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Automation Journey

Chapter 6

Best Practices: Change Management in RPA and Intelligent Automation

Organizations need to increase their operational efficiency and to accomplish that, more business leaders are seeking the benefits of intelligent automation (IA) and robotic process automation (RPA).

But before implementing these technologies, organizations should have a plan and a structure for their automation and prepare their people and systems for the necessary changes ahead. This is where change management and organizational design come in.

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Organizational Design to Unify Work

Organizational design aligns an organization’s structure with its strategic vision and performance goals. If you’re implementing a new technology like IA or RPA, you’ll likely need to rethink your organizational structure, particularly how to unify your operations with a hybrid workforce consisting of people and digital workers.

This means your digital workers aren’t under the sole control of your Center of Excellence (CoE), but rather dispersed strategically throughout your operational teams so each business function has a human and digital worker collaborating on processes.

Factors to consider when designing a successful hybrid workforce

Any big changes to your organizational structure should be led by clear and direct communication of ideas and strategies. Here are a few key factors you’ll need to consider:

  1. Upskilling managers: with new technologies, managers will need further training in reporting and business intelligence to fully utilize their collaborative workforce.
  2. Upskilling teams: you’ll likely need to upskill your teams, equipping them with the necessary skills to work effectively in a hybrid workforce and understand the human-in-the-loop (HITL) aspects of new automated processes.
  3. Recruitment: some new talent may be necessary to fill the IA roles or bring new skills to the organization.
  4. Support from consultants and partners: consider what support you’ll need to ensure your organization is on the right track in its automation journey. One way to ensure this is by following a structured, step-by-step guide such as the SS&C | Blue Prism Robotic Operating Model™ (ROM).
  5. Team redeploying: intelligent automation frees employees to focus on higher-value or creative tasks. Locate areas where your team can be redeployed. This may result in changing the nature of job roles. Consider how automation will fit in and think about changing job descriptions, roles, and titles. If your lines of reporting shift, you may need to alter your team’s roles and responsibilities to ensure clear communication, decision-making, and accountability.
  6. Governance and compliance: it’s crucial when implementing IA to establish a robust governance and compliance framework to ensure regulations and standards are consistently met.

Communicating Change

Any change, especially the introduction of new technology like IA and RPA, requires clear communication. From the start, you should articulate the reasons for the change, its benefits, and how it will impact employees and the business.

Creating a business case

Outlining intelligent automation and RPA business case will help you communicate your automation goals, define a clear strategy for implementation, provide important details to investors and stakeholders, and highlight any potential risks or costs associated.

Here are a few ideas you may want to communicate in your business case:

  • Reasons for the change
  • Capabilities of IA and RPA
  • How the technology works with proof-of-concept demonstrations
  • Your vision for the project
  • How to submit automation ideas for your pipeline
  • Testimonials, benefits, calculated potential return on investment (ROI), and key successes so far

You can learn more about how to calculate the ROI of intelligent automation and RPA here.

Developing a Change Management Plan

IA and RPA can significantly benefit an organization, but the significant changes associated with automation can be overwhelming without a comprehensive strategy. That’s where a change management plan comes in.

Involve employees from the beginning

Employees will be most affected by the changes from automation, so you’ll want their feedback early on. By involving employees in the process, you can more easily identify potential issues and address them before they get bigger.

Another benefit of involving employees is that you’ll make them feel valued and empowered. In turn, they’ll become invested in the success of your automation project.

Create a vision and mission statement

Your vision statement should inspire and motivate your team. It should also give direction and an estimated timeframe for your automation project.

The project sponsor and executive team should collaborate to craft a clear vision statement of your goals, including:

  • Why IA or RPA is the right fit to achieve your strategic goals
  • The purpose and benefits of the project
  • Why and how automation delivers transformational value

Your mission statement should outline the specific actions to bring your vision into reality. It’s more detailed and should include:

  • What actions you’ll take to implement intelligent automation
  • What you’ll deliver to enable that vision
  • A clear roadmap for the project team outlining the steps needed to achieve that vision

In your mission statement, try using specific examples such as:

  • How a certain business function will be transformed using IA or RPA
  • Plans to create a CoE team
  • A proof-of-concept project
  • An organization-wide plan to unify your digital and people workforce

Conducting a change impact analysis

You need to understand the potential impacts of these changes on your organization, from your people to your processes and systems. Here are a few things you’ll want to consider in your analysis:

  • Identify the scope of the change, including which business processes or functions will be impacted
  • Gather high-level information about the current state of process execution so you can understand the impact of automation on each
  • Assess the potential effect on the future state of each business function, including identifying those impacted: stakeholders, managers, executives, and front-line employees, among others

Assess your business readiness

Assess your organization against the specific criteria indicating your automation project is ready to be implemented. This can include:

  • How many certified or trained people are in your IA/RPA team
  • Level of support from senior executives
  • Level of acceptance from impacted departments
  • Quality and number of automation opportunities in your pipeline
  • Existence of required policies, standards, or contingency plans
  • Status of any risks associated with the project
  • Any other criteria specific to your business

Implementing Your Automation Change Management Plan

Now that you’ve involved your people and conducted a thorough analysis, you can start developing communication and training plans, adjusting job roles and responsibilities and making changes to business processes, policies and systems where needed. And once your plan is up and running, you’ll want to measure its success and refer to it for future projects.

These are just some of the recommendations for preparing your change management plan. You can also create practice sessions with hypotheticals to help you preemptively plan for obstacles. You can also host a ‘case for change’ session to boost excitement and encourage buy-in from employees, key stakeholders and representatives.

With careful planning and a comprehensive change management plan, you can help your organization adapt to new technology and ultimately adopt the product into day-to-day operations.


About the Author

Alexis Veenendaal

Alexis Veenendaal is an Associate Content Writer and Editor at SS&C Blue Prism. She’ll tell you all the cool tips and tricks for implementing intelligent automation into your workplace. She has lived and worked internationally as a professional writer and designer for nearly a decade after graduating from the University of Lethbridge for English Literature. Her personal pursuits include authoring books and digital cartography.

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Next: Chapter 7

How To Create an RPA Strategy

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