About Beniva’s Automation Practice
Beniva’s robotic process automation practice provides consulting and delivery services to help leaders achieve greater success with digital transformation programs. Our core expertise centers on UiPath and Microsoft technologies and we approach the work from a business outcome perspective. Companies trust Beniva because of our expertise in process design, depth of platform knowledge, and ability to solve more complex automation challenges.
RPA: Some strategy required.
Craig Elies – RPA Practice Lead
Estimated read time: ~5 mins
The core challenge – alignment on expectations and goals.
Adoption of any new technology is challenging. Conflicting points of view emerge regarding how to generate value through the use of digital. On the one hand, IT teams are wary of new technology, feeling the pain and reputation damage of failed/challenged projects that started with excitement for hyped and often over-promised software. In large enterprises, the problem is compounded, due to an abundance of existing technology (under-utilized?), putting IT departments in a position where they have to promote and prioritize existing platforms and architecture standards over new investment in order to manage operational costs. Business leaders, by contrast, are continually looking for new ways to improve the bottom line. Seeking new and improved methods and tools to close process gaps, improve productivity and avoid costly hiring – with the goals of remaining competitive and creating value for stakeholders.
RPA platforms land right at the heart of this challenge. RPA technology is rapid to deploy and user-friendly, with most platforms allowing people without any technical experience (and without going through their IT department) to download the software and create basic automations. This has broad appeal to leaders who want to support staff and encourage the type of innovation that leads to greater productivity. However, the leaders of enterprise functions, including enabling/shared services teams are often conflicted and uneasy about what it means to have software robots running processes. (Legitimate) Concerns arise around visibility, access, controls, support, and management of the RPA environment and software bots.
Legacy approaches do not work for RPA.
For RPA programs to be successful, the starting point has to be recognition that this type of platform is different from other software. Having a single sponsor to promote RPA initially, will go a long way to getting it started, but, ultimately, alignment and push from multiple stakeholders and leadership will be required to transform how work is done and to capture enduring value. Additionally, for IT, the traditional support model is usually insufficient. Software bots executing critical, time-sensitive work need to be monitored and supported. Structure, documentation, and process are required to ensure changes & fixes can be made without disrupting operations this will often lead to the adoption of DevOps practices which many IT operations teams are not set up for.
Key gaps in strategy lead to failure.
While the focus is needed on ensuring the right technology is selected – this cannot be the only consideration. When companies struggle to achieve the value promises of RPA the tendency is to blame the platform, however, often the issues have little to do with the technology. We observe the following root causes:
Not building momentum.
Keeping a healthy automation pipeline (demand list) is essential to keep the momentum in any RPA Practice. Reviewing and communicating successes, is a compelling way to increase buy-in and visibility throughout the organization, this, in turn, will drive new demand.
(Lack of) leadership support
Leadership support is critical to driving adoption, support transformation, and refocus efforts once some of the tedious, repetitive work is off their plate. Leaders play an important role in communicating and educating staff on what expectations are and the criteria to be used what types of processes and/or tasks should be considered for RPA. However, leaders should also support and listen to staff about any concerns or risks to the organization that may result through automating a process – some processes should not be automated owing to either the risks and/or the lack of benefit relative to effort. Open dialogue between staff and leaders on expectations is key to success here.
Organizational structure and governance
Governance with clearly defined roles and responsibilities ensures the RPA practice knows what to do and how to do it. Therefore, all RPA practices should create a structure to provide this clarity.
Budgeting and funding automation is very situation dependant and should be considered carefully to ensure full transparency to all involved stakeholders. A funding approach should be established and reviewed annually to ensure effectiveness and appropriate apportioning of costs.
Lack of clarity – when to use RPA vs. other solution methods.
When to use RPA vs. other integration technologies is essential, and if not correctly assessed, performance issues are sure to follow. RPA replicates human-based processes where access to the backend (databases or APIs) is unavailable.
No success criteria.
Success is difficult to measure if not defined. RPA is not a “set and forget” type of technology as it must be actively reviewed and maintained to achieve maximum benefits.
Success starts with strategy.
The companies that scale process automation successfully and achieve maximum value, are the ones that address these concerns from the outset, preparing and focussing on a holistic strategy for RPA. They seek alignment on objectives and timelines, avoiding the tendency to focus solely on the technology. By engaging leaders as champions to support the responsible, sustainable, and scalable rollout, they create the space to mature the practice and drive continuous adoption, transforming how their organizations run from the core – one step at a time.
An automation center of excellence (CoE) is a proven approach to resolving these key barriers, promoting the RPA program, and assuring that all major components of the RPA strategy are covered. Beniva supports not only the implementation and delivery of robotic process automation, but also a robust and leading framework for your RPA CoE. Connect with us to learn more.