On-Demand Webinar

Be Your Company's RPA Hero: How to Navigate the RPA Journey to Build a More Efficient Business

Set yourself up for automation success
August 12, 2020


While we still don’t know the full economic impact of COVID-19, what we do know is that we’re in for a new way of working. Companies are looking to streamline processes to help optimize costs and resources. And they need solutions that bring quick ROI and help build business resiliency.

Join Paul Necklen, Director of RPA Technology at HelpSystems, to learn how a robotic process automation (RPA) solution can help your organization be more efficient and productive. He’ll discuss:

  • How RPA can help your organization through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
  • The 6 steps of a successful RPA journey, so you can get going at your organization
  • Where and how companies are seeing quick wins with RPA

Begin your path to a successful RPA journey so you can help your company work smarter.


Paul N:                Okay, depending on where you're logging in from around the globe, I want to say good morning, good afternoon, or good evening. Welcome to HelpSystems' Be Your Company's RPA Hero webinar, How to Navigate the RPA Journey to Build a More Efficient Business. Today's presenter, that's me, I'm Paul Necklen, the director of RPA technology at HelpSystems, so I'll be conducting the presentation and the Q & A today.

                             So let's start with a little bit of background on HelpSystems. We understand that building a better IT is not a destination, it's really an ongoing commitment. IT complexity is the top risk for managing an IT organization. On average corporations have over 900 different applications being supported by IT today. We are building a product portfolio that can help IT organizations get the critical functionality they need while reducing the complexity that they face.

                             We focus on two broad categories, security and automation, to bring value to our customers. On the security side, left side of the screen, we provide a broad portfolio of solutions that include data security, such as our Go Anywhere secure file transfer software, and our Clearswift Data Loss Prevention product line. Our core security, IGA, which stands for Identity, Governance and Administration product, offers an integrated identity and access management suite. It also includes some special tools to help manage RPA bot profiles. Finally, we have our infrastructure protection products that secures networks. We offer things such as pen, or penetration, testing, and vulnerability assessment services.

                             On the right side of the screen, which is the automation side, we have a broad suite, including, starting from the bottom up, infrastructure automation, such as our VCM, or Vital Capacity Management software. Next we offer workload automation, which is our JAMS product line, for back office or batch automation. And of course, HelpSystems Automate RPA, which we're going to spend our time and focus on today.

                             So, today's agenda, we're going to be covering four things; RPA in 2020, we're going to go into detail around the six steps of the RPA journey, we're going to cover some quick wins that have been achieved with RPA, and time allowing, we'll have a Q & A session at the end. As well, interspersed throughout the presentation, we're going to have some interactive polling questions to get audience participation. So again, thank you for joining today and let's get started.

                             So, let's take a look at RPA in 2020. RPA in 2020 is all about prioritizing automation. RPA is transforming the way many organizations do business. By prioritizing automation your organization can achieve many results all at once, such as cost optimization. This helps you maximize currently deployed applications using RPA. RPA also offers a quick ROI. Most customers see less than six months, and we have customers even talking about less than three month ROI on their RPA projects. Doing more with less. Sounds familiar? This is almost expected in today's environment, across every department. Building business resilience. Engineer for when things go right and wrong with RPA by proactively alerting and restarting services that are mission critical to your business. And last and not least, top notch customer experience. Faster, more efficient and accurate processes will be felt by your employees, and then ultimately by your customers. Remember that your competitors are all using RPA and automation in some form, so to compete you will need to also.

                             So, RPA in 2020, shifting strategies, looking at pre-COVID and post COVID in terms of the strategies we're seeing in the marketplace. We know that a lot has changed in the RPA world just this year. We have noticed a definitive change from our customers from a theoretical evaluation to a very pragmatic approach. Last year we saw lots of corporate initiatives that were focused on longterm strategic planning with lofty goals and often protracted evaluation cycles. Now, post COVID, we're seeing the pace quicken; customers want to see how fast they can solve short term immediate needs. We call them the bleeding from the neck problems. Last year IT teams were still skeptical of business led RPA projects, and often wanted to have separation between core IT automation and business driven automation. Now we're seeing demand, indeed, executive leadership, driving IT to extend their automation and create end to end solutions with an eye towards headcount reduction.

