RPA is an application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes. Using RPA tools, a company can configure software, or a “robot,” to capture and interpret applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems. RPA scenarios range from something as simple as generating an automatic response to an email to deploying thousands of bots, each programmed to automate jobs in an ERP system.
COOs working for financial services firms were at the vanguard of RPA adoption, figuring out ways to use software to facilitate business processes without increasing headcount or costs, says Regina Viadro, vice president at EPAM Systems and adviser of the company’s IA practice. Viadro has worked on RPA engagements for clients in financial services, healthcare, retail and human resources, showing the breadth of RPA use today.
Capture Process, Then Automate
Automating bad processes just means you can make the same mistakes faster. Before diving into an RPA initiative, it’s vital to capture and analyze your existing processes, using automated process discovery tools and insights from process participants. Only once processes are modeled can you make informed decisions about where automation can best be deployed. Taking the time to capture processes also helps you build a data-backed business case for RPA, going beyond buzzword appeal.
Looking at RPA as an “add-on” to existing systems and processes can yield short-term gains, but this approach isn’t sustainable. Organizations should instead take an enterprise view of RPA to maximize the technology’s impact. The quickest, easiest implementation of the cheapest robots available is unlikely to lead to long-term improvements, but an enterprise approach can fuel a shift in your organization’s mindset towards process improvement. That’s how true transformation occurs.
A Living Feature
Automaton is rarely a “set it and forget it” type capability.
Monitoring and measurement is critical to the continued success of your RPA initiative. A rogue robot can be even more destructive than a rogue employee, so RPA leaders must ensure robots are operating as intended and following the rules they’ve been given. It’s also important to keep close tabs on where RPA has proven successful, so you can scale to other processes with improvement potential.