Robotic process automation (RPA) helps in the creation and management of software robots that mimic human actions while interacting with computers, websites, and software. In recent years, many organizations have accelerated their digital transformation by utilizing RPA to streamline workflows, enhance productivity and efficiency, reduce cost, improve customer experience, and eliminate manual errors. Yet, RPA is a complicated process that uses a wide range of technologies. When starting with RPA, the first thing to remember is that RPA is not a project but a journey. This journey has a beginning, but it doesn’t end because it keeps moving forward, making what one is already doing more complicated with time. When it comes to implementation, organizations often get ahead of themselves in their eagerness to use the technology. As a result, they often cause themselves bigger problems in the long run. Hence, to make RPA implementation easier for organizations, we have created a list of do’s and don’ts to consider while engaging with RPA.

Do’s

  • Build a strategy: Initially, organizations should be prepared with a vision and strategy to ensure the smooth implementation of RPA projects. To establish relevant goals and improve overall business performance, organizations need to align their RPA plan with their digital and business strategies. On the journey to realizing the potential of RPA implementation, selecting the correct vendor as per an organization’s needs, resources, and expectations is also of utmost importance. Hence, making an informed decision after listing the advantages and disadvantages of each vendor is a wise choice.
  • Identify processes that are right for automation: It is crucial for organizations to understand and identify processes that are best suited for automation. Processes that could be disrupted by manual errors, like paper-based data entry, mundane and repetitive tasks, tasks that require round-the-clock assistance like complaint resolution, and serial calculation processes that experience a high rate of errors, are some of the criteria that must be followed by organizations to select the processes that can be automated to give the most benefits.
  • Ensure the safety and dependability of robots: RPA demands attention at every stage in its lifecycle. Building and deploying safe and adaptable robots for production requires constant quality inspection throughout the RPA lifecycle. First practice test for robots, followed by regularly scheduled IT testing, must be conducted to ensure that the robots adhere to the established security and IT guidelines of the organization. Robots should not be left ungoverned since maintenance and security requirements increase with scale. Furthermore, organizations should carefully test automation in controlled environments before larger deployment and constantly monitor it post-deployment to detect flaws and eliminate them.
  • Document processes and solutions: RPA developers frequently depend on outdated or insufficient process documents to save time in collecting information. In doing so, critical details are often overlooked. Before automating a particular process, organizations should create a Process Description Document (PDD), which is a document containing every detail of an existing process. A PDD should have detailed information like a process map, details of subject matter experts responsible for running a process, details about an existing process, etc. This document will be helpful in understanding the capabilities of a robot and maintaining it in the long run. Furthermore, the existing performance of business processes should be documented before automating. In retrospect, this will help in understanding the optimized performance of RPA robots and in realizing the benefits of RPA.

Don’ts

  • Automate sub-optimal processes: It is not advisable to automate processes that are not suitable for RPA. Automating inefficient, cost-prohibitive processes will maximize inefficiency while automation of an existing efficient process will magnify its effect. Likewise, automating a process that could potentially become obsolete in the future will further lead to a waste of money and time. Incorrect automation of processes could waste resources and an RPA deployment with too many of these processes could increase the risk of a whole exercise failure. Hence, it is important to ensure that a process is streamlined and standardized before qualifying it as a suitable candidate for automation.
  • Rush into RPA implementation without having a final design: Sometimes, businesses tend to accelerate the design phase in an effort to fast reap the rewards of automation. But RPA can become vulnerable to scheduling delays and ineffective automation without a defined design. Organizations must have a finalized design, templates, standardized frameworks, and dedicated workflows to eliminate potential errors in implementation.
  • Undermine the scope of RPA projects: RPA implementation can often become complex and confusing. Appropriate analysis and planning in terms of RPA tools, governance, security, change management, and team building are needed to anticipate and mitigate roadblocks and failures during RPA implementation.
  • Forget to make an existing change in the management program: Without a clear change management plan that focuses on system and business changes in operations, the entire management in an organization will remain in flux during RPA implementation. A change management plan is mandatory to ease the transition period prior to, during, and post automation. Ignoring change management will lead to resistance which will further disrupt the harmony within an organization.
DO’s DON’Ts
Strategize Automate unsuitable processes
Automate the right processes Push implementation without finalizing
Maintain the safety of robots Consider RPA projects menial
Create a PDD Automate without making an existing change in the management program

RPA implementations require a lot of time and effort, but if done well, the payoff can be enormous. A distinct RPA vision and strategy that informs the implementation plan and operating model are absolute necessities for success. In the future, RPA will be essential for building a smooth operational environment because it has the capacity to reduce errors and increase efficiency. Keeping this in mind, accurate implementation of RPA technology while keeping the do’s and don’ts in mind will help organizations in reaping the benefits of enhanced and cognitive automation solutions without having to worry about failures.