RPA Journey

Six steps to a successful robotic process automation implementation.

 

Robotic process automation (RPA) is transforming the way many types of organizations do business. Companies want to embrace the transformative technology but struggle with where to start, what processes to automate, and how to measure the baselines, which can result in their projects being dead on arrival—an estimated 60 to 70 percent of initial RPA projects fail to meet expectations according to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation & Artificial Intelligence.

We’ve put together the six steps you need to follow to pursue your RPA journey with the right amount of knowledge and strategy. With this helpful framework to get you focused on the right objectives, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and sustainable digital transformation.

1. Learn What RPA Is and What It Is Not

1. Learn What RPA Is and What It Is Not

Start by understanding what RPA can and cannot do. RPA technology helps your organization run more efficiently by taking repetitive manual tasks and handing them over to software robots. However, these bots do not self-learn, think, or act on their own—humans are still the “brains” of the operation. But by working together with a digital workforce, employees can focus more of their time on more complex, value-added work functions.

Check out these resources to help you better understand what RPA is and is not:

2. Identify Potential RPA Opportunities

2. Identify Potential RPA Opportunities

Hearing about the benefits of RPA will make you want to automate everything. But to be successful, you need to start small. As you get started, the best processes to automate are repetitive, routine, and otherwise mundane tasks—like data entry and extraction.

Check out these resources to help you create your RPA project wish list:

3. Select Initial Use Cases and Define Success Criteria

3. Select Initial Use Cases and Define Success Criteria

Once you’ve created your wish list, it’s time to narrow down your choice for an initial use case. Rank your wish list by considering the time saved, frequency, criticality, and effort it would take to automate, and choose the process that checks the most boxes. Then you can define what will deem your pilot a success by seeing how RPA improves each of those areas.

Check out these resources to help you further identify and define your success:

 

4. Pilot Solution for Initial Use Case

4. Pilot Solution for Initial Use Case

There are lots of RPA solutions out there, but they’re not all created equal. This is a great time to trial an RPA solution. A trial not only lets you test out RPA, but also helps you find the right solution for your unique organizational needs and get comfortable with the software. Look for vendors who can offer end-to-end process support while also having the capabilities to become fully operational quickly.

Check out these items to help get your first use case off the ground:

5. Measure Results and Document Lessons Learned

5. Measure Results and Document Lessons Learned

With the clearly defined success criteria from Step 3, it should be easy to measure the results of your pilot use case. Take a look back at how things went and document what went well, what could’ve been better, and any other lessons learned. Compare the costs of implementation, deployment, and maintenance against how much time is saved, if accuracy is improved, and how little human intervention is needed. This will help you determine if you want to move forward with an RPA solution.

Check out these resources to help you assess and measure your results:

6. Expand to Next Use Case and Repeat Pilot, Measure, & Expand Steps

6. Expand to Next Use Case and Repeat Pilot, Measure, & Expand Steps

If you liked what RPA software had to offer and were happy with the results of your pilot use case, it’s time to expand. Move down your wish list from Step 2 and try out RPA in other areas of your organization. Act as an RPA evangelist to help get more people on board with this powerful technology. The steps of the RPA journey don’t have to end as there’s always processes that can be streamlined through RPA.

Check out these resources to help you expand and scale your RPA journey:

Get the Robotic Process Automation Toolkit

The RPA Toolkit includes the resources you need to achieve an advanced automation strategy. With a weighted matrix to help you prioritize automation opportunites and an easy-to-use ROI calculator, these tools will help you take your RPA journey to the next level.