When most people hear the word ‘automation, their eyes start twitching with confusion. Take it up a notch to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and our heads are spinning. But did you know RPA is all around us? Think back to how banks were run years ago – long queues just to withdraw or deposit money. With Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), we no longer have to physically enter a bank for those transactions.
To put it simply, RPA uses software to mimic human behaviour in carrying out routine processes. With technology at the heart of modern business transformation, RPA is making waves as the next big thing. But how does this work? Buckle-up. It’s Automation 101 and class is in session.
Like every process, RPA has its stages or phases to allow for proper implementation and the best possible Return on Investment. The base of an automation solution is process discovery. This involves an audit of existing processes across the business’ operations and departments and identifying which ones can and should be automated, a.k.a. candidates for automation.
This scoping is crucial because an optimal balance of people, process and technology makes for a great outcome.
Since RPA solutions are many and varied, the next step involves tailoring to match business priorities. This means careful consideration of the technical requirements and evaluation criteria. A framework backed by AI aligns objectives with how RPA can achieve them, and eventuallya decision is taken on the areas of automation.
Any high-performing RPA solution worth its salt rides on asystematic implementation strategy. Think of it as a “who does what at what point” plan. It is only after this that implementation can begin. It is equally important to check the success rate of the RPA implementation. The metrics can vary from one organisation to another, but usually includes calculating accuracy of the output, comparing employee productivity on an activity before and after the RPA implementation, and how the deployment of RPA has affected business operations.
While some people get nervous at the thought of RPA because of the perceived fear of job loss, it’s good to remember that this solution is implemented and managed by humans – meaning RPA does not work in isolation but thrives under human management and observation. At the same time, the workforce is allowed to focus on higher-value work, decision-making and reasoning, leaving no room for redundancy.
Building a culture that embraces technology is therefore crucial for staying relevant in these times, as the workforce must challenge itself to hone its technical skills and equip itself with the right functional knowledge to get the best out of these solutions. This is where selecting a reliable technology partner that goes beyond implementation to providing on-ground onboarding and support 24/7 is crucial.
The writer is the Chief Technology Officer for Enterprise Computing