As someone who has developed, implemented and supported RPA applications for almost 20 years, there is one common theme I have seen in various forms: RPA is technology that lands and expands. While this sounds like a declarative statement, it isn’t that easy and there are some factors that allow the technology to spread within an organization. While I feel RPA can work for any company large and small, to successfully implement RPA is not very straightforward and requires expertise.
I have written at length about strategies of implementing RPA properly. Assuming those best practices are followed, the results that come after can be extraordinary.
Many of our new customers come to us with one or two high value processes they have in mind. While day one ROI is essentially a requirement these days to ensure the investment in the software, support and development pay off. It is equally important to create a backlog of automation opportunities. UiPath has an excellent product that can help identify opportunities and create a shared view between the business and the RPA team. It has hooks into all facets of the RPA Hub.
The Automation Hub is essential for organizations that are attempting to build out a comprehensive automation strategy.
As I mentioned before, many companies come to us with 1-2 processes identified. Once those are complete, we have seen the initiative stall because of lack of planning and understanding of the backlog. While this doesn’t happen all of the time, these kinds of outcomes can impede the impact of automation on an organization. Granted while those 1-2 bots are great and they will increase their ROI over time, the fixed costs (i.e. Software and Support) can be further spread out as more bots are added. While more “software robots” can be added, this can incur cost. Most likely the existing bots could be scheduled correctly to maximize their usage.
The way bot adoption can expand is to use a tool like Automation Hub where people can log ideas.
In addition, and probably most importantly, is to promote the successes of the early bots. Once the word gets out that one department is automating a segment of their work efficiently and at a high ROI, others will be eager to adopt the technology.
A few suggestions for getting the word out throughout an organization:
- Create team building initiatives to uncover individual department high value RPA opportunities.
- Write an internal case study and present the ROI to other departments to bring to light the value of the first RPA project’s success.
- Develop inter-department contests to uncover the next RPA candidates.
- Name the Bot contests.
Understanding how bots can scale is a topic I have previously covered. The idea is you want to fully utilize each bot to limit the costs to expand. There will be an incremental development and possibly support cost as each one is added. Companies can really achieve massive ROI if this point is realized, as well as creating a way in which to get automation ideas from the business and then manage them with proper governance. Understanding the needs of the business are not best executed from the top, but rather from the bottom up. This is why tools such as Automation Hub are so valuable to properly “land and expand” RPA into a business.
Written by: Peter Camp, CTO & Founder, CampTek Software