Is Your Organization Ready for Robotic Process Automation?By: Jessica Edwards
Although “Work harder, not smarter,” is a well-worn phrase, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) represents a new way of doing exactly that. As we’ve written before, RPA works much like a robotic vacuum cleaner, transforming tedious work so that employees have more time for work that takes creative, strategic thinking.
But as with any major change, you need to gauge your organization’s readiness first.
Below are some of the biggest questions you will have to answer before you can be sure that your organization is ready for RPA.
Who currently performs the processes that will be automated, and how will their job duties change once RPA has been adopted?
One of the most compelling reasons for adopting RPA is that it frees employees to focus on work that’s strategic and adds value to the organization. Does your organization know how it will redeploy existing team members, and are you prepared to provide the training they may need to tackle new challenges?
Does your IT department support allowing bots to have access to your system?
In addition to thinking about your employees, you need to think about what challenges RPA will pose for your IT department, and what security roles or profiles will they need to set up to make your new bots work with your existing system.
How will your customers benefit or be affected by your transition to RPA?
Before making any big changes, you should also have a firm understanding of how your customers will be impacted. You don’t want to do anything that will adversely impact your relationship with them. Do any of your processes need to be reengineered prior to automation? It may help to have brainstorming sessions with your customers prior to developing your new solution(s).
Do you have clearly defined and documented processes?
Before you automate any processes, you need to have detailed documentation about them. And the more detailed this documentation is, the easier it will be for your developer to produce the best solution. You should also have buy-in from your legal department to make sure there would be no negative impacts to your business, and you should know how these processes will be audited in the future.
Who will develop and test the bots your organization is planning to implement?
One of the biggest questions you will have to answer is about who will make the bots you plan to utilize. Will you hire people who can develop them internally or will you lean on an external partner for help?
If you develop them internally, you will not only need to hire people with the right experience, you will also have to purchase the necessary software for the development process. Additionally, you should know who will support these bots when they fail or when processes change.
If you choose to contract with a partner, choosing the right partner is critical. As part of this process, you should take the time to generate a Request for Pricing to help you determine the best vendor for your budget and your needs.
Do Your Homework Before Making Any Big Decisions
Organizations have a compelling reason for leveraging RPA: It allows human workers to focus on work that is more valuable and strategic while the digital workers take on a variety of tedious yet necessary tasks.
But before you make any big changes, you have to do your homework to understand what impact those changes will have for your processes, your people and your customers. Questions like the ones above will help you create the kind of checklist you need to be sure that you’re making the best possible decision for your organization.