BPMtips.com has asked to over 30 experts about suggestions to start using Robotic Process Automation and the most common errors. You can read the answers of all experts in BPMtips.com and in BPM.com
And here you have my answers:
What would you suggest to a company that wants to start using Robotic Process Automation?
Firstly, it is important to differentiate between RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and BPM (Business Process Management), because both disciplines look for the automation of processes, but they are complementary. RPA technology plays and will play an important role in BPM, from the automation of repetitive human tasks that can be replaced by a robot (either software, hardware or both). RPA is based on notions of software robots that replicate the actions of a human interacting with a user interface with a computer, which can benefit BPM when optimizing a transversal process of the organization, taking the orchestration of all Robots involved in a process.
The analyst Grand View Research, Inc. says that the global RPA market is expected to reach USD 8.75 billion by 2024 and RPA is emerging as a disrupting technology with capabilities of providing benefits such as enhanced accuracy, compliance, cost saving and scalability, so the companies who wants to start using RPA can be sure that organizations are increasingly implementing these solutions. And another important driver is that it is estimated that RPA is expected to cost as one-third of the least expensive offshore labor.
When any company model a process using Business Process Analysis can identify processes or sub-processes with high daily volumes of repetitive tasks and low added value that are performed by employees, as these tasks should be replaced by the execution of RPA technology, to get security and responsiveness, to reduce errors, and to save time and money. And now the use of Artificial Intelligence (machine learning) in RPA allows you to adapt to different circumstances and make decisions on the automated process allowing more adaptability.
What are the most common errors you see in implementing RPA?
Many of the problems in implementing BPM are common in implementing RPA, but RPA has many problems when the implementation does not follow a continuous improvement cycle, as it is required to control the impacts of any change in a process, and even any change in the strategy of the company that it requires a modification of processes, systems, applications… that it could be controlled by Enterprise Architecture tools.
In the implementation of RPA, there are important dependencies between systems, data and applications, so we should be sure that any change in one system, on data table or the release of any application can create a problem in the automated process.
The phase of creation is very critical, and it requires to make enough tests with all possible scenarios to check that the automated process works fine, because if the process itself is flawed the RPA does is formalize the flaws. Please, run a pilot project first and clearly demonstrate the right execution and right performance (it is important to control metrics before the automation and after).
Another common error is about documentation (similar problem than application programming), if the RPA is not well documented with all process definition and mapping in detail it will be difficult to make changes and to ask how it works. So all have to be rigidly documented and recorded (requirements, process definition, change requests, metrics, bugs, releases, exceptions…).