A Comprehensive Guide to Embarking on Your RPA Journey
Sat, April 10, 2021

A Comprehensive Guide to Embarking on Your RPA Journey

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has more benefits than traditional automation solutions, enabling people to reduce costs and free up resources with a “low non-invasive technical barrier” / Photo by: wklzzz via 123RF

 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has more benefits than traditional automation solutions, enabling people to reduce costs and free up resources with a “low non-invasive technical barrier,” said i-SCOOP, a publications and educational resources website. Some other advantages of RPA include increased productivity, higher accuracy, streamline regulatory compliance, higher consistency, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

This is why some organizations are successful in leveraging in RPA in their business, according to Kevin Casey of The Enterprisers Project, a CIO community-powered resource platform. However, there are some who are hindered by unwarranted fear and skepticism. These feelings are common when trying to adopt new technologies. Nevertheless, statistics point out that the implementation of RPA is simmering across various industries, waiting to hit the boiling point. 

Interesting Statistics on RPA

Did you know that RPA software is the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market? According to research company Gartner, RPA software revenue rose to $846 million in 2018 at 63.1%. North America continued to dominate the RPA market software market as it had a 51% share in 2018. However, its share dropped by 2% year-over-year. Western Europe had a 23% share, followed by Japan with an adoption growth of 124% in 2018.  

53% or more than half of respondents said they have already embarked on their RPA journey, as found by multinational company Deloitte in its third annual RPA survey. RPA adoption will become saturated by 2023. Moreover, market research company Forrester predicted that the RPA services market will reach $12 billion by 2023. The company previously predicted that the said market will rise to $2.9 billion by 2021.

As for jobs, Deloitte stated that only 3% of respondents said they have scaled their digital workforce. This means the robots perform work as digital employees like their human counterparts. At this point, it is reasonable to say that RPA-related hiring will grow.

For instance, there are 2,158 open positions on LinkedIn’s job site, Casey observed. Titles vary but “RPA developer” (and variations of the same occupation) reflects the need for IT professionals who can build robots to help organizations outsource repetitive, time-consuming tasks.

 What Is RPA?

RPA is defined as the development and deployment of software robots or bots to automate repetitive mundane tasks undertaken by people within workflow and process-related applications and operations. RPA describes the software used to robotize processes of defining processes and tasks, as well as the strategic approach to design and apply the RPA script, macros, and algorithms to the process.

The software robots powering RPA can simulate manual input commands, which are performed by knowledge workers using their mouse or keyboard, for instance. Basically, RPA mimics how we undertake repetitive tasks in an application. This is where the scripts, macros, algorithms, and evolutions enter the picture. The replicated tasks are based on user interface interactions. So, don’t expect to see a real, physical robot sitting beside you when integrating RPA into your business because it is actually a software robot.

It has more in common with bots like chatbots and with “robotic” software like robo-advisers in financial technology. A “human” user manages the software robot once it is ready to be deployed. RPA is not always the solution for all process automation needs, akin to how chatbots are not a replacement for other forms or channels of customer service.

On the bright side, RPA is not intrusive or hard from an IT standpoint. In fact, it a “relatively low-hanging fruit,” evolving and build upon existing technologies and possibilities as the years pass.  

RPA is defined as the development and deployment of software robots or bots to automate repetitive mundane tasks undertaken by people within workflow and process-related applications and operations / Photo by: Andriy Popov via 123RF

 

 How to Scale RPA

1.     Choose an RPA Platform Designed for the Enterprise

RPA must enable people to streamline productivity and innovation, optimizing their global operations at a greater speed and accuracy in order for RPA to be successful across the enterprise, wrote Tom Gardener of IT Pro Portal, an IT and enterprise news website.

At scale, it must guarantee that all automated processes are carefully planned and transparent. RPA must also achieve design standards and centrally pooled for potential re-use. The potential for re-use is particularly important because it allows non-technical, business users to contribute their automations.

 2.     Formulate Strategies

Be ready to adopt a strategic approach when you are introducing and managing RPA-related activities in the enterprise. You must have a strong vision with regard to the use of RPA to ensure that the technology can cater to the collective needs of the majority. Ask yourself why you need an RPA program. Your rationale for implementing RPA should be aligned to corporate objectives, making it less tactical.

For instance, you could connect your RPA program to strategic imperatives such as “service improvements” or “accelerating speed of response to stakeholder demand,” which can be agreed by board-level of directors. Through this, organizations can take on a more holistic, strategic approach to RPA by re-imagining processes and reshaping or organizational structure and other technologies.

RPA describes the software used to robotize processes of defining processes and tasks, as well as the strategic approach to design and apply the RPA script, macros, and algorithms to the process / Photo by: Pop Nukoonrat via 123RF

 

 3.     Involve IT and Other Key Stakeholders

Involving IT personnel and other stakeholders is key to driving success to your RPA journey. The reason is that RPA is still governed by the IT department even if it is managed by a business team. Hence, it is prudent to have IT be involved in your RPA from the start to help support RPA on many critical fronts such as compliance IT security, auditability, scalability, and more.

Liaising with the IT department must be an ongoing process to ensure that the delivery of your RPA program is smooth and operational. Another benefit of collaborating with the said department is your IT colleagues can minimize operational impacts. RPA should receive buy in from the C-suite If you want RPA to be sustainable. C-suites will provide the necessary financial and human resources if they see RPA as a “strategic business project.”

 4.     Hire Better Human Talent

The rise of RPA technology has resulted in demand outweighing supply. Hence, you can integrate RPA training and look at partners providing the human resources, management, and methodologies to support global learning programs.

Some even source, train, and mentor a fully accredited RPA team in just weeks. This team is committed to the organizations for several years and is competent enough to help maintain a dynamic, sustainable hub of intelligent automation excellence.

RPA automates time-consuming tasks such as data encoding. However, it’s not always a solution for an organization’s automation needs. But if it does, companies must involve the IT department and other stakeholders to minimize RPA’s impacts and ensure the smooth transition of the technology to the business’s workflow.