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First steps of RPA implementation

baby steps

Can we use RPA to identify probable RPA candidates?

With the current unprecedented situation in which the whole world is grappled with COVID-19; it is becoming imperative to make use of software robots to automate business processes if organizations want to maintain their service level. Increasingly, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions are used to leverage the digital workforce and transform the way companies do business.

Though more companies come forward and embrace RPA, it is overwhelming to incorporate such change into the fabric of the company. Every company has its own operating model to implement ICT transformations. Similarly, RPA implementation is conducted over multiple phases which can be defined in a typical RPA lifecycle. Typically, companies adopt RPA by performing a POC to check its suitability within their system whereas some initiate RPA after having the Business Process Management (BPM) tools model their business processes.

In either case, the RPA lifecycle begins with the Process assessment phase wherein companies assess them to locate the potential standardized, rule-based, low-exception rate and high-volume activities to automate. This phase of process assessment helps companies to discover their processes and identify any anomalies. However, process mining(PM) technology can be used to perform this task for you. The PM software uses activities event logs produced by applications to generate a business process workflow with different possible variants of that process along with insights into delays and bottlenecks within the process. This drastically reduces the process assessment time which otherwise is time-consuming. Lastly, PM also determines potential observations for RPA. On completion of process assessment, the following phases are similar to any other software development cycle(Plan-Design-Develop-Test-Deploy) followed within the organization.

So rather than being overwhelmed with RPA, let’s make use of Process Mining to discover current business processes and use its insights to identify probable RPA candidates.

Taking good care of a software Robot

handen in het haar

What are the costs for the maintenance of my software robots? And how can I keep them under control?

Just like human employees, software robots need the right care to function properly. These costs can grow extensively, even to the point where they surpass the costs of developing a software robot in a matter of just a few years. At the moment you will find a bunch of diverging experiences regarding these costs: from just €25 a month up to €400 a month. This could easily ruin a positive business case, hence the necessity to control these costs.

Below you will find an overview of the four major affecting factors:

1. Internal or external maintenance:
Maintenance costs can be cut by even 40%, by keeping the job within the company, since third parties generally charge a higher rate. Of course a pre-condition would be that the right skills need to be present, or build, internally.

2. Business needs and desires:
The business needs and wishes must be described in detail and formally dealt with, including all of the exceptions that may appear. This will prevent all sorts of small changes in the future, which are carried out under the label of maintenance.

3. Solution design:
The solution design document determines the solidity of the robot. The style of programming has a great impact on the number of malfunctions, as well as the costs. For this reason, it is good to let a third party check the document as well as the script. For example, the implementation of image recognition is more prone to errors than scripting.

4. Scope of maintenance:
Defining what is and what isn’t maintenance will produce more insights and grip on the expenses. For example by excluding little user-friendly adjustments, interruptions in infrastructure, and errors in other applications. This way, the real maintenance activities will remain, to be controlled and improved by you.

When sticking to these rules, the expenses for a software robot don’t have to be higher than €50 a month. This makes robots way more appealing for doing loads of smaller processes.
In short, if you want to maintain a grip on maintenance costs, apply these

Auteur: Twumi Weterings

Translation by: Sebastiaan