The speed with which Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is developing is astonishing. When I look back on projects I did just a few year ago it seems like a different world. But part of the lessons we learnt in implementing RPA then, still hold true today. What remains unchanged as well is the enthusiasm of people when they realize how these software robots can help them in their day-to-day tasks.
Introducing robots and automation is actually a lot like anything new, it can be a little bit scary, and it needs a lot of change management. So, it is always important to convince people and show them the benefits of RPA. And of course, make RPA fun – because it is!
A scalable Automation Journey should combine a top-down and a bottom-up approach. So whilst it is vital to obtain executive buy-in through for example a transformation program it is also OK to start small and grow from the bottom up. Start by finding use cases, and then start connecting the dots. It does not have to be a daunting undertaking.
It is all about people: ask them within certain parameters to think about what they in their job would like to automate. Once the wheels start turning people come up with ideas. I did projects in which we expected maybe two or three ideas, but every single meeting we left with 20 or 30 ideas. And based on those ideas you can identify candidates for automation. At the same time it is also about Automation being embedded in the company strategy. It has to be a priority for the organization and the Automation Journey should be part of a bigger picture.
One of the important things is to define the Automation Operating Model really well. Because through that you will be able to outline for example the roles and the responsibilities that are required. And people are much more accepting of new things when they know how it affects them directly. What is their role? Which skill set does it require? How much of your time will this take? And what will it bring to you?
Eventually projects like these have the potential to lead to the fully automated enterprise. When you have your executive buy in and start with clear plans and a vision for the journey in which you will go on to create robust automations you will have the building blocks that can be combined on a single automation platform, instead of separate bits and pieces.
And on the way to the fully automated enterprise, celebrate all the successes to get people on board. Because you are going to be running into technical and process issues. By celebrating every bit of success (virtually nowadays!) you are bringing people together, and they are being reminded of the fact that they are going in the right direction. It is so easy to forget that when you are busy with the everyday stuff. But although we are talking about technology, it is the people that matter.
Sanna Koivu is Senior Customer Success Manager at UiPath