Comment by Heinz Wietfeld, Hyland How RPA works-10 tips
15.06.2021 Author /
Mr Heinz Wietfeld
/ Nico Litzel
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is becoming an increasingly important aspect of companies ‘ digitization initiatives. The Intelligent Automation Study 2020 by Deloitte shows that the market for RPA and intelligent automation solutions is developing dynamically and growing at an average rate of 40.6 percent. The companies surveyed see the main advantages of intelligent software solutions in cost reductions, increased productivity, increased precision of the process sequences and an improved customer experience.
Companies on the topic
The author: Heinz Wietfeld is Regional Manager at Hyland
RPA is particularly suitable for automating high-volume, manual and repetitive processes in which human involvement does not add value, e.g. when transferring data from one system to another. As part of a larger information management strategy and in combination with other intelligent automation capabilities, RPA helps organizations effectively manage and optimize digital workflows.
But what is there to consider in the successful planning and implementation of RPA?
1. Define needs: Individual solutions or full-service providers?
In the first step, companies should be clear about the extent to which their business processes should be automated. Are there few high-priority tasks or do you want to automate a variety of processes across multiple business units? Is a standard solution sufficient – or does it require a tailor-made solution? If the automation requirements are rather simple, implementing an off-the-shelf RPA tool can be the right choice. The same applies to the upscaling of simple processes.
However, if more complex processes are to be addressed, companies need not only a more robust RPA tool, but also a partner with a holistic automation approach and experience in supporting companies in process automation. Here it is advisable to choose a provider that not only offers a comprehensive suite of end-to-end automation tools-from process analysis to bot management-but also expert advice.
If companies plan to rely on in-house automation in the future, it is particularly important that the RPA provider provides intuitive software to automate processes independently-with a simple deployment structure without extensive coding and customizing.
2. Expand RPA: Check integrations and complementary features
RPA does not operate in a vacuum. Most RPA implementations involve other systems from the beginning or are intended to be extended to other departments and processes over time. Therefore, when selecting the RPA platform, it is important to consider integration possibilities with existing and future systems right at the beginning and with regard to the automation goals.
In addition, the value of RPA can often be further increased by additional functions. Intelligent automation technologies, e.g. for data acquisition or customer communications management (CCM), enable not only more comprehensive process automation, but also a significant improvement in the user and customer experience.
3. Prioritize user experience
Since RPA is usually considered an autonomous technology, companies often overlook the importance of user experience. However, complicated user interfaces can delay the implementation of new software bots and affect acceptance of RPA.
The RPA user experience should not be limited to monitoring bots and processes. At best, RPA platforms provide intuitive interfaces for process documentation, automation design, and advanced reporting and analytics to facilitate management.
4. Consider total cost
When investing in RPA, it is important to keep in mind the total cost of ownership (TCO). In addition to the cost of the technology, this includes expenses for the infrastructure set-up, integrations, consulting, maintenance and training. It should also be checked whether the bots can be used flexibly for different types of tasks. This allows maximum utilization, shorter bot downtime and the use of a smaller number of bots, which in turn reduces the license costs for the software bots themselves but also for the third-party software used.
5. Scalability: think big
To get started with automation, companies often start with small processes for cost reasons. However, if the returns are very low or absent, the disappointment is often great – the” magic ” of RPA fades and the technology is not attested to success too quickly. In order to exploit the full potential of RPA, managers should therefore think about company-wide automation of processes right from the start: Does the provider have the infrastructure to implement RPA company-wide? Which processes are suitable, which can be scaled best? How does the scalability of software robots work? To make the most of economies of scale, it is important that companies have the ability to easily scale and centrally manage their solution with their RPA tool.
6. Observe data security and compliance
By reducing human contact with sensitive data, RPA can help reduce security risks and improve compliance with privacy policies such as GDPR. However, the prerequisite is that the RPA software itself is secure. Poorly designed software can lead to data leaks and vulnerabilities.
Companies should rely on a vendor that follows a rigorous methodology for the development lifecycle. Some vendors also invest in external security testing and certification and offer dedicated solutions and best practices to help them comply with industry-specific regulations.
7. Prepare teams properly
RPA training offerings, such as video tutorials and hands-on training, help teams prepare for implementation and quickly familiarize themselves with RPA solutions. With the appropriate knowledge and skills, you can then automate processes independently. Some RPA providers also offer free courses and training materials, as well as community forums for user exchange.
8. Combine RPA with Artificial Intelligence
Self-learning bots are the future of RPA. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI), especially machine learning, ensures that systems learn from previous decisions in order to independently process rule-based processes. Vendors that integrate smart technologies can cover a wider range of business needs and minimize maintenance for bots.
9. Evaluate RPA as part of a comprehensive information management platform
RPA providers range from generic platform providers to specialized providers that offer both RPA and additional functionality for specific use cases. The focus on your own specific business requirements as well as on existing or planned IT investments helps to provide orientation.
Since RPA addresses data-centric processes, it can create significant added value, especially in the area of content and process management. Modern enterprise content management (ECM) and content services platforms offer RPA along with other key features for managing content and processes. In this environment, providers that offer RPA as part of their intelligent automation stack and combine software bots with robust workflow automation tools and additional functions are particularly interesting.
Specialized RPA vendors that bring not only expertise across the information lifecycle, but also specific industry knowledge, such as insurance, and provide specialized industry and departmental solutions, enable faster access to end – to-end automation and enterprise-wide scalability. If an ECM or content services platform is already in use, it may be worthwhile to re-evaluate it in terms of automation capabilities.
10. Consider the impact of RPA on teams
Potential effects of RPA use on the workforce should be addressed to strengthen acceptance: with RPA, the processing of high-volume, monotonous, manual processes is eliminated. This enables employees to focus on higher-value tasks, deliver better service and offers opportunities for professional growth.
In the event that the use of RPA could have an impact on team strength, this should be addressed in the planning process. In doing so, managers, the management team and the HR department should work together to evaluate and minimize possible impacts on the respective teams.
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