                             We continue to see strong growth in RPA, both in net new accounts and accounts looking to expand, unlike, say, the ERP business where there's a Highlander mentality, there's only one, or there can only be one. There is no such requirement with RPA, as many businesses are looking to add new RPA providers to their existing systems to solve technical or specific pricing challenges. As one customer of ours noted, "We've gotten a ton of ROI from this RPA tool, so it's super easy just to add another." The buying process also evolved. We're seeing them much more focused on the end solution rather than questions about the technology hype. We're also getting more and more questions about vendor viability. Customers that are held to very high standards for profitability are increasingly asking us, "Will some of our cash burning competitors exist in the long run?" That's a valid question. Finally, we're seeing an increase in companies focused on internal development versus outsourcing bot development to contractors and consulting firms. Budgets are getting slashed first, and then employees.

                             So, let's move on to the six steps of the RPA journey. So, let's start with an interactive polling question. Where is your organization in the RPA journey? So, let me move to the polling tool here and I'll launch the first poll. And where is your organization in the RPA journey? I'm going to ask you all a small favor, if you could help us by participating in this poll and interacting. I can see results coming in now, so thank you everyone. We're going to give this just a minute or two. We don't have a ton of time, so once I see the responses slowing, I'll go ahead and publish the results.

                             Yep, things are still moving, so thank you. So again, where is your organization in the RPA journey? Still seeing some movement in the polls, so let's give that just another couple of seconds here. I think I'll give it about another ... well, we just had some pop in there, so I'm going to give it about nine or 10 more seconds.

                             Okay, I think I'm going to close the poll, I think it's slowed down enough. And let's share that for everyone to take a look at the results so you can see how your peers are doing. Okay, so here you see the results. I'm going to have to go full screen here because I can't quite read it. Let's take a look here. Looks like the winner is evaluating. And boy, just struggling to see on my screen the full screen here, I'm going to have to expand this so I can read it for you, but you can hopefully see the results there on your screen. So it looks like, not surprisingly, many are evaluating and piloting an RPA solution as the number one response. Close, but not necessarily too close, is second, 29% are identifying opportunities or selecting a use case, which is great. And then I rarely see this, but we've got a tie. So just getting started, 14%, as well as implementing and measuring success. So at both ends of the spectrum, we've got an equal weighting. All right, so let's go ahead and hide that and we can move on.

                             So, let's take a look at the six steps of the RPA journey. As with any journey, it's always helpful to use a map to make sure that you don't get lost and find your way. And clearly, given the polling that we just took, many of you are not necessarily at the beginning, you may be at the middle or towards the end of this journey, but I think it's helpful to step back and take a look at what we see as the six crucial steps in a typical RPA journey. It's all about learn, identify, select, pilot, measure, and expand. And we're going to kind of break this down for you so you get an idea of what each of these steps look like.

                             So, step one, learn what RPA is and what RPA is not. Start by understanding what RPA can do 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. By working together with a digital workforce, employees can focus more of their time on more complex value added work functions, which is what we really want.

                             What about hyper automation and intelligent automation? The mix of AI, ML, RPA, a lot of buzz words out there. Contrary to popular belief, RPA is not the same as artificial intelligence. While many people often use the term AI to describe various activities ranging from simple automations to the performance of complex algorithmic interpretations, RPA adoption does not perform any of these more advanced capabilities. RPA is all about efficiency, streamlining your most tedious and repetitive tasks. RPA is about accuracy by eliminating human errors in your workflows. RPA is about flexibility by being able to integrate and process automation between critical business applications. RPA literally can work very well across every department in your organization.

                             So, what exactly is a bot? Think of a bot as a digital assistant that can run on a user's desktop or centrally on a server VM or a Cloud VM. Attended automation is the human in the middle type of automation, we call it human in the loop. This allows for the bot to do what it does best, which is manual repetitive time consuming tasks, and it can pause or even ask questions and give responses back and forth to the human that require a more subjective response.

                             So, as an example, here at HelpSystems our web QA team uses an attended bot for our website QA automation. What happens is we deploy new websites, new links, new pages, every two weeks and before deploying them, our web QA team analyzes all 7000 plus links. So the robot goes out and tests everything and reports back, but pauses in between when it finds errors or asks the QA analyst if everything looks fine. So you've got the benefits of both. You've got the human doing a subjective analysis and the bot doing a lot of the heavy lifting. We also have a lot of forms to fill out on our website, and to make sure that they're fully accurate, robots do a nice job by going in and filling out forms versus a human manually typing in information. So we use automate internally in our web QA department using what we call attended automation.

