Document the process. No, really.
RPA initiatives can go awry in many ways. Small ones sometimes succeed without good documentation, but it’s asking for trouble. Without good documentation, it takes longer to reach success, and you’ll increase both TCO and complexity in the future when you need to change the process and lack a roadmap.
Here are a few things to include in your documentation:
- Process Owner – Identify who you’ll go to if you need additional information to train the bot.
- Steps – Map and document each step in the process. Consult a subject matter expert as you do this.
- Data – Define what data needs to flow into and out of the process. Document how the data should be formatted, including whether it must be in a specific file format.
- Decisions – Identify what decisions must be made as the process executes, and what steps the robot must follow for each decision branch.
- Error Handling – Identify what should happen if something goes wrong. Perhaps the bot should simply retry the process, and then, if it fails again, alert someone via email.
Be sure to select an automation platform that can help you document your processes.
Pick the right tool for the job
Some RPA projects fail to scale simply because RPA is the wrong solution for the job. You may be trying to solve a problem with RPA when a workflow platform is the right solution.
Workflows are very different than robotic tasks. Workflows allow you to move work through a series of steps that may involve multiple people or bots along the way. Workflows are the best choice for automating processes that involve thought, judgment and decisions. Many RPA-only vendors try to automate everything with RPA, not acknowledging that RPA is best for rote tasks.
The solution is to choose an automation platform that provides both robotic and workflow automation. You will be glad you have the right tool for the job as you scale your RPA initiatives.
Involve subject matter experts
Many industry analysts believe the primary reason why RPA is not scaling into the enterprise is that the RPA solutions on the market are largely designed to be used by programmers and IT staff. These solutions may be powerful, but their value to the organization is limited if it takes programming skills to use them.
Be sure to select an automation platform that is robust enough to handle the rigor of real–world projects while also being easy enough for use by non-programmers. The goal should be to enable subject matter experts across the organization to teach bots how to complete a process. Before picking your RPA solution, ask to see exactly how it creates and teaches a bot. Look at a few and assess their ease of use. Pick the right one and you’ll empower departments to automate their own processes, instead of having to turn to their IT group, which already has a lot on its plate.
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