Many organisations embark on transformation journeys with a shift in technology as a key reason. Often, they struggle with legacy applications that inhibit business agility and prevent them from harnessing the next generation of integrated, secure, flexible and user-friendly applications and systems with a transformation initiative seen as a way of getting out of this roadblock.
However, business transformation should be based on clearly defined business goals and benefits to your clients, your staff and your bottom line. A key stumbling block when embarking on a such a business change is really understanding how your business runs now:
- Is it effective?
- Is it efficient?
- Is it repeatable:
- Is it documented?
- Do your staff understand the processes?
Answering the above questions typically leads to more questions and/or time spent going back to basics with mapping processes, documenting and developing artefacts with a group of great business analysts or undertaking a larger project on Business Process Management. If this process is not contained it can quickly become very expensive with lengthy cycles before tangible benefits are realised.
Enter robotic process automation (RPA) as a solution to address this time-consuming process and moving the organisation quickly to a known and improved position. RPA is pitched as a solution to streamline processes, increase productivity and ultimately improve the bottom-line of your business typically using artificial intelligence to handle repetitive, rules-based, administrative tasks
RPA represents the convergence of multiple technologies within a consumer-friendly user interface. Advances in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have enabled RPA to leap forward from its first emergence 20 years ago. RPA has the capability to deliver automation in a fraction of the time traditional automation approaches required, and execute in any environment and across any application, anywhere. RPA bots can be implemented quickly, scale on demand, and keep working at 100% capacity non-stop, unlike a human based manual process which at best deliver 6 full hours per day. Add cognitive automation, and your digital workforce can handle even complex unstructured information to automate any business process from end to end.
RPA involves developing integration scripts that consume information in and out of other systems allowing extensible automation routines to replicate several manual tasks. These are easy to build; however, they are not equivalent to humans, who can interpret and adapt as needed. Customers should not confuse the cost of an employee and the cost of a set of integration scripts. Reduction of head count rarely happens, because employees are normally refocused toward more value-adding work, that should provide additional business benefit.
There are three (3) dimensions of RPA tools and all tools can be categorised by the functionality they provide in these three (3) dimensions:
In essence the value for money comes from the product selected not just on price and functionality but ease of use, quick return on investment and the relationship derived from the supplier.
The diagram below from Deloitte highlights a quick snapshot of what robotic process automation can and can’t do.
Business transformation programs of work are large undertakings regardless of your size as resources are stretched, time frames are key, impacts on staff and clients with regards to change can be highly disruptive and a real return on investment must be realised.
RPA should be considered in the context of but one part of the overall transformation journey in ensuring the starting position is understood, baselined and repeatable. The key benefits displayed below are achievable only through a mindset of seeking to constantly improve your business efficiency, effectiveness and return on investment.
MOQdigital works with numerous clients across a wide range of industries to help prepare their business for digital transformation, setting the strategic intent, developing the costed program of work and guiding the implementation through to completion with proven governance and change management disciplines. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help your organisation contact MOQdigital today.