Setting the Tone with Enterprise Automation Using RPA Within the Organization
The Path to Take
What path can you undertake in setting up at Robotic Process Automation (RPA) practice? Who is involved in this selection process? What are the teams involved? Do you go desktop or VM? At what juncture is IT involved? Do you start slow, with smaller POC’s, and build progressively with higher volume processes, or do you jump in fast with major volumes at stake?
Just Google RPA, you’ll get thousands of strategies, frameworks, and methods, on pulling it all together to form a custom approach for your own team. This article will examine a few simple approaches to using RPA in your organization. We will assume you might’ve selected an RPA vendor, and they completed the suitability analysis, Benefits ROI analysis, and designed an RPA road-map; the approach taken on an RPA practice implementation varies from client to client.
Most RPA implementations will be more agile based, smaller volume sets, and mature over time, with huge dividends later on. Using a lower RPA risk model will complement IT, compliance, and audit teams. Other companies will invest heavily in the beginning, as they have researched all the potential avenues to take and are confident with their direction. One must also factor in, who is performing the analysis, delivery, and implementation; Internal or external resourcing, or a hybrid model of both. The last area in RPA creation is to consider: “Where to start your RPA Center of Excellence (COE)?”, “Is the COE necessary for success?”, and “At what stage do you start to build and iterate excellence within the organization?”
Set the Tone
One major question is left to ask and answer prior to any project initiation: “Is our RPA (COE) Center of Excellence/PMO governance framework in place to provide oversight on all projects? The obvious answer should be a resounding “Yes!” Unfortunately, in the current RPA/business automation landscape, many companies are not fully prepared in the beginning stages, but that shouldn’t deter any company from venturing into the RPA space. Some companies can adapt quickly, validate process selections, design POCs, develop, test and build in production for deployment. It is also recommended to measure outcomes of RPA results and perform stage gate reviews/lessons learned to expand the RPA enterprise. The steps below can help your team initiate the RPA program framework:
- RPA Kick-off: have discussions with all business owners, align core business teams with a new RPA/BPA model, and discuss which “potential” business processes fall in scope for RPA work
- Confirm key business stakeholders (each business unit area) to be automated and select one lead from each area
- Identify RPA vendors, conduct demo walk-throughs, select the best RPA tool to fit your environment (or work with the consultant team on site who has experience and will recommend best tools to utilize)
- Identify the resources and augment with specialized vendors as needed; usual best practices are to have a combination but it depends on each company’s capabilities and needs
- Perform a suitability analysis: draft and sign-off on processes selected
- Establish the Project Plan: RACI, time, cost and scope of project deliverables and major milestones (Pre-setup prior to start is vital)
- Testing Environment: Initiating the test environment on test cases, strategy and criteria, unit, end to end and regression, etc.
- Create a COE: Center of Excellence for the RPA/BPA business process automation practice, working in unison with IT infrastructure, PMO/Governance, Compliance/Audit & Risk and the Executive Committee
- Transition to a strategic Governance Model (Internally) upon your COE being developed to monitor the overall RPA program
- Establish the Operations Manual to provide day-to-day activities in RPA roll-outs with IT, Compliance, PMO, Governance, and consulting teams
- Post Production Support: maintenance and initialization of the Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) between a partner (remote or on-site) to maintain the robot’s performance, gain metric data points, manage the control panel to verify any system exceptions or failures, and the backup of data in case of outages