A robot is for life, not just for Christmas.
One of the main reasons why #RPA projects fall down is business’s failure to adequately resource and support live #RPA productions. In robot land, the rule ‘if you build it, you own it’ very much applies.
Humans have the cognitive ability to react and respond to subtle application or environment changes and make the appropriate adjustments to a process to maintain the quality of outcomes. Robots on the other hand do not have cognitive capabilities. For example, a software update may change how information is displayed on a user interface. From a human point of view, the process has not changed. However, this is a physical change in location for inputs and will likely cause a bot to fail. This failure will require #RPA resource and time to fix.
While we’d like to believe most computing environments are responsibly managed quite often they’re not. As much as 30% of an #RPA development teams time can quickly become consumed fixing processes. This is frustrating for both the #RPA development team and the business. When this happens chunks of value can go missing from your #RPA business cases.
Prepare your organisation for robotics:
- Plan to support your #RPA automations ahead of any development activity.
- Set strict criteria for your automation process acceptance criteria e.g. processes that don’t change (often); don’t require bug fixes; stable infrastructure; end-to-end processes not tasks; well documented; excellent change control; and are easy to maintain will cost less to support in a live production environment.
- Redesign non-optimised processes for #RPA before applying #RPA. This is the right thing to do and will ultimately improve the overall benefits and likelihood of your achieving your #IntelligentAutomation business case.
- Build all costs into your overall #RPA business case and determine if you are likely to recover that cost in advance of beginning an #RPA program e.g. infrastructure; development; maintenance; change management; consultancy; development; design, delivery, planning, testing and deployment staff; configurations costs; training costs; governance costs; preventative maintenance costs; software licences; system integrator / consultancy costs; hosting costs; management costs; SME time; preventative maintenance; process mining software; other required software costs (e.g. OCR; bot servicing; hosting, network and disk storage costs); etc.
- Rent or buy process mining software to identify and prioritise automation candidates ordering each by business outcome / value. Then focus on prioritising automation opportunities that deliver maximum business value.
- Look for #RPA solutions that can be implemented quickly (i.e. that don’t require complex integrations with APIs; nor require complex custom scripting; etc). By implementing those first, you will release value faster and provide the quick wins you need to drive momentum and excitement around your #RPA program.
- Establish #RPA KPIs and SLAs for delivering your business returns in advance and get ready to track against them. Use dashboards to visualise them in an appealing way.
- Plan for the cost of a fully resourced RCOE e.g. RPA Lead, Robot Controller, Developers, Analysts, etc. #RPA teams starts off small but can quickly evolve into a fully fledged #RPA Center of Excellence (CoE).
- Get your #IntelligentAutomation program agreed as a top 5 business strategic priority. Ensure your program has executive support before you begin.
- Build an #RPA governance model.
- Communicate your #RPA production environment needs and hold IT accountable for delivering a stable #RPA (ideally cloud computing) environment. Treat #RPA as an enterprise application with a five nines up-time requirement.
- Hold the business accountable and responsible for delivering well documented and well managed process environment. Experience shows that between 40% to 70% of #RPA product resources are spent pre-automation identifying, selecting and capturing the detailed process knowledge required to implement a robot. This time is costly but well spent.
What other costs should businesses consider when buying and installing an #RPA product?
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Note: The views expressed above are my views and not those of my employer.