative workloads. It offers numerous benefits, such as increased governance, compliance, elimination of human error, improved data quality, and better time management, ultimately boosting productivity. The return on investment (ROI) is expected to be significant. However, as I previously discussed, while RPA may seem promising on paper, it is crucial to thoroughly understand your existing processes before implementing any RPA solution. This is where Process Improvement becomes the critical first step in the RPA implementation journey. Let me outline the steps and criteria for a successful RPA implementation.
The first step involves two essential considerations. First, you must take ownership of the initiative and recognize the potential data privacy concerns and cybersecurity risks associated with RPA. You must also assess the cost and evaluate whether the benefits outweigh the investment. How will RPA impact compliance, and how can you effectively communicate its value to the organization? Moreover, the implementation timeline must be determined. This leads us to the second aspect: Process Improvement, which sets the foundation for the entire RPA implementation process.
Process Improvement experts will begin by asking vital questions:
What are the current processes?
What outcomes are you expecting from RPA?
What changes need to be made to achieve the desired results?
Why is this important for the organization?
To successfully implement RPA, the organization must engage in comprehensive discussions and raise awareness about its potential benefits. Your Process Improvement (PI) team will facilitate this process by ensuring management and employees are well informed about RPA. They will employ Organizational Change Management (OCM) techniques to smooth the transition and ensure a thorough understanding of RPA's purpose.
Once the demonstrated benefits of RPA are acknowledged and accepted, your Process Improvement team can establish a Center of Excellence (CoE). The CoE will be comprised of Subject Matter Experts from various departments, including employees, supervisors, and managers. They will collaborate to determine the most effective approach to implement RPA. The CoE team should:
Schedule regular weekly meetings.
Assign a subject matter expert from each department to participate in a pilot RPA project.
Create a business plan with a clear timeline and adhere to it.
Define roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities.
Choose the most suitable RPA software, considering user-friendliness, organizational alignment, number of bots, ROI, and a supportive vendor.
Identify and prioritize the initial pilot's most repetitive and manual processes. These processes should have low exception rates, high volume, and significant business impact.
Establish metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for reporting progress and measuring the impact of RPA.
Develop and test the pilot RPA using the appropriate strategy based on data, process maps, business impact, and ease of deployment.
Foster employee engagement and maintain frequent communication regarding project progress and evolution with the organization. Cultivating enthusiasm and securing a long-term commitment from employees and management is vital.
Establish governance and compliance measures, including policies, procedures, audit logs, and quality assurance, during the pilot phases of RPA implementation.
Download now: Establish Your Center of Excellence
The success of RPA implementation hinges on the active engagement of the entire organization. Rushing into RPA implementation can lead to complications. It is crucial to assess and carefully select the processes suitable for RPA. By following your business plan diligently, you can reap excellent rewards. Productivity and efficiency will increase, accuracy will enhance data quality, consistency will be achieved, and data security will be fortified.
Your Process Improvement team and the Center of Excellence will continue to work on process optimization. Once the pilot project is completed, the CoE will develop a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to implement RPA and confidently expand its application to other processes.
The pilot project's success will generate heightened interest within the organization as you communicate the effectiveness and efficiency of RPA. It is important to emphasize that RPA is not intended to replace employees but to enable them and free up their time for more engaging and meaningful work while repetitive tasks are automated.
The benefits of RPA are worth the investment, and your ROI will also be well-defined with a well-defined implementation strategy.
MSS Business Transformation is here to support you in implementing RPA. We have experts in Process Improvement and Organizational Change Management who can assist you in managing your CoE or establishing one. Our team guides you through the process from start to finish, and your success with RPA defines our own. We can help you select the most suitable RPA software and find the right vendor to support your implementation.