Blog | Aug 6, 2020

How to Maintain Your Digital Workforce

Digital Workforce Maintenance Thumbnail

By Jenni van Leijen, Digital Workforce Services

Digital workers have become a valuable resource for companies, freeing up people's time from performing routine tasks to do more valuable and rewarding work. Digital workers also help pick up slack when employees take vacation time or sick leave, as well as when a job search is being conducted after an employee leaves the company or switches positions. These efforts help preserve business continuity, but when changes are made, even digital workers can fail. They need to be maintained to maximize their productivity and minimize the risk of downtime.

Maintaining your digital workforce requires capacity, scalability, and expertise. Outsourcing Intelligent Automation maintenance is an economical way to meet these requirements while optimizing your return on investment.

Why You Need Digital Workforce Maintenance

Digital workers are the product of complex engineering. However, bad things can happen to good digital workers. Even well-designed efforts can break if confronted with a change to a process.

If you are relying on a digital worker to perform an essential task and it breaks or malfunctions, your company may experience downtime. Intelligent Automation saves companies money by automating time-consuming, repetitive, and manual tasks, if the processes are not running they don’t create any value.

Avoiding downtime helps organizations retain the desired cost savings. Eliminating a single day of downtime that might be caused by a problem could save your company over $220,000.*

Digital workers are often trained through screen scraping, in which they map out a screen on an interface. A digital worker may not be trained to respond to an upgrade in an application. If something changes, they may not know what to do. Digital workers can imitate the steps humans take to carry out simple processes but performing more complex tasks over the long term requires governance.

Being Proactive About Intelligent Automation Maintenance

Automation technologies evolve fast and there are increasingly more exciting tools available to create optimal solutions. In all the excitement, it is easy to overlook the very basics like the need for Intelligent Automation maintenance. Companies need to be proactive about maintenance - even if it's less buzz-worthy and may seem like a small issue at the beginning of the automation journey. When organizations prepare for the unexpected, they are better equipped to avoid problems and eliminate downtime. This is especially important when the use of Intelligent Automation scales up and the dependency on the technology grows.

When companies rely on digital workers for complex and business-critical tasks instead of using them for simple repetitive tasks the need for excellent maintenance is highlighted. When an important task is not performed, production could be interrupted.

Ideally, companies should start by automating simple, repetitive tasks and build their portfolio up from there. Organizations should set recovery time objectives (RTOs) for automated tasks that are essential. Interruptions can be avoided by adjusting digital workers when changes are made to complex and important processes. Scanning logs to see what types of problems are created by changes to applications can help a company anticipate and prevent Intelligent Automation problems.

To be proactive, organizations need to scale maintenance to meet demands created by increased process automation. Scaling Intelligent Automation maintenance using in-house resources can be expensive because full-time engineers (FTEs) are needed. Finding another source for maintenance can save a company that has 10 to 100 automation processes more than $785,000 in a single year.*

Setting up Intelligent Automation Maintenance

Your company can use the same team of developers that set up your process automation to scale maintenance. However, this extra work would pull team members away from automation project delivery. The more projects the team completes, the more time and money your company can save.

Organizations should also always strive to build better digital workers. Applying best practices to development and ensuring consistent quality of automations in production significantly reduce downtime.

Companies need to have protocols and processes in place to fix problems when they occur. Staff must be available to find, troubleshoot, and solve problems.

Enough maintenance specialists are needed to meet the demand. As we highlight at Digital Workforce, one specialist is needed for every 5 to 10 processes. To keep up with the delivery team, the maintenance team needs to scale as Intelligent Automation projects are completed. Each member of a delivery team may produce 1 to 3 automations per quarter.

Maintenance specialists must be top developers with training and extensive experience in automation development. At your company, the delivery team would be the source of this type of expert. How can your company leverage Intelligent Automation engineering expertise without depleting the delivery team?

Outsourcing Intelligent Automation Maintenance

Companies can overcome resource gaps and optimize Intelligent Automation maintenance by outsourcing it to a third party. A trusted partner can provide 24/7 maintenance from an Intelligent Automation specialist.

Outsourcing gives the internal team more time to focus on core business. It also saves the salary cost of FTEs, adding to the overall cost savings generated by automation.

With an outside partner, companies can scale maintenance as needed. Updates and reports can be run at night because maintenance specialists are on call to respond to any issue. RTOs can be changed and met during peak times for seamless business continuity.

To find out more about how to support your company’s digital workforce, get your copy of the latest Digital Workforce guide Setting up World-Class RPA Maintenance.

*Monetary figures have been converted from Euros to U.S. dollars.

About Digital Workforce

Digital Workforce automates and maintains your business processes freeing up the time of your employees for more purposeful work. Digital Workforce is a trusted advisor and a globally leading independent provider of services in intelligent automation on an industrial scale. Today, over 150 large global customers use Digital Workforce’s services to transform their businesses with intelligent automation. Founded in 2015 Digital Workforce employs currently over 240 IA specialists in the US, the UK, Poland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.