As Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has grown in popularity, the marketing messages from the industry increasingly push the ease of RPA and the dramatic results you will achieve. What is often overlooked is how the right expertise can help establish a smart automation framework at the outset and successfully push through the obstacles that crop up along the way.
More than any other element, having the right expertise can be the difference between success and failure. Here’s why. The promise of low-code/no-code and citizen development is convenient for low-level business processes, but automating these types of processes doesn’t carry the operational and financial lift for which RPA is known. Automating those complex, business-impacting processes is not easy. It requires personnel who are familiar with your business, your processes, AND automation (allows us to clarify, not knowledge of RPA software, but knowledge of automation itself.) This is why it’s so difficult to make the right hires to support the program. Fresh faces know automation, but lack familiarity of your business processes. Internal subject matter experts lack the RPA expertise, but know business processes like the back of their hand. RPA experts are proficient with the software, but not with the fundamentals of automation as a whole.
The fallout of hiring the wrong team, or failing the establish synergy with the existing team, has caused many companies to become disenchanted with RPA. Every RPA initiative needs the following roles in addition to senior-level support within the RPA Center of Excellence:
- Business analysts – Business analysts serve two purposes in RPA: 1) Verifying that processes are automation-ready and 2) Ensuring processes are properly documented and built. A crucial step in the planning phase is determining automation readiness of business processes. Business analysts can make process improvement recommendations or refactor processes to make them easier to automate. In the build phase, having solid procedural documentation can help engineers build and implement robots faster.
- RPA technologists – These engineers typically carry RPA software certifications proving they have a wealth of knowledge specific to a certain platform. Their experience in a specific software can be beneficial in implementing robots quicker and with greater quality. On the other hand, platform-specific automation knowledge can be so narrow that they are unable to guide the program as a whole.
- Automation specialists – Automation specialists have demonstrated experience in automation that is not specific to any platform. This is a really important distinction, as broad knowledge of automation is necessary to infusing the program with best practices, developing a solid architecture, and establishing a repeatable robot framework. Automation specialists have the experience to develop an overarching automation strategy that will minimize costly failures and drive the program to maturity successfully.
Automation experience that is not platform-specific is especially crucial for the program’s overall success. It has been said many times by RPA experts and industry analysts alike, it’s not what you use to build the robots, it’s how the robots are built. The industry term for this concept is ‘automation-first mindset’, which represents an organizational shift in how you approach problem-solving with automation. Regardless of the software used, your RPA initiative must be driven by guiding principles for quality, consistency, repeatability, and scalability. As with any skilled profession, this is knowledge that only comes with repeated experience.
This is why RPA-as-a-Service can be a lifeline for clients struggling to get started, or a catalyst for clients with stalled implementations. Here at HPA, we know the risk and the costly learning curve associated with taking RPA in-house because we took that on ourselves over 10 years ago. Today, we live and breathe robots. It’s our full-time job to not only build scalable automation solutions for clients, but to continually optimize our approach to drive greater quality, consistency, and repeatability. If you’re not seeing the results you expected from RPA, put our automation experts to the test. We’re ready to help.