Frequently Asked Questions for Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation is software that runs on a computer. This software is programmed to mimic the actions or tasks of an employee. A developer builds a script which execute specific actions with any accessible application (e.g., local, network, web-based, or legacy) or file. Typical interactions include entering and extracting data, inspecting and comparing data, making if…then decisions, running reports, manipulating folders and files, sending and receiving email, and much more. The power in the technology is in its ability to work across a broad set of systems.
Yes! While the concept of process automation has been in place for 20+ years, significant adoption didn’t begin until 2016. In just a few short years, RPA has become a mainstream business discipline. Gartner predicts that 90% of large organizations globally will have adopted RPA in some form by 2022 as they look to digitally empower critical business processes through resilience and scalability, while recalibrating human labor and manual effort.
Employees of mid-sized companies generally have a positive experience since automation is focused on eliminating tasks, not jobs. When routine, tedious, and often error-prone tasks (that few enjoy doing anyway) are automated, your employees have more time to focus on activities that require their judgement, creativity, empathy, communication, and ability to collaborate. Employee engagement and retention often improve as a result.
Automation projects can range from very large to very small. In the case of a large project, we break the work into a series of smaller projects that can be automated quickly and deliver incremental value. On average, we’re able to automate a task every two weeks. This rapid and steady cadence enables an automation program to achieve very significant objectives in the first year.
RPA initiatives most often fail due to three primary reasons: a lack of executive sponsorship, limited program governance, and/or a misunderstanding of the talent needed for implementation. For an RPA initiative to be successful, it must have a program leader that is senior enough to cast a vision and get things done. Also required is a central person or team that can both contribute to an RPA project roadmap and monitor the increasingly positive impacts of the initiative on your organization. Lastly, an organization needs the right talent. There’s some hullabaloo that claims that anyone can write RPA code, but in our experience, there are specific skill sets and abilities that are necessary for RPA projects to be successfully implemented end-to-end.
The potential for automation in your business is based less on your company size and more on the kinds of work your team completes. If your team’s responsibilities are based on digital information found in spreadsheets, emails, databases, etc., then it’s very likely there’s an opportunity for automation. We can help you determine the potential of that opportunity and will recommend you either take a DIY approach or partner with a professional services partner like R-Path Automation.
It really depends on the volume and frequency of digital work for which your team is resonsible. For example, if one member of your team spends 20 minutes of their time each week transposing sales orders to the inventory management system, automation – at least from a professional services partner – may not make sense. If, however, there a team of people that spend 20 minutes each day conducting the same task, it’s very likely that automation could save your organization significant time and provide bandwidth for other important work. If you’re unsure about the automation opportunities in your business, please consider reaching out; we’ll be happy to share our experiences with you.
In our experience, there’s potential for automation in almost every industry so long as there’s a sufficient volume of digital work. Like computer software or mobile apps before it, RPA is truly industry- and department-agnostic; its effectiveness is based solely on its intelligent application to business problems. Once you see how RPA provides the equivalent of a custom software solution for your business’s specific tasks and processes, you will quickly realize its universal applicability.
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