Never before in the history of the world has technology moved as quickly as it does now. The way we work and live is completely different today to what it was five years ago and, undoubtably, will be completely different five years from now.
The technologies of the fourth industrial revolution are as disruptive to this generation as the fax machine and e-mail were to the previous generation – each technological leap fundamentally changing the world around us, and changing how we live and work in that world, says Jenny Olivier, Business Manager: Digital Transformation.
Although adapting to constant change can be challenging, businesses have been forced to do so – and either adapt, or be left behind. And the faster technology changes, the quicker this adaptation needs to be.
One current element of fundamental change is the migration from manual and repetitive people-based processes to streamlined robotic process automation (RPA). Robotics has long been one of the technologies that has caused concern for many workers. Replacing human workers with machines has historically been presented negatively in mainstream media and pop culture, creating misconceptions about what RPA is, and creating a big psychological barrier to entry in businesses.
When done properly, RPA is exceptionally beneficial to both businesses and the employees who work there. When approached and developed as a centre of excellence (COE), RPA becomes deeply embedded in the organisation, and wins hearts and minds with the teams driving adoption and utilisation in current systems and applications – with a forward-thinking view – maximising the benefits of the ever-evolving scope of intelligent automation products.
When RPA implementations don’t position the COE as the focal point for growth, the capacity to build out successful RPA software that is team-driven and scalable becomes difficult. Building internal capacity, supported by extensive/deep analytics and business intelligence, means RPA is not about job losses, but becomes about job enhancement. A successful COE is a critical factor in building a robust RPA programme that will show significant returns.
There are several key areas that need to be considered when initially establishing a COE. While the steps related to this may seem time-consuming and overly comprehensive, the return in later months and years is definitely worth this initial investment. Our five recommended areas of focus include:
- Before any other considerations, an RPA team with well-defined roles and responsibilities needs to be established. This team will be central to any RPA initiatives, and therefore needs to be fully accountable – and responsible – for implementing and managing automation within the business. The team needs to be as effective as possible, and able to work together to deploy automation as quickly and efficiently as possible. Ideally, the team should consist of a business sponsor, change manager, solution architect(s) and bot developers. A support team that enables these individuals is definitely recommended for large-scale deployments. Ultimately, these will be the go-to people across the organisation, and will ensure that all future automation complies with standards, procedures, business metrics and all other related business goals – ensuring that, above all, value is delivered to the business.
- Driving the agenda and adoption of automation across the business is critical to success, which is why an RPA COE Council is vital. This steering committee will align business objectives and expectations and drive automation consistently throughout the business.
- Without collaboration and support across all other business units or departments, the integration of automation into any business will be problematic. By ensuring there is an effective governance model in place before deploying any automation, employees will always know where they fit into the bigger picture – and where they can ultimately contribute to the success of the business.
- While governance tells you where employees fit into the scheme of things, proactively managing the organisational change around RPA deployment is highly important to ensure they know how they fit in. In any RPA implementation, the hearts and minds of the employees are the most important – and most-overlooked – element. Without buy-in and understanding, the historical concerns of “robots replacing humans” can spiral out of control and undermine any RPA deployment.
- While RPA is adaptive, intuitive and configurable at an individual employee level, buy-in from IT and other internal service-related businesses is also an important consideration. Ultimately, they are responsible for areas outside of the control of RPA, but still play a role in ongoing support (such as infrastructure, security and compliance). As part of the internal change management processes, always include key business units and functions and ensure they are onboard.
The comprehensive Decision Inc. RPA service offering considers all of the above – with a managed service as part and parcel of our deployments. With our advanced analytics, superior business intelligence analysis and COE implementation approach for RPA, Decision Inc. is your partner in growth – enabling you to make better decisions, faster, with your internal teams driving the ongoing development, scale and flexibility of your business in challenging economies.
To find out more, see our RPA services