RPA
Pearls in Oyster oyster-5006336_1920.jpg Image by Briam Cute from Pixabay oyster-5006336_1920.jpg

Opportunity: Use RPA to Help You Save Money

 

Opportunity: Use RPA to Help You Save Money

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) can reduce your labor costs as well as help you gather data that you’ll use to control other costs.

Your Investment: Internal labor up front and after deployment; Projects typically run 6+ months. Revisions follow,  as the underlying processes and the screens in the business systems change. Small projects often draw on IT or business units for developers, tech writers, and project managers. Large RPA projects  require a Center of Excellence/Strike Team, and, often, outside consultants.

Other costs include training, software licenses or cloud services fees, and management attention.

Benefits:

Reduced labor; faster cycle times, and improved customer service. Depending on the processes, you may also gain new insights into your business.

Actions:

Start by identifying the processes with the highest labor costs or the greatest savings. For example, automating the vendor and product research done by Procurement saves labor. It can uncover more competitive deals and more reliable suppliers. Automating sales-call preparation and confirming meetings with prospects can make your  salespeople more productive.

Assemble the documentation for the process you’ve chosen, and ensure it is current.

Appoint a project leader. Also involve the people who will be affected the most by the process changes. Enlist an IT liaison. Business units typically contribute experts in how the task is currently done. In the smallest projects, these experts may double as developers and project leads.

See if prepackaged automations exist before creating your own. Their availability may influence which software vendor you select. In small projects, savvy workers may be able to automate simple tasks done by an individual or a small team, even using a free “community” version of the RPA software.

Longstanding RPA implementations that used to require on-premise software and servers can now benefit from more scalable and competitively-priced cloud services than were available in the past.

Avoid: Avoid overwhelming your RPA team all at first. Choose simple processes with rapid and significant ROI. Avoid scaling up too abruptly, so you can correct any problems that surface. Also because workers may still be reeling from the recent changes the pandemic and its aftermath have brought about.

Research:  Automate the processes that are the most likely to remain a part of your business for at least 2-3 years. Seek out employees with practical knowledge of those processes as they may already know what to fix.

Establish metrics for your business case so you can track your progress. Select RPA tools that automatically track those same criteria. If the RPA analytics can’t automatically track the ROI and success metrics, either: 1. Revise your criteria or 2. Choose different tools with the analytics and dashboards you’ll need.

Some RPA projects focus narrowly on known pain points and broken processes. Others do process mining to prioritize which, among thousands of tasks and processes, they will automate.

Vendor Selection:

Pilot a few small automations with software from two or three different vendors to get a feel for the different approaches. Vendors such as Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and UiPath license their software at no cost for time-limited trials, education, or small scale implementations.

Analyst: Ken Weilerstein

Disclosure

The views and opinions in this analysis are my own and do not represent positions or opinions of The Analyst Syndicate. Read more on the Disclosure Policy.