Robot Process Automation, a.k.a. RPA, has been a game-changer for businesses. It refers to software “bots” capable of automating many of the time-consuming, repetitive, volume-based tasks that every business has to deal with, but which very few (if any) employees like dealing with. RPA can help save money, increase speed and accuracy, and free human employees up to focus on more rewarding, interesting tasks.
But RPA isn’t just an off-the-shelf solution like buying a subscription to Microsoft Office for your workplace. These are bespoke tools that should be designed and implemented especially for the workplace that’s requested them. Crucially, successful deployment of RPA tools should involve a close working relationship between the software vendors and the customers who will be using (and benefiting) from the technology.
Why is it important that both parties are on the same page? Here are some of the most crucial reasons.
Because processes work differently in different workplaces.
Different companies carry out tasks differently. There may be multiple reasons for this, but perhaps the most important is that tasks, even ones that sound similar on paper, may help companies achieve different goals.
RPA vendors must not make assumptions when it comes to which processes are best to follow in order to have the optimal beneficial impact. While this can help inform the process (a customer company might, for instance, be interested to know how you solved a particular problem previously), vendors should approach each fresh RPA creation and deployment process with fresh eyes. They need to understand how an end-to-end process is carried out at a particular organization, so as to help make RPA bots as useful as possible.
This means working closely with key stakeholders (not simply the IT department) to find out how processes are carried out and the challenges that are faced. Bringing experience to bear on a new project is what people expect from an RPA vendor. But that’s not the same as bringing assumptions.
Know what constitutes success
This is an extension of point #1. Processes work differently between companies because the way they measure success changes. RPA vendors must be clear what clients are hoping to gain from an RPA deployment. In some cases, it may be as obvious as freeing up human employees to focus on other, value-added tasks within the organization.
In others, it could be increasing speed, boosting customer satisfaction, reducing errors, boosting compliance, or something else entirely. Knowing what outcomes a customer wants to achieve will help the vendor know what tools to deliver. This will also mean that both parties are on the same page when it comes to measuring outcomes. Speaking of which…
A good salesperson wants to sell. But, if they’re serious about building a business that brings in repeat customers and establishes a good reputation, they’re trying to do something more nuanced than that: Matching the right product with the right customer.
RPA is a powerful tool that can be used in myriad ways to streamline and revolutionize businesses. However, it’s also important not to overpromise. RPA bots are getting smarter and better all the time, but they’re still fundamentally designed to deal with repetitive, high volume software tasks. A bad fit for RPA tools, whether by automating the wrong tasks or simply overpromising on what it can deliver, is going to prove extremely detrimental in the long-run.
A successful RPA vendor can play a key role in managing expectations by identifying the right use-cases for the technology. By working closely with stakeholders in companies, and understanding the processes they carry out, they can ensure that RPA tools don’t just live up to expectations, but exceed them.
It can help make companies more efficient
When the RPA development process is underway, vendors will spend time with organizations better understanding the tasks they are being asked to automate. This will likely be a combination of interviews and conversations with various members of the team, and possibly the use of desktop tools which analyze the tasks carried out by employees to assess which ones may be beneficial to automate. A bit like having an audit carried out, this process may help unearth some inefficiencies and inconsistencies when it comes to the way that companies carry out various processes. These can then be streamlined and optimized as part of the RPA process. Doing this won’t just lead to better bots; it may well lead to considerable savings in time, money, and possibly consistency as well.
In conclusion: The power of RPA
RPA is one of the most transformative new technologies available to modern businesses. However, as with any technology, it’s essential that it is used in the optimal way so as to be maximally effective. By consulting with, and working closely alongside, the right RPA vendor, companies can be guaranteed that they will benefit from Robotic Process Automation. Selecting the right partnership will ensure that all of the above points are addressed correctly — so that you can enjoy everything RPA has to offer.