An increasing number of organizations is working on optimizing their processes. And RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is, amongst other things, a great process optimization tool that can facilitate the journey that companies are on. Implementing RPA, however, is a journey onto itself and I believe one of the cornerstones of being successful is ensuring roles and responsibilities have been well defined.
To an extent, the different divisions or departments in large organizations operate in silos, but in my view RPA should always be a cross-functional undertaking. So even if it is just one department that works on RPA – let’s say finance, where the journey often starts – you still need a close co-operation with for example IT. And the more siloed the organization is, the harder it becomes to set up a cross-functional exercise with clear roles and responsibilities defined from the very beginning.
So breaking those barriers within organizations partly comes down to everyone working towards the same goal and the organization being aligned in its purpose and vision for resources required to achieve that. Which is easier said than done, of course, because the targets may differ between the different divisions. But I think these automation undertakings have the potential to bring together the entire company, working towards one goal which should be something that the very top management is committing to for example through an across-the-board transformation program. Having this also enables the company to focus on the roles and responsibilities required to achieve this common goal.
I experienced this years ago at Nokia. The company was excellent at defining roles and responsibilities and at the time I thought every corporation had this. Things change over time, but back in the day all of us knew what each role was and knew the responsibility of that role. This really helped especially in fast-paced project work as it’s incredibly easy to be efficient in an environment where you know exactly where and whom to go to. And as for RPA, it’s so important to have this – the clearly defined roles and responsibilities – if we are to break down those barriers and bring about efficiency and speed to a company’s operations.
In the end, it is all about people and their skills so it’s important for companies to spend time defining roles and responsibilities regardless of what programs they have going on. Additionally, people entering the workforce nowadays already have different expectations, and they will ask questions such as does my role have an automation aspect? Do I get to develop myself/do I get to act as a Citizen Developer and which tools do I get to use? At this point in time I think a lot of organizations are still on the path to embracing these new roles and skillsets on a wider scale. But seeing as automation’s here to stay, these new skills sets should be incorporated into existing roles or new ones created as I believe this will be vital for companies to truly enter the automation era and start taking steps towards becoming fully automated enterprises.
Sanna Koivu is Senior Customer Success Manager at UiPath
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