                             Now, the next type of automation is called unattended automation, and this is when a bot runs completely in the background from start to finish and is literally invisible to the user. The human just gets the results. So, results run on time, results can be emailed, files are downloaded, moved, renamed, encrypted, data extraction can occur, integration with other applications. So, typically, unattended automation is what we call backup glass or backend automation and is very efficient, and once set up, it can run for years, running 24 by seven by 365, of course not taking any vacations.

                             So, identifying 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 task ... sorry, data entry and extraction. Begin by creating a wishlist of appropriate automation processes that are prime candidates for RPA. Review rules-based and deterministic applications of the individual processes, perhaps identifying those that require high numbers of employees to complete. Consider using the automation candidate scoring matrix, more on this in a bit, we're going to give you an example of a tool that we provide you off of our website called a automation candidate scoring matrix. This helps you compare time-savings, criticality, frequency, the amount of effort to automate, as well as the lifetime of automation for each process. Other top candidates might include processes with lower estimated times to automate, those utilizing standard or structured data or processes with an inconsistent or fluctuating demand, but still require full-time staff. These process types, which are often excellent candidates for initial RPA automation include data entry, such as claims management or invoice processing, data extraction systems such as extracting customer data for filling out tax claims, repetitive, routine and otherwise mundane tasks such as the processing of bank transactions or maybe insurance claims.

                             So we feel it's very important to help our customers take the best approach to automation for each of your business processes. So at the top, we have a process that you need to keep in mind, and at the bottom, you need to consider the best method of automation as it applies to those processes. And it really falls into these four buckets. So on the far left we have what is called As Is, and this is generally where you want to start with your proof of concept, taking traditional RPA, most times using front of glass approaches, to automate GUI automation. Maybe it's the only option because there's no API or web service available for a particular automation. But the As Is helps you get to a conclusion faster. So taking a process just as it exists today, document it, and then running a proof of concept.

                             Next, we look at desktop automation. This is where you get productivity for individuals, but at scale it really makes a huge impact. Think about that digital assistant running on everyone's desktop, doing things like portal log-ins and running reports. We had one customer, a large insurance company, that had 125 different actuaries running month end reports, but it took them the entire last week of the month to complete their reporting processes. Once automate came in and RPA, they were able to do their full month end reporting, letting the bot do the heavy lifting, and they were down to just a couple of hours at the end of the month versus taking an entire week. So having a desktop companion really helps from a productivity standpoint.

                             Next along the line, we have this high frequency multi-person automation. I call this the hybrid. This is where you tend to combine both front end and back end automation to achieve a very high frequency multi-person automation success. It doesn't have to be hybrid, it can certainly be one or the other, but this is where you see huge ROI gains.

                             And then last, we call this the high volume mission critical. This is where you tend to want to rework your process, you want to really roll up your sleeves and take a critical eye and look at how a process is being executed, because you don't want to just automate a bad process. If you're going to move into the really high volume mission critical areas, you want to make sure that process is optimized, and RPA can really make a huge difference here. And we typically see this mostly running back end automation, leveraging APIs, and sometimes integrating with various scripts that have been created with some of your programmers in the organization.

                             So, let's go to another polling question. So let's take a look at what processes or tasks you have the greatest need to automate. So, let's bring up the poll here once again, I think we've all done it once now, so I'm going to launch that poll. So which processes or tasks do you have the greatest need to automate? Again, I'm going to ask you to help us out here and start to interact with the poll. Data entry or data extraction, report generation, web browser or GUI automation, automating legacy systems or processes, or none of the above, or other, something that we haven't listed here. So again, really appreciate your help here and your interaction, which processes or tasks do you have the greatest need to automate?

                             So I see the results popping in here and it looks like we're coming up on 45 seconds. I like to give it at least a minute, so thank you for your help. Results are still pouring in. I'll keep it open here for just another 10 seconds or so, it looks like some things are still happening, and we're at the one minute mark and it looks like things have slowed down. So let's close out the poll and publish the results.

