Common problems when implementing RPA automation

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Common problems when implementing RPA automation


By
Josh Painter

This blog is the third in a series on how to make Blue Prism robotic process automation (RPA) software effective for business transformation. Check out part 1 on about how to select the best processes for RPA intelligent automation here and part 2 on the Robotic Operating Model (ROM) here. This post will focus on common problems when implementing RPA automation.

Using the ROM to help you scale

After selecting the right processes you’re going to automate, and setting up the Robotic Operating Model (ROM), there’s usually some hurdles in getting your RPA automation implemented at scale. According to a Deloitte global RPA survey from 2018, only 3% of organizations that had implemented RPA had been able to scale RPA successfully. There’s many reasons why it’s challenging to scale RPA automations, however, you can overcome most through ROM governance planning. Read up on the ROM in my part 2 blog post here.

Proper planning

One of the biggest problems with implementing RPA intelligent automation is picking the correct processes to get the best return on investment (ROI). Choosing processes that are primed for RPA automation should not be taken lightly and proper vetting from the RPA team, department management, IT staff, and possibly the compliance team is key. Everyone with a stake in the processes needs to have a voice to make sure all concerns are considered. This will ensure questions and buy-in happen early to bring the best RPA solution to production.

Additionally, getting an RPA process pipeline set up for future deployments is essential. By having a pipeline of potential RPA cases set up early makes it is easier to categorize between good processes for immediate development, processes that need redesign before automation, or processes that need to be dropped completely.

Proper development

Being able to complete your automation development in a timely way is only part of the RPA journey. The development of your intelligent automation needs to work with RPA best practices, brought by someone like a certified implementation partner, to make sure the solutions are both efficient and robust. This includes best practices like proper retry loops, exception handling, and workflow management.

Another part of the RPA automation process that’s essential during development is testing. There needs to be full testing of all good and bad potential situations to make sure the process is handling every situation effectively. There also needs to be side by side testing of the process so your business can verify that the process is working correctly. This testing process can take as long as needed, but is typically a minimum of 3-5 days of production work. By taking the time to do this testing, you’ll lower risk and build trust with the process owners.

Proper scheduling

Another common problem when implementing RPA automation is making sure you properly schedule all completed processes. They should be scheduled to run automatically to ensure tasks are completed as needed. This may mean determining when the process needs to run, how many digital workers (aka software robots) should be working on the process, and if RPA resources can be shared between processes on a regular basis. These are usually determined by the developer early in the process and should be confirmed by the business.

Putting the right people on the team

The team your company puts in place for implementing your RPA automation may be the biggest factor for success. The employees you pick to lead and manage the digital transformation of RPA will provide the proper planning, development, and scheduling to make it successful. It’s a good idea to get a mixture of experience; project planning, technology, and process operations employees can all provide different and valuable expertise. These people will also need to use existing relationships in your company and get support from others to help develop your RPA processes.

This concludes part 3 of this blog series. Stay tuned for part 4 to learn how businesses should approach handling exceptions after the RPA process.

About the author

Growing up in Colorado, Josh enjoys spending his free time in the mountains and traveling to new locations with his family. Throughout his career, he’s always been involved with reviewing business processes and notes how fulfilling it is to be able to help automate these business processes to make work easier. Read more of Josh’s blogs here.

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