RPA discovery requires outside help
Get the right skills blend for success
By Nick Andrews, executive chairman, Virtual Operations
from C-Suite Guide Part 3 – RPA Pitfalls and Perils
In our RPA C-Suite Guide Part 1 and 2 we explored our top 10 tips for embarking on an automation journey and how to choose the right automation partner. In part 3 our executive chairman Nick Andrews turns his attention to the pitfalls and perils that organisations most often encounter when they implement robotic process automation. This blog discusses Pitfall 3: Incomplete Assessment Teams.
RPA Pitfall 3: Incomplete Assessment Teams
Now is the time to consider how best to use external expertise
By far the most difficult aspect of our work with our clients is the Discovery phase. Identifying the collective tasks or processes or business issues that can be transformed (not just speeded up or cost-shaved) needs a particular combination of skills to ensure the program has the right strategy and direction. This team typically consists of internal Process Leads and Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) together with external Process Experts and highly experienced Automation Practitioners.
This combination is a fundamental requirement and will drive your search for external expertise to blend with your own people. We strongly argue that this work should not be outsourced nor should it be conducted alone in-house. The outsource provider doesn’t know your systems, your processes, nor your environment to the right level of detail. Even an existing outsource partner is likely to have a narrow or slanted view of your process environment.
Conversely, your in-house team doesn’t know what the automation boundaries are so they tend to just look for FTE’s doing rules-based tasks. This, in turn, leads to marginal business cases and a focus on automation cost rather than business benefits.
So how does an organisation get the right RPA skill-set?
PARTNER TO BUILD A JOINT AGILITY TEAM
The first step is to recognise that consultants have a role to play in RPA
Unless you’ve already successfully delivered transformative RPA in the business, you will need external help to make it a reality for you now. To complete your assessment team, you should use external consultants, particularly ones that have knowledge across the entire Automation tool base – RPA, AI, Desktop, Analytic etc.
With their help you should work from the top down, start by looking at your entire Operational Landscape to develop a topographical heat-map for the first waves of Automation. This process identifies at a high level how many of your staff are in process related activities that are likely to be rules based or replicated elsewhere.
You can then see where the clusters of potential candidates are and then apply the qualitative criteria (capacity and willingness for change, logistics, language, culture) to decide the priorities. This is a critical step and, with the business case assessments, forms the process candidate triage.
It will be almost entirely tactical, but is the right place to start. The ideal ‘complete’ team to conduct this and follow it through will be a combination of your process experts (leads) and specialist automation consultants. For reasons described earlier, this work should neither be outsourced nor conducted in-house alone. Find a RPA partner.
Want to know more? Here’s a link to the other pitfalls in CSuite Guide part 3.
Or why not click to read more about the Virtual Operations training academy.