Beyond the Hype: Practical Tips for Effective RPA Deployment

By Stephanie Holden

When RPA made its debut in the early 2000s, it shined with potential. Technologists praised its ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, reduce manual data entry, and conserve resources. But with so many options available, how do stakeholders select the best option? With benefit of hindsight, we’ve compiled what decision makers wish they’d known prior to beginning their RPA journey.

  1. According to McKinsey, the biggest challenge stakeholders faced was not fully understanding the capabilities and limitations of RPA software as it applied to their business model. Sales representatives often oversold the benefits without a clear understanding of the client’s unique operations.
  • Remedy:  Working with a reputable expert RPA Consultant can be invaluable: By navigating the process with an experienced individual, teams can reduce miscommunication between developers and users, minimizing costly rework and delays. An expert RPA Consultant brings a wealth of knowledge regarding best practices. An experienced RPA consultant ensures the process is built for scalability and delivers maximum return on investment.
  1. Identifying suitable processes for RPA ‘bot enhancements can be challenging. Processes that are extremely complex, or rely heavily on human judgement, decision making or creative problem solving can be challenging to automate with RPA.
  • Remedy: Where possible, break the process into smaller steps. RPA consultants provide guidance on which processes are ripe for automation. Whenever possible, request a proof of concept to demonstrate the ‘bots abilities and measure output.
  1. To reduce upfront costs, some organizations opt to have internal IT teams program RPA ‘bots. They can become enticed by the allure of low code or no code solutions. Without a seasoned RPA developer, these come with obvious drawbacks such as longer development times, less efficient ‘bots, or mistakes resulting in rework.
  • Remedy: Take advantage of support services offered by vendors. Many vendors offer technical support services, training, and community forums for assistance or education. By investing in training programs to upskill teams, this allows for timely development and enhanced quality ‘bots.
  1. According to Forbes, 54% of RPA deployment disruptions are due to poor oversight, not technical errors. RPA solutions require ongoing maintenance and monitoring to handle exceptions, updates in processes, or internal changes that may affect programming.
  • Remedy: Develop a clear framework dividing ownership of maintenance and steps to remediate issues. Experts recommend using the monitoring tools available in RPA platforms to track the performance of ‘bots. These tools notify users of failures or exceptions, and track remediation times. These can also be helpful with internal audit activities.

RPA projects provide a strong return on investment within a short period of time. If implementation problems become too overwhelming, it can be a sign that teams need to leverage an expert RPA Consultant to provide guidance. An experienced individual allows for quicker identification of issues and can educate teams to properly manage RPA initiatives independently in the future.

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