I have been blessed to have two children. The eldest is 4 years old now, and especially with him in the beginning, the ride was bumpy from a parent perspective. We wished he came with a user manual, but apparently they don’t. There was a lot of questions and uncertainties, trial and error, growth pains. With time and experience, we became more confident and comfortable about being parents.
Although on a less intense scale, the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) journey shares some of the same discomforts a parent goes through. Marvin was our first-born robot child. He’s now 2 years old, and his human colleagues refer to him by his name. He is an established team player and has an oddly human vibe. As you are reading this, Marvin has performed over 46000 automated transactions. He’s very efficient handling the process mundane tasks that require repetitive data manipulation.
Today, Marvin has many robot siblings: Darwin, Duracell, Ratchet… A growing family of more than 30 robots.
In DNA, we are now comfortable with robotic process automation. We have learnt valuable lessons and are past the most turbulent times. For the people out there wishing for a user manual, I am afraid you will have to write your own. Each journey is unique to its parent company. There are however some general tips I can offer, that worked for us and might be applicable for you:
- Start small, prove the concept first then gradually ramp up an RPA team within your organization. The bigger the organization, the more natural it is for IT to be in charge of robotic process automation and its implementation across different business functions.
- Business functions with most exposure to automation are the most advanced in understanding its value and deploying it. Make sure to preach it as efficiently as possible throughout the organization. Championing RPA is vital to maintain momentum.
- Make it fun and personal. Involve your key employees in the planning and development and give them the opportunity to name their robots. A small gesture that boosts commitment and motivation.
- Partner up LEAN efforts with robots for best results. Map your processes and brainstorm the different approaches to eliminate the bottlenecks. Automation is just one of many tools in the toolbox. Automating a dumb process will not make it smarter.
- Standardize your automation assessment process. Help your process owners by working out a business case template. Make sure each robot is worth developing.
- No jobs will be lost. IT transformations and customer projects will make sure people remain busy. Robotic process automation will simply enable shifting resources’ focus on what is more critical.
For most organizations, Robotic Process Automation is usually the first step on the automation ladder. The hype stage is over, and it’s a mature and proven technology. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest that you take that leap of faith and start your automation journey. It might be uncomfortable at times, but it will for sure be a fun ride. The train is not waiting!
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