                             All right, so let's take a look at what you've given us here from the audience, which processes or tasks do you have the greatest need to automate? An overwhelming number of you at 63% want to automate legacy systems or processes. That's really interesting, we'll talk more about that. And then it looks like second place came in to data entry, data extraction, no surprise there, that can be very, very manual as well as time consuming. And that tends to apply also to legacy systems because they don't have any types of integration. And then it looks like web browser, GUI automation, which is generally very popular with RPA. That tends to be very popular because of its ability to interact with the interface without a human. And then zero for report generation and zero others. So let's go ahead and hide the poll and continue on. So, thank you for your participation there.

                             All right, once you've kind of created your wishlist, it's time to narrow down your choice for an initial use case. By using the automate scoring matrix, which is part of our RPA toolkit on our website, you can download our toolkit, it gives you some blank forms like this that help you and guide you in selecting and defining your success criteria. So you can consider things like time saved, frequency, criticality, effort, and all of the things listed here on the form that will help you define what a pilot success looks like and how RPA improves each of those areas. And then you can give it different weight factors, so it really gives you more of an objective look at it instead of guessing.

                             So, in terms of your automation candidate scoring matrix, you really want to prioritize these projects. There's examples here listed, time-savings, criticality, elimination of errors, frequency, and then how much effort to automate. The key here is to pick some low hanging fruit. You want to have early success, pick something that's pretty easily identifiable as something that you need to automate. Every department in your organization probably will volunteer for something that's really top of mind for them that they feel could be automated and take away some of those manual processes. But this gives you a tool to actually make that objective analysis.

                             Next, let's select the use case and define your success criteria. So you need to establish a baseline expectation, and what we recommend at HelpSystems is really aim for a five to one return on your investment, meaning for every dollar that you put in, you need to get $5 back, or every pound or every yen, whatever the case may be, whatever your currency is, just make sure that you shoot for that five to one ratio of dollars in return back. It sounds very ambitious, but we've worked with thousands of customers on projects and we know this is very achievable, using RPA to get a five for one payback. So we'll show how one of our customers actually tracks their ROI later in the presentation today.

                             So, as you look to define success, many think of RPA just purely from a cost savings perspective. And while it's part of the equation, it's not always at the top of the list. You're taking a look here at the results of a recent Deloitte study that was conducted where organizations reported their RPA benefits, and to my surprise and many others, cost reduction came in last. So at the top of the list was compliance, and many organizations we deal with are in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and banking, as well as our GDPR compliance, so that is no surprise that that came in at the top of the list for how they would achieve benefits using RPA, because once they set those business rules in, a robot does comply without human error.

                             Quality and accuracy was a close second, that particularly becomes important when you start talking about financial data. That data has to be accurate, certainly in healthcare as well and insurance and many other industries. RPA does provide a high degree of accuracy because the bots, again, don't make mistakes once you set them up correctly.

                             Productivity, no surprise there, 86%. we talked about how bots work 24/7, 365, kind of freeing up your employees. Not eliminating employees, but generally making them more available to do that very creative and strategic work. And then, as we talked about, cost reduction certainly is part of the equation, but according to this Deloitte survey, it was only at a 59% of the respondents, so I thought that was interesting to share with you.

                             Okay, our last polling question of the day, let's bring this up for what is your main goal in determining RPA success? So let me bring that up on the screen here, and again, I'm going to ask for participation from you and I'm going to launch the poll here. So we've given you a few options here on what is your main goal in determining RPA success; hours saved, cost reduction, meeting compliance, error reduction, or others. So kind of mirroring that Deloitte survey. So we want to see where you fit in terms of your main goals for determining what would make an RPA project successful.

                             Again, we're only at 30 seconds, I still see a number of people pouring in. It looks like a more balanced response this time, so we've got some distribution across the responses, which is interesting. About 45 seconds in here, let's just pause for a moment and let everybody get a chance to participate. Thank you.

                             Okay, let's go ahead and close out the poll and let's share the responses. So, there we go, looks like hours saved, so productivity, kind of thing, was our number one response with a tie, again, for both cost reduction and reduction of errors, and then compliance rounding out at 13%. I find that interesting, how that broke down for our audience.

