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Strategic RPA Trends – How Leaders Can Keep Up

Today, RPA has become a strategic priority for businesses across the globe – with adoption permeating nearly every industry, more organizations are reaping its benefits than ever. According to the annual RPA Census, which surveyed over 500 business and technology leaders, the visions these companies are working towards range from scaling bot deployments, to citizen development, to AI integration and much more.

With the technology reaching new levels of maturity, there are several lessons executives can learn and keep in mind throughout their digital journeys so they can remain competitive in the age of hyperautomation. Let’s examine some of the top priorities we’ve seen accelerating in the RPA space so far in FY22.

The Era of the Chief Automation Officer

With industry experts attesting to the importance of a holistic approach when planning RPA projects, there is a clear need for C-Suite buy-in of these initiatives as well as the strategic alignment of IT and business goals. In other words, in order for RPA projects to be successful, the “automation mindset” must be represented among your executive team. Enter the Chief Automation Officer.

In the past, businesses implementing automation typically had their RPA projects operating under the IT department. This can be problematic for two reasons: First, most IT workers have never been formally trained in RPA. Second, it can quickly become difficult for these employees to give the company’s automation program the time and attention it requires when they still have their full-time IT job to perform; they would need to relieve some of their daily functions to devote more energy towards RPA projects in order to begin seeing any real business value. We have seen this in nearly every industry: successful implementation requires all units of an organization reporting to one person that owns automation for the whole business. This calls for a strategic leader to bridge the gap between IT and business goals to maximize the use of automation technology.

A record number of organizations have recently added the role of Chief Automation Officer to their leadership teams; we expect this trend to continue as more businesses institutionalize automation as a part of regular operations. The Chief Automation Officer of your organization will be responsible for developing and executing Enterprise-scale digital transformation strategy. With a thorough grasp of the capabilities and scope of automation technology, the Chief Automation Officer can enable seamless digital transformation while providing a comprehensive view of how process automation is impacting the business as a whole.

Click here to hear a few words from Accelirate CAO Ahmed Zaidi about his approach toward automation projects.>

When Bots Need Backup

With automation having proven its value in the modern enterprise, curiosity has shifted towards meeting the various challenges companies face when deploying and scaling their automations. Automation errors, delays, scheduling issues, and necessary maintenance and repairs, if not taken into account early on, can become some of the most vexing issues for companies trying to scale RPA. These problems are not unique, but if left unchecked they could easily lead to costly failures, downtime, and lost resources – especially as an organization grows more dependent on the digital workforce. Establishing automation support through a Robotic Operations Center (ROC) is going to become essential for the organizations that want to surmount these challenges. A ROC provides dedicated support services such as bot monitoring and health checks, incident and change management, process improvement, and reporting dashboards that show critical real-time metrics including bot run schedules, transaction volumes, and bot utilization. By covering these key areas, ROC support provides enterprises with the insurance they need for high availability, reduced risk of failure, prompt issue resolution, and maximized uptime, keeping the business resilient and ensuring it takes full advantage of each bot license.

Bot monitoring, maintenance, and support have helped strengthen the automation programs of several of our clients, namely a global law firm, a financial services institution, and a large oil and gas company – read our Power of a ROC White Paper to learn more.

As automation becomes ubiquitous across industries, so will bot monitoring and support. It is imperative that leaders determine which coverage model best suits their program and begin protecting their bot fleet now. We recommend choosing a program that offers both support and monitoring to keep your automations continuously performing at their highest output.

To learn more about how enterprises are strengthening their automation programs with ROC support, check out our webinar with Accelirate CRO Matt Gallo and our very own ROC team.

The Strategic RPA Roadmap

As enterprises see their automation programs reach a mature state, these businesses will inevitably start to move away from automating for immediate benefits and begin planning automation initiatives with more strategic benefits in mind.

What does this look like? When an organization first begins using RPA, they tend to focus on automating the low-hanging fruit: processes that are time-consuming, costly, high-volume, and extremely laborious, with the main goal being to boost productivity and slash operational costs. Once these processes have been automated and employees have shifted their focus to work that calls for human subjectivity, the enterprise can stop thinking in terms of automation quick wins and start planning how to apply the technology for long-term benefits. Such transformation requires business leaders to establish a roadmap for strategic RPA initiatives over the span of several months or years, depending on project scope, complexity, and projected business value.

Business Process Mining and Process Discovery tools are rapidly emerging as the most effective mechanisms for achieving this transformation. By collecting and visualizing process data to improve processes, identify candidates for automation, and fine-tune existing automated processes, business process mining is quickly becoming necessary for achieving transformative, long-term business benefits with RPA. This power of process mining is made even more powerful when paired with a process discovery program: trained and certified business analysts will measure expected KPIs prior to development and map out criteria such as ease of implementation, feasibility, and expected development time, enabling leaders to better determine which automations should be prioritized in their strategic roadmap while helping build a steady pipeline of potential processes well into the future.

With process mining currently seeing triple digit growth, trends point towards adoption continuing to soar as the technology proves its value across industries.

As a leader, the future success of your organization’s RPA program ultimately depends on the investments and decisions you make today. With Forrester predicting the RPA market will have reached $23 billion by 2023, it is clear that RPA adoption isn’t slowing down. The real winners of the automation era will be those with well-prepared and strategic leaders who fully embrace the automation mindset and have institutionalized it within their organizations.