What makes a good RPA Partner?
A recent RPA survey by Auxis indicated that “70% of companies use a third party to get started” on a new RPA initiative. This is not surprising since to most, RPA is an unfamiliar technology that hasn’t reached a level of mass adoption. As I wrote in a previous post I equated RPA’s current position in history to the early modern internet. This was a time when only large companies had internet websites and very few people knew what the internet was. For those early adopters there weren’t many resources or answers to assist them in developing a proper web strategy.
RPA is in the same place in its evolution right now. Companies and consultants are looking for answers.
They often go to vendors and end up getting more confused. They attend trade shows and search for solutions and walk away empty in most cases. For these reasons alone, there is a huge need to find a good RPA Partner. They can help bring clarity to what exactly RPA is and what it can do for your business.
When I refer to an RPA Partner I actually think of it as a mutually exclusive partnership in which both parties are working together to achieve the same need. In some cases, implemented RPA processes can become absolutely crucial to a business. If these processes are poorly designed and don’t run effectively it can lead to problems and cost the business greatly. Both parties play a part in the success or failure of the automated processes.
To truly master RPA it requires lots of time and patience
When looking for an RPA Partner, be sure to find a person or group that has deep experience with RPA. Every system and environment are different. The only way to become an expert in this area is to have “been there” and “done that.” I find many “experts” in RPA are experts using the “tool” they are choosing to use but don’t understand the finer elements of “scripting” or manipulating the application to serve its need. I am constantly reminded by one of my former colleagues who always said, if the process doesn’t work 100% of the time, it’s not working.
One thing that consistently happens with almost every RPA Process I encounter is that there is always a “tough area” of the application. All applications have their warts, whether it’s a web dialog that can’t easily be read and manipulated or a custom control within an old client server application, there is always a “gotcha”. This is where experience is paramount. In some cases, the RPA Developer may not have the experience to automate that part of the application but as long as he/she has access to someone that possesses the technical background either to manipulate the RPA app or create a custom activity, the process will be completed successfully.
RPA is also not just restricted to the application or applications one is automating, that is just half the battle.
Trying to run an RPA process in an unattended or attended manner can also be a challenge. Resolution, Video cards, Remote Desktop, security settings, User Account Control settings amongst other things can impact the success or failure of a process to run successfully. A good RPA Partner who knows how to prepare and maintain a reliable running environment is essential.
No matter where you are on your RPA Journey, an RPA Partner can help you at any stage. Depending on the needs of the company, you can choose a partner that handles everything from the analysis, development, acceptance and support (both hands on and server support). Or you can choose one that is there for you during one or many parts of that journey. The moral of the story is that not all RPA Partners are created equal. It’s vital you find one that aligns with your business goals. Look for the flexibility to adapt to the needs of your business. Give honest advice nonetheless.