“Your RPA | Intelligent Automation project will almost certainly fail if you don’t mitigate against these risks right now”​ – Part 6 of 6

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“Your RPA | Intelligent Automation project will almost certainly fail if you don’t mitigate against these risks right now”​ – Part 6 of 6

“Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing!” Warren Buffet

If organisations don’t want their RPA and IA program to fail then they need to plan for, and mitigation against, risk. Part 1 looked at strategic and implementation partner risks.  Part 2 outlined tooling selection, testing and stakeholder buy-in risks. Today we look at people, cultural and financial risks. Part 3 called out people, cultural and financial risks; today we look at expectation and execution risksPart 4 examined expectation and execution risks. Today we look at Scale and Security risk. Part 5 looked at scale and security risks; today’s final series article looks at the most important risk of call i.e. change management risk.

Change Management Risk:

Every aspect of an automation program needs carefully managed and orchestrated. When organisations role out a comprehensive automation program this involves a great deal of change (e.g. IT, risk, CISO, HR strategy, role changes, training, etc.). This level of change needs proper planning and execution so that the business, employees and customers all go on the same journey at the same time. Underestimating the level or disruption or change to business practices or not planning sufficiently will lead to significant program delivery risk. Every aspect of a program must be orchestrated (e.g. strategy, execution, HR, IT, COE, people, customers etc.) to ensure they are aligned and moving in sync.

1. Did not create a comprehensive change management program to go with your automation program.

2. Focused on the technology and forgot about your people.

3. Did not setup a robust governance program to manage the flow and tracing of processes being automated.

“It is important for organisations to clearly differentiate between governance for Intelligent Automation (IA) programs and more conventional system implementations. Insufficient appreciation can result in a myriad of challenges from excessive documentation to irrelevant reviews and signoffs. By employing a lean approach, organisations can accelerate delivery and reduce maintenance overhead whilst maintaining robust controls.

Recommendations include:

  • Rationalising activities (e.g. eliminate duplication of information across documents)
  • Optimising the level at which activities are performed (e.g. program level, opportunity level)
  • Implementing opportunity pathways based on factors such as risk and complexity (e.g. standard, accelerated)

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

Lewis Walker, Intelligent Automation Architect 

“The more defined your overall processes are the better your governance will be.”

Doug Shannon, Automation Expert

4. Business and IT roles not clearly defined – put a RACI in place and have this agreed by everyone before the program starts.

5. Ignored EX or CX: Designed a solution that was perfect for robots but not for the people who needed to run the bots.

“Nothing will frustrate a customer or employee more than automation gone wrong. If you have invested the time in automating the process, make sure it improves the process for the people involved. If the expectation is that the process is new and streamlined and you do not meet that expectation, you are in more trouble than just having an outdated process to begin with.”

Ema Roloff, Digital Transformation Expert

6. Forgot to create a communications plan prior to rolling out your organisations automation program. You then wondered why people felt their jobs were are risk and did not want to engage with the RPA program.

7. Singular focus on FTE headcount reduction – ans: promise no layoffs;

8. No or poor communications program surrounding the role out and expansion of the business automation program.

9. Who monitors the bots, daily logs, solves system, manages robot accounts, fixes application and code errors when bots go live?

“Managing risk needs to include people. The biggest risk to unsuccessful automation deployments is leaving people behind. Man-Machine collaboration not replacement.” 

Janine Gill, Director Intelligent Automation

10. Forgot to govern the program, leaving it to work itself out.

“Mitigate risk by establishing good governance throughout the project lifecycle at pre-defined, regular, checkpoints. Do not assume that because the initial business case stacked up, the metrics will stay static through the project. Makes sure that the business case, that articulates the expected costs, effort, benefit, and stakeholders, is clearly and succinctly documented. This can then be published as a collaborative living document that is easily accessible and referenced at each project milestone. This will give context to the project and the evolving picture when assessing and mitigating risk areas such as cost, timescales, and compliance.”

Mark Barrett, Automation Business Founder and Lead

There are inherent risks in any sizeable technology, transformation or business program. Organisations need to accept and plan for risks so that they can avoid or mitigate them.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 👇

My Expertise: I’m an intelligent automation, data analytics, robotic process automation and digital transformation expert. For the past 25+ years I have been driving business transformation across a range of industries using; common sense, digital technologies, intelligent automation, data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics process automation. This has generated millions of dollars of value. I solve complicated problems others can’t. I am happy to help advise you to support solve your unique business challenges. I am happy to help advise you to support solve your unique business challenges.

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Note: The views expressed above are our views and not those of my employer or the employers of the contributing expert

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