Think big, deliver bigger
Piecemeal RPA wins don’t add up
By Nick Andrews, executive chairman, Virtual Operations
from C-Suite Guide Part 3 – RPA Pitfalls and Perils
In our RPA C-Suite Guide Parts 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 5: Insufficient Benefits Definition and Realisation.
RPA Pitfall 5: Insufficient Benefit Definition and Realisation
RPA should be a vehicle for significant transformation
Currently the vast majority of Automation activity, wherever you look (whether by Industry or Geography) is removing small numbers of FTE’s from rules-based processes. Typically this is without thought to improving the process beforehand (unless change is required for any Automation to happen). The result is a large numbers of Automation Projects which, even in aggregate, don’t add up to much.
We have seen Automation Projects where the robots simply mimic the humans – even so far as launching tools such as Excel because they were required by the SME even though robots don’t need them! Because the benefits aren’t matching expectations and business cases then become marginal, this turns the focus to the costs. This should not be the case in successful Automation Programmes where the benefits realised should dwarf the costs.
The principal causes of benefit loss are:
1. Inexperience and impatience – Not knowing what Automation can achieve, nor how to apply it correctly. However, practitioners with many years’ experience approach Automation very differently and are far more likely to deliver maximum benefits.
2. Not looking for the higher level or indirect benefits but instead looking for tactical, low hanging fruit only. Perhaps because the RPA leads have been tasked with a proof of concept or don’t have sufficient management buy-in for a more strategic approach.
3. Benefits remaining as potential but not realised – this is really common especially where FTE’s are not actually being released.
So how does an organisation overcome insufficient benefits definition and realisation?
CREATE A PROJECT CHARTER
A project charter will help you to build better business cases
We strongly recommend that each Automation Project has a Project Charter. This Charter ensures the following:
· The Project has a strong Business Case and both direct and indirect benefits have been estimated.
· Re -engineering, clustering, linking (to other processes) opportunities have been explored.
· The resources required to define, implement and test have been identified and scheduled and buy -in has been established.
The benefits of RPA could and should be significant to your business. Delivering a few point solutions here and there to cut the odd FTE just won’t cut it with your management team.
With true expertise in short demand, you might find a lack of ambition becomes self-fulfilling. It could be difficult to recruit RPA skills, to find a partner to work with and to be taken seriously by your Board who have bigger fish to fry.
For RPA success, Think big, Deliver bigger!
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.