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Your first RPA process: Choose wisely

When businesses are in a rush for digital transformation on a budget, they often fail to pause and prioritize which business process to automate first. Presented with a list of typical use cases such as purchase order issuing, onboarding new employees, invoice generation, etc. they forge ahead with one without a clear roadmap for RPA.

If that first process isn’t rule-based, mundane, repetitive, and relatively simple, it makes the first steps on the RPA journey difficult, expensive and unlikely to yield the benefits of RPA. And the outcome? The business wrongly concludes that using RPA leads to a very slow or small ROI. That’s not the outcome you want. So, before you take that first step, pause and plan a roadmap.

Having a clear road map involves an initial discovery stage that results in 4-5 processes mapped to an implementation timeline. The first one to tackle should meet specific criteria such as being low complexity, rule-based, have a high transaction volume and, most importantly, align with the businesses’ automation goals. With a quick ROI, reaffirming the benefits of RPA can be done whilst moving on to the rest of the processes in the pipeline.

So, how can you get that initial discovery phase right? One way is to lean on the technology available. Successful automation vendors such as Automation Anywhere, UiPath, Edgeverve and others provide process mining/discovery tools, which act as a business analyst within your business. The tool watches and understands what your business process is, how long it takes to do the process, how often is the process executed, and what is the complexity of the process to automate. Taking all of this into consideration, the tool proposes processes for your roadmap and also, which process is ideal to start with.

The decision to deploy RPA is a strategic business initiative and the first steps have a huge impact on the journey ahead. Make sure that first step is in the right direction.

9th December 2020

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