7 RPA questions to ask if you’re thinking about automation
Even the most dynamic organizations require employees to undertake a number of mundane tasks. Take, for example, manually transferring data from one software application to another: it’s not only tedious but also high-risk for making errors.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a virtual software robot workforce that performs repetitive tasks and frees up employees to focus on the more fulfilling and impactful aspects of their jobs. While RPA resolves individual assignments with speed, agility, and efficiency, when used alongside other automation technologies it can also automate processes across an organization to deliver company-wide outcomes and prove significant ROI.
Here are seven RPA questions to ask before implementation:
1. Does the process really need automation?
Just because you can automate a process, doesn’t mean you should. Before investing in RPA, you need to consider how the process—in its current state—is meeting expectations, budgets, and other targets. Automation won’t fix a broken process. We always take a deep dive into process documentation and analytics before moving forward.
2. How do you select which processes to automate?
It can seem overwhelming to determine the best bang for your effort-and-optimization buck. Ideally, you want to automate processes that will reduce manual steps and increase production speed. Machine learning and automation intelligence tools such as process discovery and task mining can help us to easily identify and automatically build the highest ROI automations.
3. Are you using the right tools to automate?
RPA is not the right answer for every challenge. More complex or human-centered processes will require complementary technology such as workflow automation, automated document creation, and eSignatures. You need to collaborate with a solution provider who does much more than just RPA. You need a partner that can analyze your organization as a whole and recommend where to use RPA and where to use other solutions.
4. Which skillsets are required to implement RPA?
Never fear: it’s quite alright if you don’t have onsite programmers to help build out your RPA transformation. Many RPA products don’t require you to code. Business analysts and citizen developers—like process experts— can support the process with drag-and-drop tools.
5. What tasks can be fully automated, and what tasks require human assistance?
Many RPA automations are unattended in nature, meaning they are implemented by an IT team and run behind the scenes, moving data between backend systems. RPA robots are now increasingly attended, requiring some form of human interaction, where bots work side-by-side with humans to help them perform tasks more efficiently. For example, in a real-time phone call with a client, bots can support the call center agent by running queries and delivering purchase histories to assist in upsell efforts.
6. Do you have any training needs that RPA can assist with?
Some human-centric processes that cannot be automated can still be optimized through guided learning and executed by RPA bots, showing users what to click and where. If a new employee needs to execute a high-dollar purchase, they can be guided step-by-step by bots in a “show me what to do” mode. These “guided attended” bots are useful in a broad array of training scenarios and to double-check already completed work against preconfigured business rules.
7. What business outcomes are you expecting?
The last RPA question—but by no means the least—involves thinking about the organization’s overall goals. Are you aiming to cut costs? Accelerate turnaround times? Save time for employees to focus on higher-value tasks? Consider how RPA sits within your overall digital transformation journey. Is it just RPA that you need? Or is RPA just one component in a wider strategy toward a greater automation goal that includes process discovery, process documentation and management, workflow, and analytics? Once in motion, it is difficult to change platforms and vendors, and integrate between them, so consider who you’re working with and if they’ll be able to help you achieve your broader automation and efficiency goals.
Schedule a demo now to see how Nintex RPA can drive significant ROI by automating processes across your organization.