There are clear fiscal and productivity benefits to having a piece of software to do repetitive tasks for you, freeing-up your skilled human employees to add value where it’s really needed.
But as organisations across the world embrace RPA, the whole market has matured. Two major challenges have emerged. Answer these challenges and you can unlock the potential of your RPA virtual workforce.
1: How to roll out your virtual workforce at scale
The first challenge is scalability: how do organisation’s like yours do bigger and better things with RPA? How do you go beyond small-scale, isolated use cases and make it work across departments and locations? I often see organisations that struggle to move past the initial implementation stage and discover real value-generation at scale.
You might have your RPA deployment processing invoices in China, but should the same RPA processes be used at your European locations? Should it be the same robot or a different iteration? Should the same people oversee globally, or at local levels? These are all good questions but failing to answer them can hold up the expansion of your RPA.
The biggest blocker to RPA at scale is governance – organisations need to implement robust operating models to manage your RPA virtual workforce. Blue Prism has a great answer to this question: its ROM, or reference operating model, sets the industry standard for how to manage and assess the work of your RPA bots.
‘Assess’ is a key part of this. From HR to finance and beyond, it’s important to evaluate your RPA implementations to understand which jobs it’s suited to and which it isn’t. What’s more, the success of an RPA implementation depends on the very culture of the organisation itself.
Of course, the answer to the ‘how do I scale up my RPA?’ question is more detailed than I can cover in this blog post. For a deeper conversation, come along to Blue Prism World 2019 and find me at booth P7.
2: How to unleash the real potential of your virtual workers
The second challenge is about going beyond RPA – how do you unlock the full potential of automation? RPA is just the first step on the path to what we call ‘intelligent automation’. Intelligent automation lets you automatically interpret data and return results. In other words, it adds cognitive services to the existing RPA layer. Intelligent automation doesn’t replace RPA, it complements it.
This lets your virtual workforce mimic human skills, such as reading and understanding documents and content, and therefore a level of decision making. Intelligent automation can read emails, read PDFs and make follow decision trees against a set of rules. It can respond intelligently to customer requests, further freeing up your real-world workforce to focus on more important customer requests that require a nuanced response.