Understanding the link between RPA and Digital Transformation for your business
Digital Transformation becomes possible when organisations adopt a continuous improvement and technology investment mindset. It is this mindset that enables organisation to establish agile systems and processes that adapt as the business evolves.
Essentially, the ultimate goal of the Digital Transformation process is identifying which systems and business processes will deliver the greatest competitive advantage for the organisation and focusing on implementing and embedding these in the organisation. True transformation comes when your organisation doesn’t have information locked in silos and is dependent on employees to link those silos. Instead, automation connects those silos to deliver value to customers and employees, and employees time are refocused on identifying and developing value add and innovative initiatives. While essential, Digital Transformation takes time.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a term that is often associated with Digital Transformation. While there is a large amount of overlap between the goals of RPA and Digital Transformation, RPA is only one of many intelligent software solution platforms employed as part of an organisation’s Digital Transformation implementation plan.
The primary goal of Robotic Process Automation is to allow enterprises to eliminate manual tasks to improve efficiency and utilise technology to shift human tasks from the mundane to the high value. RPA should never be considered as a substitute for the digitisation of your business or broad scale plans to improve the customer experience. Instead, it needs to be used in targeted areas to speed up the larger Digital Transformation effort so that it can progress to completion in a shorter time frame.
In this article we will look at what RPA and Digital Transformation should mean in the context of the journey of your business and the role they should each ideally play to maximise the benefits they offer.
The role of RPA and how to realise its benefits
RPA is becoming highly effective at eliminating many manual tasks and freeing staff to focus on high value work such as problem solving or delivering close customer interactions. RPA is not a single business application but an automation platform which interacts with a wide range of software-driven platforms and technologies. This is beneficial in that it can be used to automate numerous tasks and process spanning different business applications and industries including media, finance, insurance, manufacturing, legal, primary infrastructure, and hospitality.
While RPA can eliminate highly mundane and repetitive tasks and significantly reduce human error, it is not a magic tool that can automate whole swathes of the business.
To realise the greatest benefits of RPA, you need to have enough tasks to automate and investment needs to be scaled over time. It is actually common to find that some business processes are too complex, variable, or require too many resources to be cost effectively automated. The best ROI is achieved when RPA is used to automate highly standardised or simplified rules-based processes. In this scenario, bots can perform tasks exactly as instructed as the underlying functions are well understood and stable.
When implementing RPA programs, make sure you first improve and standardise your processes before you attempt to automate them. If you try and automate inefficient processes, this usually just leads to poor bot performance or results in business disruptions further down the track.
You should also adopt a “software plus people mindset” when investing in and implementing RPA. Despite many misconceptions, RPA is not about to lead to massive job losses. People are still needed at key process points to triage, validate, approve, and handoff tasks. Workers additionally need to undergo training to learn how to implement, collaborate with, and manage RPA platforms.
Why RPA is just one part of the Digital Transformation journey
The reason that RPA cannot become the sole driver of Digital Transformation within an enterprise is that RPA essentially treats the symptoms of information disconnects rather than their cause. While it can improve the efficiency of workflows through automation, it cannot transform that system. RPA bots automate highly rule-based processes. Any changes in underlying systems can cause the bots to stop working.
RPA is one of many available intelligent automation strategies that can be implemented and may not always be the best application for a problem that needs to be solved. It helps organisations speed up the Digital Transformation process by allowing them to automate some tasks without having to wait for the entire transformation to be complete. When used properly, it can help businesses make great efficiency improvements in a short time frame.
Ultimately, progressing your Digital Transformation involves the coordinated implementation of RPA, machine learning, and artificial intelligence technologies – all of which have different capabilities. And all of which are also advancing and evolving at a rapid rate. Therefore, it is always best to view RPA as just one arrow in your Digital Transformation quiver.
If you would like to learn more about how you can start implementing RPA to great effect today or where RPA best fits into your overall Digital Transformation strategy, talk to the experts at ECLEVA.