By now you’ve heard of RPA. You’ve heard that RPA promises to address the efficiency of your high-volume, transactional processes that don’t have much variation. RPA has the potential to help organizations digitize back-office operations across several industries and yet, at the peak of the hype, there are few examples of strong success among the thousand plus deployments.
EY’s latest stats say that as many as 50% of initial RPA projects fail. McKinsey partners Alex Edlich & Vik Sohoni note that in their experience, “robotics programs have been put on hold or CIOs have flatly refused to install new bots – even those vendors have worked on for months – till solutions have been defined to scale the program effectively.”
And therein lies the rub. Robotics programs only have a chance at making impact at scale. Automating the work of one back office worker will save you just that – one FTE. RPA delivers value for the individual workplace. The challenge for the implementer is how to scale the product from the individual workplace, to a process level, and ultimately to the level of the entire organization. Here’s what Mavim has learned as we help CIOs that have been burned from their initial RPA attempts.
RPA is certainly not the only tool being used to help digitize your organization so don’t try to implement it in a vacuum. Typical implementation efforts consist of numerous technology components and other (human) resources that address the strategic requirement. Get this holistic view of your automation efforts crystal clear. You may even come to the conclusion that it would be more effective to remove certain fields on a form than to program a bot to transcribe that information to another system. Or perhaps it would make more sense to deploy a workflow system to simplify information flows in order to reduce the number of activities a bot may have to perform further downstream.
Review Your (Target) Operating Model
There is no question that you need to show results quickly with RPA projects. But don’t confuse showing results quickly with skipping the design phase. A typical mistake is that a robotics team jumps headfirst into configuration and loses track of the larger operational context. Or even worse, the team spends way more time debating the last mile functionality of RPA vendors without spending enough time debating which processes to automate. By analyzing the operating model and designing the target operating model, teams will be encouraged to review the end-to-end processes and narrow in on the pain points that can be automated with RPA.
Check the Business Blueprint
Understanding the architectural implications before you begin is critical. Not only will you make your IT department happy by clearly visualizing and updating the different links between IT systems, but this is also the opportunity to clearly define roles and responsibilities about how to manage the bots at scale. This is important to get right before you have a mass proliferation on your hands, and no one knows who was responsible to begin with.
Don’t Forget About Governance
The tendency with automation is to spend a small bit of time designing, some time testing, and upon proof of value, to let go. You do invest in automation to reduce manual transactions, but don’t forget that there will be an increase in manual transactions elsewhere; namely, to maintain the bots. In any large enterprise, you can expect that there may be multiple versions of the software up and running at one time. Plus, don’t forget about security patches and upgrades to be reckoned with. Even more importantly, it is critical to keep an eye on the internal organizational processes that can also be changing regularly as well as any interfacing applications. With all these moving parts at play, it is critical to manage the governance of RPA from a central hub that allows you to see the impact of change as it happens.
Mavim offers software that facilitates the creation of a dynamic, virtual representation of an organization in its operational context – what Gartner calls a Digital Twin of an Organization. (DTO) Every asset that falls within the context of an organization (processes, technology, architecture, infrastructure, customer interactions, business capabilities, strategies, roles, responsibilities, products, services, distribution channels) can be connected, reported upon and visualized. This helps business leaders assess the impact of change in a controlled environment. The data visualized in Mavim provides insight into an organization’s current state, which can be continuously infused with new information to give feedback on how the organization is responding to changes, deploying resources, and delivering customer value.
Mavim will help you safeguard your investment in RPA by creating insight into which processes would benefit from automation, why, and how to optimize implementation based on the way your organization currently operates.