Introduction to RPA
Robotic Process Automation Implementation is a process that helps to create, deploy, and manage software robots. These robots mimic human actions when interacting with digital systems and software. Software robots can understand what’s on a screen. They can type the correct keystrokes, navigate systems, identify and extract data, and perform a variety of predefined tasks. Software-based robots are also faster and more consistent than humans.
Before getting into RPA, you should have a clear idea of what you want to do. Improve efficiency and productivity, shift workers to higher-priority tasks, and also improve the end-user experience. These are all possible objectives. Also, RPA isn’t appropriate for all business processes. Businesses should devise a strategy for selecting the best processes. They also should then prioritize them based on factors such as complexity and ROI.
Consider how automating these processes will look. What it will do, the business context in which it will be used, and also how it will fit into future business operations.
Interviews with the operators who currently run the process help understand the process.
But, relying solely on this approach is costly – Interviews are time-consuming and, prone to errors – People have faulty memories and are also susceptible to a variety of cognitive biases.
Combining interviews with analysis derived from task/process mining is another option. Companies can use process mining software to analyze their logs. It would help them understand real-world process flows. Companies that specialize in task mining supplement this log data with video recordings of employee actions.
These vendors remove non-public personal information from the video content. These solutions use real-time data and event logs to show the current state of processes. It thus allows them to identify bottlenecks, unnecessary steps and provide factual insights.
Processes change as a result of regulatory and market pressures. Though top-down lean or 6 sigma projects can sometimes help, they are few and also expensive. As a result, most processes have a lot of room for improvement.
Invite RPA vendors to take part in onsite presentations during this phase to fine-tune your procurement strategy. As a proof of concept, many vendors will agree to show RPA in action on your chosen processes. These onsite presentations should include a technical demo. This demo would focus on the functionality found in each use case or the process that the RPA is replacing. This way, you can compare and contrast the various options.
RPA is great for automating rules-based tasks. But, more complex tasks like extracting data from documents are difficult to automate. RPA providers may offer ways to program such functionality. But because this isn’t their primary focus, the solutions aren’t always the most effective. It’s a good idea to look into AI/ML providers that specialize in the problems you’re trying to solve.
Some RPA use cases that AI/ML providers can help speed up:
Invoice automation is simple to automate with almost complete no-touch processing. This includes integrating an API provided by a deep learning solution provider like Hypatos.
Document data extraction is a common RPA project. Specialist ML providers offer competitive solutions in this area.
If your company lacks the manpower or expertise in RPA, you can work with a consulting firm or a BPO provider to automate your processes.
Create a detailed process map that identifies which parts of the process need automation. Get subject matter experts from your company to contribute to the process. This is especially true if the process hasn’t been thoroughly documented. Also, most processes with large corporations are not well documented.
RPA bots can be programmed after the role of RPA bots in the process is clarified. While developing the solution, trade-offs such as faster deployment vs. more flexibility must be also carefully weighed. Business and technical teams will be aligned and progressing if they follow well-established lean software development and quality assurance processes.
The significance of testing cannot be overstated. Minor differences in user systems, such as some users using MacBooks or even different screen resolutions, can lead to unexpected bugs in attended automation. Before the pilot, all major scenarios must be thoroughly tested. The use of historical data allows for more realistic testing.
Set the following goals for the pilot. These can relate to accuracy or automation.
Conduct a live test: Every day, the process’s management team examines a random sample of bot output.
Examine the outcomes of the pilot: Run a thorough analysis that takes into account unusual circumstances and difficult inputs. Only complete the pilot once all the before agreed-upon objectives have been met.
With the help of the current team, design the governance of a new, bot-driven process. Put in place maintenance mechanisms. Also, make roles and responsibilities clear.
Make a backup plan: If the RPA solution requires to rework after deployment, having a backup plan will be useful. Though such a plan is unlikely to be used most of the time, it is always helpful to stay prepared.
Activate: Go live with the new process after informing all relevant stakeholders.
Analyze the outcomes: Process mining tools can track bot performance. They can measure the level of automation during implementation to see if the project met its objectives. Save money and analyze the results to help with future RPA projects.
You’ll need to change your processes to keep up with the market and regulatory changes. The future success of your RPA depends on having a capable team in charge of the installation. Companies can also create Centers of Excellence. This center collaborates with service providers or trains their internal staff to maintain and build new RPA.
Process mining tools can help the team in charge of RPA deployments track changes in processes. As a result, it helps to identify when RPA bots need maintenance/modification.
Accounting and financial management are critical business operations. But, the tasks are time-consuming, error-prone, and do not generate revenue.
Invoice Processing is one of the most time-consuming tasks in Accounts Payable. Invoices arrive via various channels. They match sale orders and often need approval from multiple people before getting paid.
You can also use RPA to create rules that send invoices to the appropriate person for approval while your associates focus on the outliers. Before submitting the payment, you can automate the PO-matching process to flag any errors for further review.
It can take weeks and be costly to hire one person. RPA can help with many repetitive tasks during the hiring and onboarding process. For example, a bot can source applicants around the clock with more accuracy and no bias. This bot could screen resumes and candidates after sourcing applicants.
Every HR team has to deal with payroll processing each month. It is a tedious and time-consuming task. Because of the volume, there are frequent errors and inaccuracies. Thus resulting in rework and payment delays.
An RPA bot can confirm timesheets, earnings, and tax deductions by cross-verifying employee data across many systems. Taxable benefits and other reimbursements can also be managed by RPA.
Customers expect prompt responses. Also, their questions need to be directed to the appropriate person as soon as possible.
Customer support is ripe for RPA. Many of a customer’s problems and questions have easy and routine, standardized solutions.
RPA can categorize and route queries to the appropriate department. Often, this may be enough to resolve the customer’s issue. The bot assists the customer in resolving their issue while also saving the company money on customer service.
Additionally, it reduces wait times for customers who need help by reducing the number of people on hold. RPA can improve customer satisfaction by allowing for faster responses.
RPA is a powerful transformation tool that can help a company grow if the right steps are taken to install a smart strategy. The goal of RPA is to automate certain processes. But, our human capital is critical to a smooth transition.
Each step of the RPA process needs communication with your team to ensure smooth and deliberate execution. You can also reduce the margin of error if employees understand each step of the implementation, including the areas that are prone to errors.
In conclusion, with the growing automation around us, Robotic Process Automation implementation will be one of the hottest trends in the future.