Tips for Planning & Implementing Process Automation

Stephen Booze
Jun 2, 2021 7:00:00 AM

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To fully understand how robotic process automation (RPA) can be successfully implemented within a business model, it’s important to first establish the areas in which RPA is at its most productive. The core purpose of RPA is to replace repetitive and data-intensive functions with a logical route to a process’s end. Many everyday tasks require significant manual data processing, and there are four basic checkoffs for determining possible RPA fits:

  • Rule-based, manual processes that are mature, stable, predictable, and well-documented with consistent, well-defined operational costs.
  • The processes are repeated at regular intervals or have a pre-defined trigger with a low rate of variable outcomes that still require complex human intervention.
  • The process has defined data inputs and outputs in readable electronic formats.
  • The tasks occur at a high volume and high frequency of use to deliver a faster ROI.

Skilled developers are essential in creating specialized RPA software, and software development can be a costly venture. But by applying rapid prototyping and agile development in creating a base software model, the expense can be dramatically reduced.

Benefits of Rapid Prototyping and Agile Development Cycles

An experienced implementation partner will involve two separate but connected processes in the creation of customized software: Agile software development and Rapid prototyping. Agile addresses development directly, while rapid prototyping focuses on design practices.

A rapid prototyping project aims to build a realistic functional instance of the concept to capture feedback and signals from real users. This enables the RPA team to:

  • Create a foundation and framework for the software which steers the development.
  • Utilize AI and ML data set models to guide the RPA coding that automates process actions as part of a working model.
  • Use Agile in the actual development process to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that can be modified and tested over multiple cycles to fit specific tasks, needs, and businesses.

The rapid prototyping process can be further accelerated when the company designing the RPA software has deep experience in a wide variety of business processes. The implementation team needs experience in creating learning models to address everything from Quote-to-Cash (QTC) and HR management to data validation, migration, extraction, and inventory/product updating. The background needed for success makes it essential to choose the right implementation partner, as it ensures a cost-effective and accurate solution that maximizes desired returns.

Choosing the Right Process Discovery, Development, Implementation, and Support Partner

Typically, businesses are too intertwined with their daily operations and processes to make these determinations on their own. Thus, the ideal scenario is working with an RPA development and implementation partner skilled in collaborating with businesses across different sectors, and who has already done the heavy lifting in terms of RPA development.

While many of these areas of business share similar basic back-office processes, others have highly specific needs within industries such as healthcare, finance, retail, or e-Commerce. Agile—along with approaches such as rapid prototyping—speed up the development of custom RPA software for the design/implementation partner.

When the right RPA implementation partner approaches a business, they’ll have already completed this work. The remaining tasks include:

  • Learning the business operational structure (people, processes, and technology).
  • Identifying the specific processes that will see the greatest gains from automation and what the business seeks to accomplish.
  • Guiding the configuration test and the implementation procedures.
  • Providing support for scaling the solution—perhaps with the help of an internal RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) or additional guidelines.

The Bottom Line

By partnering with the right development/implementation partner, SMBs can collaborate with a team that acknowledges their specific needs and will embed themselves within the workforce to better understand the business.

This approach enables the creation of a customized RPA software solution that transforms the company operationally by speeding up/streamlining processes, boosting accuracy, lowering costs, and maximizing workforce productivity. The result is a company poised for growth and positioned to compete in the ever-evolving digital age.

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