<p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Robotic Process Automation – Future of Work</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Very recently, Economic times, CIO published that nearly half of all businesses in India will implement robotic process automation (RPA) by 2024, according to a new IDC study commissioned by Automation Anywhere. Triggered by COVID-19, the study further anticipates that RPA adoption rates will increase by 57% in just the next year.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">It is very interesting to read above article by ET, and of course, we need to be ready for the future especially resilience, intellect, and empowerment at scale as top priorities for any organization in the new normal, but the question is that ‘<strong>Are companies prepared for RPA adoption and implementation?’</strong>. This article helps you on how to deal with RPA Strategy. The key tenets that should be considered in building automation strategy and roadmap:</p><ol style="text-align: justify;"><li><strong>Objectives</strong>: The key business levers are:</li></ol><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Process efficiencies– Making the execution of business processes more accurate with zero error rate and significantly reducing the operating cost for carrying out business processes, cutting it down by 50% as compared to traditional costs (cost to implement and maintenance to be considered separately)</li><li>Cycle Time - By applying digital workforce (so called Robots) which can be scaled up or down based on the demand upon your business, and which can work 24*7 reducing the cycle time for carrying out repetitive business processes by 50%-60%</li><li>Labor cost drivers (training requirement, turnover) plays a vital role.</li><li>Empower employees- As RPA is implemented in businesses, it also creates a huge opportunity for business employees to learn new technology skills and serve new roles for e.g., HR business partner can focus on strategic roles to support business or Finance director can support CFO’s for data-based decisions.</li></ul><ol style="text-align: justify;"><li><strong>Guiding Principles:</strong> The key guiding principles are:</li></ol><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Senior leadership: The ‘push’ for RPA should be from leaders across functions and the business units, who needed solutions for ever increasing operational challenges.</li><li>IT Partnership: Early involvement by IT is critical to not only participate in the strategy development, but also establish a base level of governance to ensure success (i.e., infrastructure, security, risk, change control, release/incident management, etc.).</li><li>Change Management: The effort on change management activities to be well planned and executed including timely communications, roles, and responsibilities.</li><li><strong>Scope</strong>: Another important aspect of strategy is to define the scope i.e., what would make sense to automate with robots and what would not, which processes you should start with first and which ones you should deal later. It is not the specific business process that makes it a good candidate for RPA, but rather the characteristics of the process, such as the need for data extraction, enrichment, and validation. Activities requiring integration of multiple screens, as well as self-service inquiry resolution are also suitable for RPA. The key is that RPA is best deployed in a stable environment where no changes to the processes are on the horizon. There are essentially 3 broad categories in the order of preference to automate:</li><li>Priority 1: Structured data and rule-based activities.</li><li>Priority 2: Semi-structured data and complex rule-based activities.</li><li>Priority 3: Unstructured data and cognitive activities</li></ul><ol style="text-align: justify;"><li><strong>Success Factors</strong>: In past few years, we have early adopters who are willing to share their learnings and experiences. The following success factors in common are:</li></ol><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Proof of Concept (POC): Organization should start with small “pilots” to build confidence and momentum. The ideal catchphrase of “start small, THINK BIG” is one of the key factors as this helps to learn and identify early problems and find solutions.</li><li>Emphasis on speed – Implement POCs in the 4–6-week time frame to gain momentum in RPA.</li><li>Establish a dedicated team to help drive the deployment in a consistent and structured fashion.</li><li>Workforce growth – Do not use RPA to eliminate jobs but transition the repetitive and mundane tasks from staff to robots, “free up” capacity to redeploy staff to higher valued tasks. Use the "created" capacity to support business growth needs and improve the customer experience without adding headcount.</li></ul><ol style="text-align: justify;"><li><strong>Right Tool and Technical Approach</strong>: An agile approach to RPA for developing software robots can prove very beneficial for organizations fostering collaboration, cross-functional skills, iterative development, feedback loops and continuous improvement. There are many external vendors who can provide support such as Automation anywhere, UI-Path, Blue Prism, Microsoft tools etc. but you need to assess on technical attributes like application landscape complexity, platform stability, systems scalability, followed by process attributes stability, process variance, standardization, and process model complexity. </li></ol><p style="text-align: justify;"> </p><p style="text-align: justify;"> </p><p style="text-align: justify;"> </p>
KR Expert - Pankaj Gandhi
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