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Chapter 2

A Step-by-Step Guide for Implementing RPA & Process Automation

Understanding how to implement and manage a successful robotic process automation (RPA) or intelligent automation (IA) program takes a keen strategy, careful planning and the right tools and technology to realize your business operational goals.

Now, a quick overview of what RPA and IA do:

RPA uses software robots or RPA bots to automate digital activities usually performed by human workers. These activities include repetitive administrative tasks such as data entry or appointment scheduling.

Intelligent automation uses digital workers powered by artificial intelligence (AI), RPA, business process management (BPM) and other cognitive technologies to automate and optimize business processes and decision-making.

Want to know more? Check out our full glossary of automation terms.

While we talk about both RPA and IA in this blog, we’ll mostly focus our attention on IA since it expands on RPA’s capabilities. To successfully implement IA into your business processes, you’ll need to consider these six steps, which we’ll discuss in more detail below:

  1. Find processes to automate.
  2. Get organization-wide buy-in.
  3. Choose the right automation software.
  4. Develop an implementation plan.
  5. Test your solution.
  6. Rollout and transform.
How to Implement RPA & Intelligent Automation

1 - Find Processes to Automate

Before jumping in, look at your business needs and where automation can best address them. That’s how you ensure a good return on investment (ROI).

What business needs do I address first?

What business problem or opportunity can IA help solve? Align your business needs and goals with your automation strategy and consider what pain points you want to address. Encourage people across your business to help identify these areas.

Where are my quick wins?

Quick wins are those processes that are easy to start your automation journey on. They might not achieve the highest ROI, but they’re ready to automate right away and can achieve incremental wins that are noticeable and calculable and will gain executive buy-in for future automation initiatives.

What processes can I automate?

Not all processes can be automated. Examine your business processes and identify those suitable for RPA or IA, and those which are better suited for humans. Consider how feasible it is to automate a process, keeping in mind the complexity, data and infrastructure requirements, and any regulatory considerations.

Are my processes optimized?

You want to automate processes that are functional, meaning they aren’t rife with bottlenecks. Automating a bad process doesn’t make it better – it only entrenches the issue. Generally, your first goal should be to capture and optimize your processes before you automate anything. Use process discovery tools to identify automation opportunities more easily.

Where can I put automation?

By digitally generating a Process Definition Document (PDD) recording of your as-is processes, you can reduce your overall process development time and ensure you’re automating in the right places. For this, we have SS&C | Blue Prism® Capture. Capture reduces your time to automation by as much as 75%.

2 – Get Organization-Wide Buy-In

Before your automation program can really start going, you need to gain executive and stakeholder buy-in. To do that, you need to showcase why and how IA will improve business functions and justify the costs. And to effectively do that, you need a business case.

How do I build a business case?

An automation business case essentially justifies, with data and use cases, why it’s a good idea to automate a task or process. Business cases usually include a cost-to-benefit analysis and a calculated ROI, but it should also include any potential challenges to adopting IA. Include all the information you gathered from step one to make your business case.

How do I prepare my people?

Buy-in for your automation program doesn’t end with executives and stakeholders. Develop a change management strategy for getting everyone in your organization on board with IA. This can include education, setting up roles and responsibilities and even gamifying the automation planning process. When you crowdsource automation ideas from your people, you’re empowering them to have a hand in the process and alleviating worries about automation taking over their jobs.

3 – Choose the Right IA or RPA Software

The automation platform or tools you choose are just as important as the processes you decide to automate. Ensure that whatever software you decide on aligns with your overall business outcomes.

How do I select an IA or RPA vendor?

Technology is constantly evolving, so look for automation vendors who innovate and have long-standing experience in the automation landscape. Many IA vendors offer entry-level versions of their platforms that allow you to perform basic automations, but consider whether that platform will enable you to scale your IA/RPA software solutions when your enterprise matures.

There’s a lot to consider with structure, price, cloud availability, security, adaptability and accessibility. If you’re still not sure how to decide, we recommend reading our top six checklist on how to select an RPA vendor.

What kind of tools should I look for?

Consider who will be developing your automations. Some IA platforms have low or no-code automation options, which use drag-and-drop features to easily and quickly build scalable automations. This allows non-tech users to develop automations easily. Look for an automation tool with an intuitive user interface, pre-built connectivity and integrations, good governance and support, and adaptability.

The SS&C | Blue Prism® UX Builder is an intuitive no-code development software platform for building enterprise web applications without relying on developers or IT. It includes our pre-integrated IA platform along with our BPM orchestration software, SS&C | Blue Prism® Chorus, for access to a wealth of data and services right out of the box.

4 – Develop an Implementation Plan

Outline how and when you will deploy IA in your organization. This plan should include what tasks will be automated, who will oversee the project, what financial and human resources are required, and the timeline for your IA/RPA implementation process. This helps ensure a smooth rollout of your automation.

What sort of methodology should I use?

It’s best practice to ensure you have a structured and strategic implementation methodology before deploying your digital workforce. The SS&C | Blue Prism® Robotic Operating Model™ (ROM2) is a great way of achieving this at scale. It takes you through the steps of launching, maintaining and expanding your automation, including strategy, workforce, design, development and operations.

What roles and responsibilities do I need?

It’s a good idea to establish a Center of Excellence (CoE) to ensure your automated processes maintain best practices and achieve value for your organization. Your CoE is responsible for finding automation opportunities, training and upskilling other team members, ensuring governance and standards, mitigating risk, staying competitive and innovating. They can also help develop a proof of concept (POC) to replicate your concepts and theories into actionable results.

5 – Test Your Solution

This is where you test your POC. Put an automated solution into an everyday process and watch how it runs. An alternative to this is running your automation in a testing or ‘playground’ environment. Then ask your people to give feedback on how your digital workers are running and where improvements can be made. It’s always a good idea to test before issuing a full-scale IA/RPA deployment.

What does the testing stage look like?

During testing, you’ll monitor your automation to identify any problem areas and ensure everything runs smoothly and aligns with your pre-defined goals. Take note of any slowdowns or infrastructure limitations.

How should I monitor my testing?

Keep track of key metrics such as accuracy, processing times, human intervention, etc. It’s also a good idea to continuously check back with your employees and get their feedback on how the IA/RPA technology is running and how it influences their work.

6 – Rollout and Transform

Release your IA into its planned performance areas and continuously monitor it, making tweaks where necessary. Deployment is only half of automation – the other half is checking in on it to make sure it’s achieving your organizational goals.

The key to successful RPA implementation (or IA) is making sure you’re getting the most from your digital workforce.

It’s an Ongoing Journey

Digital transformation is an ongoing journey of monitoring, optimizing and growing. Follow SS&C Blue Prism’s ultimate guide to your automation journey to learn all the ins and outs of IA/RPA success.

Our goal is to transform the future of work and your business, including radical efficiencies, better business performance, reduced operational risks, improved response times, more valuable customer experiences and happier humans. Take advantage of flexible deployment options in the way that works for your organization.


Alexis

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 3

How Do I Ensure IA & RPA Security?

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