With any new technology, it takes time for business benefits to accrue. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is no exception. However, RPA has the potential to deliver business benefits more quickly than many other technologies.
The ease of designing robots and the avoidance of making deep system changes through integration has made RPA deployment much faster. Yet despite this, organizations seem to struggle with the time it takes to identify use cases and translate them into deployable software robots.
One major reason for those struggles is that most organizations fail to make the necessary structural changes to support rapid RPA deployment. Organizations still prefer to work in archaic silo structures, which conflicts with the agility required to support faster RPA deployments. The image below depicts entrenched silos handling different activities:
Typically, RPA activities are undertaken sequentially, which prevents communication and collaboration between different stakeholders. As a result, those stakeholders are unable to play an effective role in accelerating RPA deployment.
Business users define the RPA requirements, prioritize use cases and underwrite business cases. On the other hand, the Information Technology (IT) department assesses the technical suitability of RPA use cases, designs and deploys robots.
This waterfall approach to RPA implementation:
- Causes constant misunderstandings between business expectations and what IT delivers
- Is prone to lengthy delays
- Negatively affects RPA adoption
Meaningful collaboration takes place at two points: understanding the RPA requirements and user acceptance testing
To overcome this perpetual source of frustration amongst various teams, organizations must adopt a more flexible approach to accelerate RPA implementations. Dual mode operation, devops, and the dynamic systems development method are some of the techniques that can offer organizations greater agility in rapidly expanding RPA implementation.
At the core of these methodologies lies an organizational structure that substitutes silos with permanent channels of communication and collaboration. Here's how this model works and impacts RPA implementation acceleration:
This new way of working ensures that at every activity of the RPA lifecycle, communication and collaboration happen continuously between all the stakeholders. Continuous communication and collaboration also require a centralized workspace (all team members sitting in the same office space) so there is no need to wait for responses from teams driven by internal operational-level agreements.
Additional benefits of an agile organization structure:
- RPA use cases are rapidly identified and assessed for technical feasibility
- Implementation errors are minimized
- Bugs detected in testing are resolved quickly
- All parties collaborate to make deployment issues non-existent
As all team members are available to resolve problems at each stage of the RPA lifecycle, productivity is bound to increase.
If organizations commit to making small structural changes to support the implementation of RPA, they will not be disappointed by the results.
Many companies have employed the techniques I’ve laid out in this post and have succeeded in rapidly translating potential RPA use cases into viable robots that yield instantaneous business benefits. Apart from the business benefits, RPA adoption is given a powerful jolt because organizational inertia and politics of bureaucracy are kept to a minimum.