In this blog we will explore the case for adopting a common process automation platform.
Process automation (often referred to as ‘robotic process automation’) is increasingly welcomed by diverse, multinational corporations as an innovative response to the relentless pressures of labour arbitrage and in many cases as an alternative or to off-shoring. It brings with it the allure of accuracy, operational agility and scalability.
Process automation, per se, is not new. It has evolved from the unreliable, un-scalable screen scraping and macros of the late 90’s to become a process transformation tool that can help large, diverse organisations achieve a new level of operational excellence.
There have been a number of causal factors in the recent acceleration of the adoption of (robotic) process automation (RPA):
- The technology has moved on and become more secure, more versatile, easier to use and functionally more rich
- ‘Early Majority’ large, well known organisations have become ‘Early Adopters’ and proved the transformational qualities and commercial viability
- The outsourcing industry has finally bgun to embrace the technology, albeit at differing rates
- The process automation technology providers have begun using a partner model to achieve rapid growth
- The analyst and research companies have been very positive about the potential benefits
- End-user organisations that have not outsourced are viewing automation as an alternative and those who have outsourced see it as an opportunity to bring work back in-house or drive more innovation from their suppliers. This is highly attractive to the industries and geographies which for socio-political reasons have not adopted either the outsourcing or the off-shore approach.
- The labour arbitrage achieved through offshoring is waning and quality has peaked.
Despite the apparent simplicity and replicability of PA adoption on any scale requires that you choose a common platform to optimal and lasting operational change.
Choosing a common platform
There are many process automation technology providers and there are more emerging. The products range from simple, single application, non-scalable scripting tools and macros, to robust, scalable, multi-application, high quality tools with advanced management information, analytics and recording. They are all relatively quick to deploy by experienced people. They all have short-medium term payback but there is a broad range of pricing models and actual costs.
In many instances selection itself is the main barrier to adoption.
Virtual Operations specialise in knowing this fast evolving market well and can help you get to the right solution. In selecting the right technology for you we use a balance of considerations. Click here for more detail.
You will find that, in the plethora of tools available, many have features which suit certain circumstances but it doesn’t make financial or operational sense to adopt multiple technologies where a single platform can be deployed.
It is worth noting that there is a considerable cost difference between the various process automation solutions; some are open-source. Those at the higher end of the cost range are typically more cost-effective for a large organisation to deploy at scale as they are very low cost to maintain, risk management protocols are built in, they are the most rapid to deploy (time to value reduced and developer costs minimised) and don’t require IT resources nor multiple skills / training. In addition the leading tools provide an audit trail of every key stroke, every log-in and access request, and have analytics features which themselves facilitate process refinement and standardisation.
We help our clients create a common platform with one technology solution that has the following characteristics and advantages:
- An enterprise platform (not a tool)
- Proven at scale and in high risk, highly regulated environments
- Highly secure, server based not residing on user desktops. No operational or IT risk
- Operational led – not constrained by availability of IT resource. Any authorised business user can make required changes
- Process ‘captured’ not simply ’recorded’
- Enterprise-strength and organisation-wide out of the box
- Can integrate and automate any technologies (to date no failures)
- Management information, comprehensive audit trail, analytics
- Facilitates standardisation
- Code free – non-technical, structured design
The clear business benefits are that the existing (and new) portfolio of simple process automations can be mopped up and orchestrated, and any new projects requiring scale or involving processes that are not straight line or require multiple applications to be accessed can use (robotic) process automation. Over time the most critical of these can be transferred simply and cost-effectively. This will enable changes and adaptations to be made without requiring IT resources and ensure an audit trail of all such changes are made.
In the shifting sands of the robotic process automation supplier market, find a specialist firm (like us!) who can help you select a common platform for your projects – one that that will ensure process automation is simple, effective, takes just weeks to implement, and pays back within months.