The second RPA blog in a series of three. 

What is RPA typically used for? 

RPA allows businesses to automate a recurring, manual process so that building and maintaining the process is easy and cost-effective. Processes that are repetitive, predictive, rule-based, have low exception rates and high volumes and that are mature or stable are best suited for RPA consideration. 

At a basic level, RPA can be used for manual processes such as “copy and paste” functionality, filling in data to populate a spreadsheet or running reports to post in a shared drive. Most likely, almost every department has tasks they do daily that require this basic functionality. Therefore, looking at deploying RPA pervasively throughout an organization is optimal. You need to know where and when to automate for immediate success. Where are the most labor-intensive processes in your organization?

Typical use cases for starting RPA projects include finance, accounts payable, customer or employee onboarding, insurance claims, processing loans and higher education transcripts and managing mailrooms, among others. Most organizations with a high-volume of high-value documents that are used in repetitive processes are prime candidates for using an intelligent capture solution that feeds into an RPA solution. A process must be completely electronic in order to implement an RPA solution. Therefore, if the process is not entirely electronic, other technology solutions may be required for true automation.  

Perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis

Once you have gathered data from your sources, potential software partners and expert opinions from within your organization; create a comparison of what each solution can do and how it would integrate with existing technology. While costs are important, look for a software that is scalable as your organization grows. Comparing the labor and time savings of digital workers to human workers will give you the best metrics. Another consideration is that your RPA tool can run 24 hours per day versus human labor that works only 8 hours per day, so depending on your needs, you can already get 3 times more hours with robots. 

Now that you have found the perfect enterprise process to prototype RPA technology and the software that best fits the needs of your organization, present the results to your sponsor. Anticipate questions about immediate and long-term cost savings over one year, three years and five years. Indicate what other costs might be associated with the implementation such as related computer hardware, if any. 

Quantify the investment of the software versus the anticipated savings of expenses related to manpower, space and managing paper documents. Provide details on how documents will be accessed if processed through automation. Discuss how testing and changes will be communicated to all stakeholders currently working within the impacted business units. Change management will be an important consideration in recruiting allies for the successful digital transformation of your business.

Employ RPA for a Quick Win that Demonstrates Results

Once your sponsor has given the green light and your team has scheduled implementation with your software vendor and development team, move forward with the testing. You or your team will need to set aside time to be hands-on in this process. It may be helpful to be physically present at the location where the processes take place to supervise the transition and answer questions. Measure the results of the test and keep your sponsor updated. If or when processes or results do not proceed as anticipated, record the lessons learned for future implementations. Update existing workflows and documentation for approval and inclusion in company SOPs.

As you explore implementing your RPA, you’ll learn that there can be multiple automations on one robot (machine). Therefore, you are not limited to one process in your testing. 

Stay tuned for our next blog on RPA: How to Plan for ROI and the Future of RPA.