Robotic process automation is on the rise. The global RPA market is expected to reach a revenue of $13.74 billion by 2028, driven by organizations across the world looking to increase efficiency and reduce overheads. However, in their understandable haste to start deploying this technology and reaping immediate benefits, many businesses may not be maximizing its potential, or even be aware of the total value that RPA offers.
With that in mind, we want to explore how to formulate an RPA strategy for your business to ensure you’re getting maximum value.
Why strategy matters if you want to improve RPA
First of all, some readers may be wondering why you need an RPA strategy at all. “You’re overthinking this”, you might say. “What’s there to be strategic about?”
Plenty. Like any other technology investment, robotic process automation should be carefully considered in a wider context, and in terms of deeper goals. Implementing RPA where it isn’t needed or where it doesn’t deliver the most value is a wasted opportunity – and a waste of your investment. It isn’t a magic wand or a miracle cure-all, but RPA is a powerful and versatile tool for optimizing your business operations in all kinds of ways. And the first step is to start thinking in terms of your processes and use cases.
Suitable or not?
If you’ve got a project that requires large amounts of data to be manipulated, or a business task that requires high-volume data processing, then I’ve got good news for you: it’s likely that RPA can help. The best way to improve robotic process automation’s value is to use it in these prime opportunities.
But on the other hand, not all data-intensive activities are suitable for RPA. It’s useful to use what Forrester Research’s Craig le Clair calls “the Rule of Five”. The processes that benefit most from RPA technology usually fit these criteria:
- Less than five decisions made
- Less than five applications accessed
- Less than 500 clicks performed
Okay, so that last one was 500, not five. But it’s still a great rule, because it helps you to maximize the strength of robotic process automation—working fast—and minimize its not-so-strong point, which is dealing with complexity.
So, in summary: look out for processes that need to be performed in time-consuming high volumes – but the simpler, the better. You can find more information on this topic here.
Next, we’ll look at another technology which will help you to see which processes should go into the “suitable” bucket of your RPA strategy, and even how to fix the unsuitable ones.
Before process automation comes process mapping
By applying process mapping, you can get a better sense of the steps and participants involved in your processes, with the ultimate aim of understanding their suitability for RPA. Crucially, this understanding also allows you to streamline them where necessary.
How does the latter help? Well, if a convoluted process currently involves many different points of action to be taken, and it’s due to inefficiency rather than necessity, you’ll see where the problems are when you map it out. You’ll also see where to fix them, so a process that previously may have seemed too complex for RPA may end up being perfect. But you’ll never know until you take a good look at it.
Look out for red flags (or golden opportunities) like these:
- A rambling route – too many steps or ones that would unnecessarily interrupt RPA
- “Too many cooks” – processes with more participants than are really necessary
- Stacks of paper – paper-based manual steps that could easily be digitized
Process mapping really can be vital in helping you to improve robotic process automation implementation, so we recommend combining the two technologies every time: mapping to provide the foundation of process understanding, RPA to put that insight into action. We think using this duo well is vital to a truly strategic deployment of RPA.
Time to get strategic and improve robotic process automation implementation
We hope this article is helpful to improve RPA deployments’ success. As we’ve illustrated here, robotic process automation software like our own Nintex RPA really delivers the most value when used in coordination with a strategic approach to your processes as a whole.
And, as we’ve also suggested, RPA works hardest when used in combination with other process technologies such as our process mapping solution Nintex Promapp®. The technology also really shines when used in tandem with our process automation platform Nintex Workflow Cloud, which even enables you to insert RPA into automated workflows that can streamline a wide range of business operations.
Exploring these possibilities is really the key to improve RPA usage in your organization: thinking not about RPA in isolation but as an asset that you can use to bring out the best in other ones—or how those others can be used to improve robotic process automation. Perhaps that’s as much a mindset as a strategy.
Want to discuss how Nintex can help you make the most of RPA and the other technologies featured here? Just get in touch with us.
If you’d like to see how a selection of our customers are using RPA in their business to automate processes such as Operations, Lending, Marketing, etc, you can download our ungated whitepaper right here.