                             So, pilot your solution and your use case. There's lots of RPA solutions out there, but they're not all created equal, so this is a great time for you to trial an RPA solution before making a commitment. A trial not only lets you test out RPA, but it also helps you find the right solution for your unique organizational needs and really get comfortable with the software. So try and look for vendors that can offer end to end process support while also having the capability to become fully operational quickly.

                             So, this is the three durable differentiators that we provide at HelpSystems for our RPA solution called Automate. First, our product is built for the citizen developer. Without jeopardizing power, our bots are simple to use and no coding is required. Both technical and citizen developers can start creating bots immediately by leveraging our 600 prebuilt automation actions. Our drag and drop functionality is unique in the marketplace because we don't require anyone to understand advanced coding concepts such as String, 32, or Integer. Developers only need to know business concepts, entering numbers and text. I use it every day and I am not a programmer.

                             Next, we offer unrestricted bots, powerful bots without restriction. So, unlike the biggest players in the RPA marketplace, we are simplifying bots to encourage bot usage wherever it makes sense and for whomever it makes sense. Bots can deploy as attended or unattended without restrictions, running unlimited numbers of tasks concurrently with no throughput restrictions. This allows users the flexibility to create bots and workflows that work best for them without being constrained. We don't require an additional investment to add functionality. Many of our competitors charge extra for things like exchange server bots, ours are universal and unrestricted. And then last, compelling pricing and unmatched value. We eliminate the number one challenge organizations face when scaling RPA, we enable users to get started with RPA. Our desktop product starts around 3600 US for one bot. For five bots, $15,000, including orchestration and enterprise features. But our ultimate product offers a fixed cost annually for $90,000 for unlimited bots, unlimited studios, unlocking unlimited possibilities for complete and true desktop digital assistance for all your employees. We offer both subscription and perpetual licensing and we're the only vendor, we think, that offers this. So it offers great flexibility in how you can acquire an RPA solution.

                             Last, let's look at measuring results. So, with clearly defined success criteria from step three, it should be easy to measure results in your pilot. So take a look back at how things went and document what went well and what honestly could have went better from your lessons learned. Compare the cost of implementation, deployment and maintenance against how much time is saved, if accuracy is improved, and how much human intervention is needed. This will help determine if you want to move forward with an RPA solution after your pilot.

                             This is how one of our customers measured results. This individual created a spreadsheet, cost it out, both where manual as well as automation costs were reflective for each individual tasks, and they achieved almost an unbelievable two and a half million dollars of savings over just over two years of using RPA in their organization.

                             And then, last, and probably the most important, is expand to the next use case, and what we call rinse and repeat. So, once you've achieved success, now you've got all the lessons learned and you've got an ROI, you've got probably some money to work with because you've saved so much money. And our customers have found that provable repeatable processes can be applied to all kinds of workflow options across the organization. So, documentation is critical. So, as you move forward from proof of concept into other processes, documenting what the process name is, where it's located, how it's scheduled, who some of the administrators are, what systems it touches and what it generates and who's on the distribution list, this is an example of one of our customers on how they started documenting all their different processes once they moved past the proof of concept.

                             So in terms of quick wins with RPA, that we said we'd cover, Carter Bank & Trust was one of the examples, they achieved a very high 3800% in less than five months ROI. They definitely leveraged automation by migrating accounts from one core banking system to a new system by entering 300,000 plus accounts from one system to another without any human interaction. And currently they've got over 75 bots in production.

                             We also have an example of a mortgage company that was struggling with hundreds of mortgage applications coming in every day to their Blend mortgage application, and in the middle, they had humans doing lots of data entry into a mortgage bot application for the lending process. Enter Automate RPA. It streamlined all of the data entry so that humans didn't have to do it, and they reached a positive ROI in less than 45 days.

                             So, I know we've ran over a little bit, I want to open it up for questions for those that have kind of hung in there. And again, we're going to respond, so if you want to send your questions, we can respond to by email. After the presentation we'll have communications with the email that you registered for this webinar. So I'm going to go to the questions tab here and see if there's any that we can hit right away.

                             So one of the questions is can I have a link to the recording? And the answer is absolutely yes. We will respond back with a recording for this GoToWebinar so that you could spread this throughout your organization and share it with anyone that couldn't attend today in the live recording.

                             I know we've gone over time, so what I'll do is I'll collate any of the additional questions here and we can respond to those. So I want to thank everyone for their time and have a great day. Thank you

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