According to a report by the advisory firm KPMG, many businesses, across all industries, “are uncertain where and how to begin to transition to robotics and cognitive automation systems.” It is suggested that this uncertainty accompanying robotic transformation may impact up to 78% of companies, with 40% not using RPA at all and another 24% only considering it. The implementation of any new software may be accompanied with questions, anxieties, and doubts. Implementing an RPA solution is no different. In fact, the more promising the technology –RPA has a well earned reputation as being easy to use and delivering fast ROI – the bigger the questions.
Considering that the total cost of implementing RPA typically runs about 9 times the cost of the technology itself, the anxieties seem justified. Can the solution guarantee cost reductions and operational improvements? What kind of employee training will be required to operate the software? How stable and integratable is the RPA platform?
Though the time between adoption and achieving an ROI can be less than a year for many RPA adopters, the question is how to ensure that those benefits are delivered on-time and in-budget. Such metrics as the speed, accuracy and compliance of a company's processes before and after automation will determine the overal ROI. Therefore the agility of the RPA development process, the quality of the organizational set-up and the ease of maintenance are three key elements that actually secure a successful outcome.
If the technology can ensure the speed and ease of development, and if your organization is ready to understand that RPA is not a one time project, but that once deployed it's here to stay, there's a far better chance at averting risks.
Implementing a new software can be costly, time-consuming, and especially risky if significant IT restructuring is required to integrate incompatible platforms. Luckily, the majority of RPA solutions interact in the presentation layer, meaning that they are able to bridge various systems without requiring a restructuring of the existing IT setup. Still, in order to avoid implementation headaches, companies should ensure their RPA product is flexible and extensible. The chosen software should effortlessly integrate with a wide range of platforms and technologies from BPMS, to cognitive tools, to CRM, ERP, and Citrix applications.
RPA softwares are designed to be intuitive with graphical, easy-to-use interfaces, and most do not require the average business user to have coding knowledge. Still, a lack of adequately trained automation specialists or appropriately skilled process subject matter experts can risk the success of an RPA implementation project. Companies should carefully evaluate a vendor’s product training tools. Training options for users should include a range of onsite and on-line training and support through rich documentation, tutorials, webinars and videos.
To ensure the RPA project is streamlined, those with ownership — both internal and external to the company — must be willing to assist the implementation project to the greatest extent possible. Intra-company support from employees, managers, and executives and the constant liaising between IT and business departments are absolutely necessary. Without a certain level of management discipline, oversight of the RPA project, and use of best practices during implementation, it will be difficult to avoid implementation risks and ensure long-term automation success.
Because implementing RPA is an organizational change initiative, it’s especially important for the company sponsors and users of the RPA software to closely follow-through with an implementation roadmap, without becoming lenient or negligent after initial successes.
In addition to these internal measures, companies should critically examine the backing that can be received from the RPA vendor: What level of implementation support is needed from the RPA vendor? How will the vendor help to reduce the implementation risk?
The RPA vendor should provide a streamlined user experience, training resources to lower the technical entry level and ultimately a straightforward RPA platform outfitted with strong features that can ensure things like first-class operational support for ongoing monitoring and troubleshooting of robots, capacity management to make sure that robots usage is optimal across processes, performance metrics, and full audit trails.
RPA implementation done right goes a long way, but doesn't offer too many shortcuts. You shouldn't have to learn that the hard way.