For RPA to succeed, things need to change

Written by: Samantha Wolhuter

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Robotic Process Automation is amazing! It can improve the way a business operates and it can even enhance your employees’ job satisfaction but this is only true if you are willing to make big changes. Whenever you add a new technology to your business, or you hire a new employee, you have to make space for them. So imagine the kind of shift you need to make when your new technology is also your new employee.

Deciding to implement RPA in your business is not one to be taken lightly and you need to be sure you follow all the steps in last week’s guideline: How to Identify the Right Processes to Automate.

Once the decision is made and you’re ready to get started you’re only about a quarter way there. Now it’s time to look at all the different parts of your business that RPA may effect. In a recent Forbes article, they examined 5 dimensions of business that should be reviewed and amended to ensure the success of RPA adoption. They are:

  1. Vision and Strategy
  2. Implementation
  3. Organisation and talent
  4. Technology
  5. Resourcing

While it may seem obvious that there will be organisational changes, few companies think a change in vision and strategy is necessary. Many view RPA as a tool (which it is) but don’t consider the fact that such a competent tool will ultimately push you to include its development into your company’s vision and strategy going into the future. RPA is more than replacing people with technology it involves process design and this should be at the core of the business strategy.

How to implement, when to implement and how to scale up with RPA is another dimension for consideration. Understanding and having the capacity to deliver on the scope of RPA implementation is necessary for success. This also entails updates to your security and risk policies according to Everest Group’s Pinnacle Enterprises study.

Naturally, as RPA ‘replaces’ people with automation there will be changes to your organisational structure. How company hierarchy works and the type of talent you are looking for going into the future will change. Spending time building new policies around how your employees will interact with RPA and their new responsibilities will be key to both it success and its acceptance. Add to that the need for a real strategic review of the kinds of people you want to hire to work with RPA going forward is equally as important.

It goes without saying that the most obvious dimension of business that RPA impacts is technology, and the rule of thumb here is to ensure that what you are implementing integrates seamlessly with your other technological capabilities. Principally, RPA is a technology that can’t be looked at in isolation.

Finally, resourcing is one of the most critical areas for consideration and investigation. When RPA is implemented successfully you will have teams more available to do more work. You need to know in advance what your strategy and objectives here are. For RPA to realise its true ROI potential you will need to have a plan in place of how you’ll resource teams once implementation begins.

As Peter Bendor-Samuel, business transformation expert and contributor to Forbes explains ‘Digital transformation and RPA implementation are not about technology. It’s really a matter of changing the fundamental business to create new value through digital operations. The technology itself doesn’t create value; it enables the necessary change to operate digitally.’

So it is important to take an end-to-end view of your organisation’s functions, processes and strategies and see where RPA changes how your business will operate and make room for those changes. Realising that RPA implementation is more than just the adoption of a new technology, but rather a very bold step towards full digital transformation, will stand you in good stead and guarantee that you get the promised return on investment that comes with taking on robotic process automation.

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Last modified: July 15, 2020
Author info
Samantha Wolhuter
Sam is in charge of writing a big portion of WeAreBrain’s creative content. She is a digital nomad always on the go, inspiring us with her words from some of the world's most beautiful locations.
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