It can be easy to focus on articles that tout the promises of implementing automation for streamlining business processes, yet that doesn’t mean it's not essential to discuss the potential challenges.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) takes over repetitive and menial computerized tasks usually left to human employees to boost efficiency and accuracy of operations. These time-consuming procedures result in unnecessary labor hours and are highly prone to inaccuracies, and RPA serves as an excellent tool for streamlining them.
However, some RPA implementations are not successful due to a lack of communication, planning, or an inexperienced implementation partner. Processes may be expedited, but a business might not see quantifiable gains without the correct strategic goals, and a complete understanding of the benefits automation can deliver.
Why Some RPA Projects Stall
The most common primary cause of stalled RPA implementation projects is a lack of communication in the initial stages. Receiving input from all workforce levels is valuable in determining where RPA can be most helpful. Understanding the technical hurdles faced by employees handling repetitive assignments aids in a company maximizing RPA's potential.
Internal communication centered on employee experience allows a company to:
● Provide clarity to the staff so they recognize how RPA can improve their daily work experience and offer an opportunity for growth rather than the elimination of jobs. ● Elicit an understanding of each employee's contribution and its vital role in the company’s progress. ● Provide training for employees in expanded roles as automation becomes integrated, ensuring they have the right skills to drive progress in more critical and fulfilling roles.
A concrete business strategy must drive RPA projects, so clarifying the essential tasks that require the most manual attention will go a long way toward producing a lucrative ROI.
Planning, Communication & Measurement
Defining KPIs and benchmarks that align RPA ROI with the business strategy allows for the enactment of reporting that tracks progress and results. This keeps stakeholders informed and involved while also engaging the workforce.
The foundation of reporting for KPIs and ROI benchmarking begins with understanding and acting on measurable factors. The best RPA KPIs are determined by strategic automation objectives and the process itself. There are several areas in which a company can identify opportunities for measurable growth:
FTE (the full-time equivalent of hours worked) for an employee can be used to compare the cost of manually performing a task using an automated process over the same time frame. In many instances, programs or processes that require line-by-line analysis, manual intervention to kickstart/complete a procedure, or send mass alerts, take an excessive amount of time when performed by an individual or even an entire team. RPA significantly reduces the need for human intervention in tedious, redundant assignments.
Recaptured Business Hours
In most cases, RPA implementation does not mean job elimination. RPA is intended to take control of the menial tasks that legitimately hinder employee production. Subsequently, management gains the ability to leverage labor hours and better utilize workers’ time to benefit both the company and the employee.
Improving Quality to Reduce Costs
Automation invariably reduces process errors and improves quality and accuracy in areas where the cost of even a single clerical mistake can be staggering. RPA’s efficiency helps eliminate oversights that can save hours of tracking and remediation to resolve. A complete RPA strategy involves understanding the types of errors that most typically occur within day-to-day processes and the cost saved by eliminating them over a day, month, or calendar year.
Process Optimization & Lead Time
One of the great benefits of integrating RPA is the ability of automated bots to perform their duties round-the-clock. It’s necessary to assess which processes are restricted to “working hours” and how the company can benefit from the additional hours of availability to complete essential tasks.
Since bots can be scheduled to complete tasks on any schedule, throughput surges along with revenue growth, offering a competitive edge in the sleepless digital marketplace. This feature of RPA is especially valuable for businesses that operate across multiple time zones or globally.
What benefits a company ideally benefits the customer and improves the customer/user experience. An essential step in determining specific, measurable aspects is establishing an Agreed Service Time (AST) and examining Downtime (DT) during that same period. Freeing up capacity shortens queues and extends service hours, offering the customer/client a more efficient checkout process and the overall procedure.
Measuring customer experience via service availability in determining ROI can be challenging. The optimal method is to calculate the cost of offering a service without automation and track customer satisfaction during a specific period. This can then be contrasted against the same period when RPA is utilized, observing the difference in problem resolution time, process fulfillment, and areas such as cost savings.
Finding the Right Implementation Partner
To ensure project outcome success, a company must accurately assess the areas in which they are most hindered by unnecessary human interference and the quantifiable ways they can be streamlined by automation. It is not a simple process, so selecting a qualified consulting partner plays a significant role in finding the right solution.
The ideal organization should possess in-depth knowledge of the technical capabilities of RPA but aid in developing a customized, strategic plan for the client’s long-term success and ROI. This, along with a deeply experienced and adept team that’s capable of seamlessly implementing the necessary changes.
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