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Now that the use of software robots (bots) has become prevalent in recent years, more companies are aware of the potential return on investment (ROI) provided by Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and want to implement it in 2022. As analysts at Gartner point out, “despite pressure from the COVID-19-induced economic recession, the RPA market will still grow at double-digit rates through 2024.” Clearly, it’s not too late to get in on the RPA game to optimize employee productivity and accelerate business. Though RPA is experiencing a surge in utilization, the technology isn’t new. Companies just beginning their RPA journey should follow best practices provided by experts and lessons learned from those who’ve already incorporated automation tools in some facet. A detailed, systematic methodology for introducing and deploying RPA will ensure a smooth technological evolution enterprise-wide.
As COVID-19 instigated temporary closures for some businesses or a shift to many employees working remotely, it is evident that RPA can augment a company’s digital robustness and flexibility for both employees and clients. In noting the challenges created by the pandemic, Information Age magazine reveals, “Taking advantage of emerging technologies has been critical to business response, with RPA proving to be a recession-proof savior for business continuity.” Organizations that endured the obstacles of 2020 through the present, and understand the need for technological advancement, should emphasize the planning phase. Experts agree that it’s important to thoroughly assess how RPA can support all business objectives and enhance capabilities. Additionally, to prime the labor force for RPA, it’s a good idea to engage a vendor that provides Case and Content Management services alongside automation solutions, to make applications as harmonious as possible. Since not all employees and clients are technical experts, it helps to call in the “big guns” to enforce best practices from adoption to delivery.
As RPA is meant to simplify processes and increase efficiency across the board, it’s important to involve all management from the get-go. During this planning stage, it’s advantageous to form a team of key participants who, in conjunction with the RPA provider, can identify which processes cause “bottlenecks” and where bots can improve speed and output quality. To do this, department managers should map out and evaluate internal manual procedures and workflows. As Forbes asserts, “Another beauty of RPA is that it doesn’t require companies to rip out legacy systems. It works on top of existing software.” This means organizations don’t have to start from scratch, but rather, can pinpoint specific activities that will benefit the most from RPA. Experts also advise companies to gather input from all departments: Human Resources, Sales and Marketing, Finance, as well as IT, to get a full picture of where RPA can boost operations. Feedback from each business unit can form the basis of use cases indicating where bots can take over repetitive, high-volume tasks that keep employees from their higher-value work.
Though a company may be eager to execute RPA, experts warn against “jumping the gun” too quickly. In his book The Robotic Process Automation Handbook, Tom Taulli warns business owners not to rush into RPA without proper planning, explaining: “A preferred approach is to draft a written plan of action, which provides the key priorities, objectives, and roles for the RPA implementation.” The RPA team should develop a business case to address the ROI for automating certain processes and the impact on the workforce. Instead of assigning a bot for every employee, the plan should detail which tasks (within each department) necessitate automation, outline new functionalities, and address data security concerns. Once the team has established a thorough analysis of all processes, the plan for deploying and monitoring RPA solutions can advance to a pilot phase.
Though experts say no programming experience is necessary for an employee to use RPA technology, an important step in executing it successfully is adequate training and change management. Communication is key in lessening workers’ resistance to change. Techwire points out, “Implementing RPA, much like any other transformation initiative requires change management.” As RPA bots mimic human actions, the learning curve for employees is low. They can easily learn how to configure and use bots explicitly for their routine, and often tedious, job responsibilities. Staffers will quickly realize RPA streamlines their workload by taking over the time-consuming, repetitive duties. Whether remote or on-site, RPA makes it possible for employees to focus on strategic and customer-facing initiatives, not administrative-type tasks.
It’s beneficial to partner with an established RPA provider that also offers content and case management. Such experts can direct relevant change management activities to avoid potential setbacks and employee apprehension. Though there are countless RPA vendors who specialize in innovative technology, it’s vital for business owners to choose one that delivers the right automation tools that align with the company’s unique culture and goals. According to Linkedin, some of the factors to consider in selecting an RPA vendor include deployment flexibility, the highest level of protection, scalability, and support. It’s important to connect with a vendor that will offer solutions that best meet the needs of the people who make up the fabric of the company.
Forward-thinking companies are wise to view RPA inclusion as an ongoing strategy since the technology is ever-evolving and more opportunities for automation tools may become evident over time. A market analysis report from Grand View Research shows that “The global robotic process automation market size was valued at $1.57 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.8% from 2021 to 2028. A shift in company business operations due to the pandemic-induced work-from-home situation is expected to favor market growth over the forecast period.” Businesses that join the ranks of those investing in RPA will not only remain competitive but be prepared for any unforeseen challenges like those experienced in 2020. Companies that make digital resilience a priority and implement RPA methodically, will reap major benefits well into the future.
For more information on how Tagence can empower your company to build, secure, and scale automated business processes, from legacy to modern, across the enterprise, visit https://tagence.com.