So many companies want to embrace transformative technology but have a hard time trying to figure out where to start, what areas to automate so you don’t fail from the beginning. According to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation & Artificial Intelligence, over 60% of companies’ first RPA implementation fails to meet expectations because the proper steps were not taken to understand how to take full advantage of the fastest growing service in the software market. Because RPA is somewhat new to the business world, there are so many things you will start hearing on what to do. But after years of RPA implementation failures, and working with some of the best automation experts around the globe, we have found out the right formula for any business to have a successful RPA implementation journey.
STEP #1 – Understand what RPA can and cannot do.
RPA is a technology that helps businesses run more efficiently, and more productive, by taking those repetitive, rule-based tasks that are completed manually and automate them with an RPA solution. Finding all those daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that are done behind a computer will allow employees to focus on more complex, income-driven work that will bring more value to a business.
RPA does not self-learn, think, or act on its own. It does take the place of tasks much faster but humans are still the “brains” of the operation. But once these processes are built and understood by an RPA bot, it will be able to deliver results within minutes, without any errors or delays. The more you teach it the more it will do and it will never have to be shown twice to do anything. Once it’s been given the rules it will know them for the duration of the time.
STEP #2 – What processes are good candidates for RPA?
Once you understand how RPA works you will be thinking about all the ways it can be integrated. But it’s important to find areas that will help you understand the RPA language and give you a better vision of how you can use it in other areas of your business. The areas were RPA should first be implemented are those mundane, repetitive, routine tasks that are usually done in the back office/administrative areas.
Processes that are the best places to start implementing RPA are data entry extraction, invoice processing, sales orders, accounting reconciliation, system queries, payroll, employee on-boarding, and termination. Once you understand RPA you will start seeing how valuable RPA will be for your future growth.
STEP #3. Narrow it Down to One Process and Start Your Pilot.
The best way to pick your pilot process is to consider how much time it will save, how frequently this process is done, how complex is it, and how long it will take to automate. A little hint of advice is to pick a process that you are paying someone 15-25 hours a week to do. This can be a process that hours are split up between multiple people but as long as it something that is taking at least 3 manual hours a day. This will give you a good idea of how to get your RPA journey started with tangible results you can document.
STEP #4. Try It Before Buying It.
Because this is something new, something that can bring skepticism, work with an RPA company that will give you a free trial. You want to try it out first before making an investment. You want to make sure you see the value before making the full leap to automating your business and there are companies that will try to lock you into a contract just because they know you need this service.
Don’t be sold on “If you don’t get it now, or your competition is already getting results”, etc. Don’t buy into the hype, try it out first. A trial not only lets you see the value RPA can bring, but also helps you find the right solution for your business and helps you get comfortable with the software. Seeing is believing, but action is proof.
STEP #5. Document, document, document.
As you are going through the trial stages, document what is going well, how can you make it better, and anything else that you can think of to make that process more efficient and productive. Compare the costs of implementation, deployment, and maintenance against how much time is saved, if accuracy is improved, and how little human intervention is needed.
This can be done by using an RPA ROI calculator. Any company you are working with should be able to help you out. This will help you determine if you want to move forward with an RPA solution or if its just not the right fit for your business.
STEP #6. Build Your Wish List and Repeat Pilot.
Once you see the value RPA has to offer, and are happy with the results, start looking for other areas to automate. Move down your wish list and try out RPA in other areas of your business. Get other people involved by being an RPA evangelist and showing them how powerful this technology can be. You can be the hero for your company because you will understand how RPA can be implemented and how it can help increase productivity and efficiency within your company walls.
THE BONUS STEP:
The best way to get all 6 of these steps completed in less time and with less learning hurdles is to consult with an RPA expert or Automation Business Consultant. Make sure they have experience of implementation and not just following a training script. RPA can help a company grow fast if done right so making sure you are working with the right RPA consultant or firm is key to your success.
In the next 5 years, over 70% of businesses will have some sort of RPA solution. Understanding the value now will give you a head start. You’ve heard that saying “Early bird gets the worm”. Well RPA is that “worm” and you have the opportunity to be early.
Never stop learning, never stop growing, Wilton Rogers III