Conversations about digital transformation are happening every day all around the world. No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll find efforts to bring digital tools into the mix to transform the way companies work. For some companies, these conversations about digital transformation start as a way to be innovative, do better work, or solve new problems. For other companies, they’re just trying to keep up with competitors in a space that’s rapidly transforming. No matter which camp you’re in, you can achieve digital transformation by starting with tools that give you quick wins and actually transform processes. The best starting point is with robotic process automation, which is designed to address the key drivers for digital transformation. Robotic process automation (RPA) is the automation of repetitive tasks, designed to help people get back to strategic work.
What are the pitfalls companies encounter as they attempt digital transformation? And how can RPA solve the problems that keep organizations from transforming?
1. Focusing too much on “digital” and not enough on “transformation”
Sometimes companies fail at digital transformation by forgetting that digital tools don’t equal business process transformation. Not all software or other digital tools will change the way people work for the better.
Some ways to make sure that the tools you’re selecting will actually transform operations at your company:
- Before you choose a tool, learn how people work at your company. Find out what keeps them from being as productive as they could be, what manual processes get in the way.
- Choose tools that solve specific problems that your organization has in the way that will effect real change at your business. This will take time and discernment, but any tool that doesn’t solve a felt need at your organization won’t be used and won’t generate ROI.
- Find tools that can be implemented small scale before scaling across the business. That way you can test and tweak best practices and have better direction for business units as they adopt the new technology.
RPA is designed to make people more productive and help them get past repetitive, manual tasks. When implemented thoughtfully, employees will see the value of using an RPA tool, increasing adoption and generating ROI quickly. And the right RPA tool will be easily scalable, meaning that you can start small to gain momentum and wins before implementing across the entire enterprise.
2. Poor communication within the business and with customers
Even though the new technology you pick might appear to fit seamlessly into business operations at your organization, lean toward overcommunication. Those involved in choosing new tools are immersed in the benefits and innerworkings, but employees across the business won’t have that background information. When introducing a new technology, sell it to your employees, presenting the reasons it appealed to company leadership and how it can transform the way they work for the better.
This shouldn’t just be one communication. Poor communication about new technology sinks digital transformation initiatives because tool adoption takes time and training. There should be realistic conversations about how employees can expect things to change, and those conversations should also extend to customers as is appropriate. Businesses hope that digital transformation will not only change the way that people at their organization work but also positively affect service or product delivery.
For example, as you scale out an RPA tool from the first business unit to adopt to the rest of the business, provide use cases, bot templates, best practice guides, and a strong case for why RPA was the solution of choice continually throughout the first three to six months of usage. Recruit early adopters to share their experiences in learning and adapting to working with bots to build confidence with new adopters that RPA can bring sustainable, positive change.
3. Working in silos
Businesses that don’t communicate across business units will fail at digital transformation precisely because it is intended to be transformative. Not only will you likely miss out on the opportunities to connect business units with the tool, but you’ll also become experts more slowly… or not at all.
As you implement new technology, set up regular checkpoints for representatives from different areas of the business to share what’s working and what isn’t. This will serve to help bring users up to speed at a quicker pace because they’ll benefit from a larger group of users’ experiences.
RPA helps to break down silos when fully scaled out because it connects business processes from different areas. And the right tool will have flexible, re-usable bots that can be shared and adapted for new purposes.
Getting Started for Digital Transformation Success with RPA
Addressing the common pitfalls organizations encounter when they attempt digital transformation will increase your chances for success on your RPA journey. Even more important is to start this initiative by implementing an RPA solution as the foundation. By transforming the way people work, RPA generates ROI, momentum, and quick wins that propel the rest of your digital transformation forward.