Friday, 29th May 2020

Robotic Process Automation: The most common pitfalls of which to be aware

Imagine this. You come up with an exciting, new and innovative idea for your business and you’re excited to see it come to life. But, when you actually get the ball rolling, the process is longer than anticipated. This means more time is wasted and the team can often become demotivated. There’s nothing worse than timelines taking longer than anticipated. By Joanne Taylor, Director of Digital Innovation at Software AG.

However, usually this happens as a result of struggling to integrate systems in the “correct way” to get projects up and running quickly and efficiently. It’s not to do with struggling to implement the right technology resources or to do with finding the right talent. To integrate systems in the right way, robotic process automation (RPA) can be a bit of a blessing in disguise. It provides a real-world solution to a real-world problem, by delivering projects quickly and at low cost.

However, in order to realise the benefits of this technology, it is wise to be aware of the potential pitfalls that can be encountered and understand how best to avoid them. With more knowledge about RPA, businesses will be able to save both time and money, especially when it comes to completing repetitive and manual tasks.

Whilst implementing a successful RPA project requires an initial investment of time and resources, as well as a commitment to change, the benefits are endless. There are many considerations - including management buy-in, rollout communication and training to consider when embarking on an RPA project. But, once you’ve cleared these organisational hurdles, you can decide on which processes are best to automate. When doing this, there are some clear pitfalls to keep in mind to avoid:

  1. Avoid complicating the process

If you choose one that is too complex or takes too much time to implement, it may set you up for failure in the future, because management will not agree to others. The “right” process should have a significant business impact; saving the organisation enough time and money to make a fast return on investment.

  1. Think about the timeframe

Too much change is a problem for robots (remember they are best with repetitive mundane tasks); introducing new rules and procedures when you are implementing RPA can lead to the project’s failure – or to a very unhappy IT team. Make sure your system is up to date with changes before you introduce RPA for smoother implementation.

  1. Ensure the company buys into the idea of RPA implementation

Unless both management and IT are fully on board with RPA implementations, there may be strife. You could see a lack of management buy-in to a lack of IT ownership (“not my job”) if responsibilities are not made clear from the beginning.

  1. Don’t just think about the short-term

From the very start, your RPA projects should be part of an overall, holistic automation program. If your earlier projects are one-offs, designed to solve just one or two specific problems, they may not be cost effective or even viable when you eventually shoot for end-to-end automation. It’s important to think about the long-term.

  1. Ensure you only tackle what you can manage

On the other hand, throwing a whole, enterprise-wide RPA strategy at your IT team and asking them to implement it all at once is a recipe for disaster. Try to break the projects up, implement the quick wins first and integrate them before adding more to the pile. There are also experts outside the organisation who can help identify the best automation candidate and assist in solution development.

RPA is a real-life saver when it comes to implementing projects successfully and quickly. By rolling out RPA so that it is properly tailored to your business’s needs, companies can take advantage of the technology and remain competitive in an already increasingly competitive landscape.

Ultimately, it’s important to take it one step at a time. A measured approach really does win the race. Take the time to select the right process and you will be sure to reap the benefits. Getting teams buy-in to the idea of RPA, it will help to keep them motivated and in the loop, this will ensure that help is available whenever it is needed. This enables the business to draw on its staff’s skills and expertise.

When it comes to implementing your first RPA automation project, think about the possible hurdles you may encounter on the way to avoid the most common pitfalls of RPA implementation. As they say, there’s no point running before you can walk.

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