Caution: Mind the governance gap
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 8: Weak Governance.
RPA Pitfall 8: Weak Governance
The surprisingly common cause of failure
This may come as a surprise to many of you, but the number one most common reason for failures and exceptions in RPA is inadequate governance. This can either be from poor procedures or from a lack of compliance (buy-in).
The root of this may come from some of the earlier pitfalls we have discussed such as Inexperience (pitfall #1), Impatience (pitfall 2), Insufficient Benefits Definition and Realisation (pitfall 5) and taking an Unstructured Approach (pitfall 6). Certainly, taking a tactical approach to RPA instead of a strategic one (which contributes significantly to insufficient benefits realisation) is also a contributing factor towards weak governance.
From an early stage we at Virtual Operations acknowledged that governance is a crucial part of the institutionalisation of RPA within your organisation – the point at which automation will no longer be part of a ‘Program’ but will be Business as Usual and will be at the heart of most of what you do in front and back offices.
One of the service lines we offer is round the clock (365, 24/7) RPA production support. Planning for this service line, we went to great lengths to ensure that we have workable, effective governance procedures, with buy-in.
How can you overcome this potential weakness
GET TOUGH on GOVERNANCE
Get a Project Charter and properly manage Operational Handover
Getting tough on governance includes:
- A proper Project Charter to ensure that stakeholders are aligned, the project(s) has authorisation, and the expected benefits are clearly defined (and how to measure benefits realisation has been agreed)
- A Standard Life Cycle (adapted to your own standards), to ensure complete testing and formalised approval gates
- Operational handover documents – including exception handing and built-in consideration for business continuity and disaster recovery, to ensure ongoing smooth operations.
This institutionalisation should be driven by the Centre of Excellence (CoE), responsible for managing and governing the RPA estate and evolving the strategy. By now your teams will be experienced, the CoE will be mature and you should be almost entirely self-sufficient and pushing the boundaries of automation capabilities.
By now, the RPA integrator should have stepped back and become a trusted advisor to support ongoing training, additional tool selection and deeper opportunity assessment.