Caution: RPA is an industry not a profession
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 6: An Unstructured Approach
RPA Pitfall 6: An Unstructured Approach
Don’t get sucked into adapting something that worked for something else!
It is estimated that there are now 2000 + RPA ‘practitioners’ globally. Practically all will have been ‘on -boarded’ and given some form of tools and templates to help them get up to speed – most of which started life with one or other of the RPA technology vendors from the time when they were selling and providing services in equal measure.
Since that time, they will have been deployed and adapted by developers to their and their clients’ needs. However, there are no common standards, no best practice and many of these ‘methods’ will no longer be fit for purpose. In this way, RPA can be regarded as an industry and lacks the common standards, processes and agreed training and accreditation that a profession carries. This means that when you engage with an RPA consulting organisation, you are often relying on them having adapted an engagement process rather than having one designed from the ground up for RPA.
Pressures from clients are also leading to practitioners taking shortcuts in both the assessment and development phases. This is a natural path in any new business maturity curve but the current situation means that the learning curve for new practitioners is longer and the number of failures is increasing. Badly implemented processes also fail more frequently when put into production
So how does an organisation overcome an unstructured approach
DEPLOY A PROVEN METHODOLOGY
Don’t invent it yourself, or just ‘muddle through
Our advice is to find a partner who has a fully developed methodology for RPA that you can adopt or buy. We strongly recommend that you resist the temptation to enhance a third party’s methodology until you have at least six months’ experience – you run the risk of diluting the investment you might have made.
A prudent approach is to incorporate new best practice tools and templates through gateway reviews by your chosen partner. In other words, continually engage with your chosen consultants (perhaps on a light-touch basis) to ensure that you don’t take yourselves down any blind alleys.
No doubt you’ll come across many RPA ‘experts’ or ‘proven’ RPA methodologies. Don’t skimp on your due diligence. Make sure that you are really dealing with a firm that has RPA in its heart and soul, not just a bolt on to its existing consulting business.
For RPA success, Only follow the leaders.
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.