De­cod­ing Ro­bot­ics Process Au­to­ma­tion (RPA)

RPA to be suc­cess­ful needs a lot of best prac­tices and a multi-pronged strat­egy to cir­cum­vent the chal­lenges writes Subi Sethi, Vice Pres­i­dent, Busi­ness Ex­cel­lence, OGS

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Over the last few years, Ro­bot­ics Process Au­to­ma­tion (RPA) has been a much-talked about trend across sev­eral in­dus­tries. Many com­pa­nies have ei­ther have taken to the tech­nol­ogy or are still work­ing on it.

How­ever, there are is­sues which have stopped the com­pa­nies from adopt­ing it in to­tal­ity. Com­pa­nies are suc­cess­ful when they think of the con­cept but are chal­lenged when it comes to up­grad­ing their tech­nol­ogy for large scale adop­tion across their busi­nesses, ge­ogra­phies, and di­vi­sions.

The chal­lenges which the com­pa­nies face are nu­mer­ous and var­ied. How­ever, cer­tain is­sues run across most of the com­pa­nies. Few of them are:

Lack­ing the big pic­ture: The lack of clar­ity when it comes to find­ing a so­lu­tion to the big is­sue is a prob­lem which runs across many or­ga­ni­za­tions. The com­pa­nies are stuck in cod­ing as many in­ter­nal busi­ness pro­cesses are known to daily users who lack the big­ger pic­ture. The man­age­ment teams fail to con­vey the end pic­ture to the teams who work on the ground re­sult­ing in fail­ure of proper im­ple­men­ta­tion and scal­ing of so­lu­tions. Too much fo­cus on the cod­ing and not so­lu­tion­iz­ing re­sults in improper adop­tion.

Piece­meal strat­egy for im­ple­men­ta­tion: The lack of a com­pre­hen­sive RPA strat­egy which runs across the or­ga­ni­za­tion of­ten re­sults in fail­ure as var­i­ous de­part­ments un­der­take their own RPA route which are ei­ther in­com­pat­i­ble which each other or do not speak to each other. Hence, at the end of the day, each unit is try­ing to do some­thing which doesn’t fit in the or­ga­ni­za­tion level ca­pa­bil­i­ties. By the time the units start com­mu­ni­cat­ing about their progress, it is usu­ally dif­fi­cult to undo cer­tain changes in each unit. The in­fras­truc­ture built is ad-hoc and hence in­ef­fi­cient for long term scal­a­bil­ity.

Start big, dis­re­gard the de­tails: On the other hand, there ex­ist in­stances where com­pa­nies dream big and hence start big when it comes to RPA im­ple­men­ta­tion. In­stead of start­ing small and build­ing on it, process by process in a planned man­ner, or­ga­ni­za­tions start on a huge scale which is usu­ally doomed to fail. Many a times they do not even have the right in­ter­nal ca­pa­bil­i­ties to stay on the right RPA jour­neys they wish to un­der­take. There may be misses if the in­ter­nal teams do not re­al­ize the im­por­tance of ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence an ex­ter­nal agency can pro­vide and are them­selves not well equipped. There maybe in­stances where an in­ter­nal team is ca­pa­ble but they haven’t been given the au­thor­ity to take strate­gic de­ci­sions. Since th­ese teams maybe more tech­ni­cally in­clined, they may lack the man­age­ment ap­ti­tude. Hence, it is im­por­tant to have the right bal­ance of tech­ni­cal and man­age­ment ap­ti­tude for the teams im­ple­ment­ing the so­lu­tions.

For­tu­nately, most of the chal­lenges which the or­ga­ni­za­tions face can be avoided with proper plan­ning, man­age­ment buy-in, build­ing a proper ecosys­tem and de­sign think­ing.

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