Making the first steps in your RPA journey

Automation is an urgent priority for you and your organisation – but where do you start? Confirm what the priorities should be, in order to reap the full benefits of automation as soon as possible. Here are the most critical elements that you should consider at the beginning of your RPA journey.

All successful journeys start with good preparation. Begin with a clear idea of the end destination and the pathway to reach there.

The RPA journey must be synchronised with the organisation’s strategic direction to avoid being side-tracked by lower priority processes which wouldn’t deliver the required benefits.

From experience, buy-in support from the C-level will typically maximise the potential for the success of the RPA programme, as they will effectively champion adoption as well as advocate budget requirements and evangelise the programme across the organisation.

A strong, clearly defined and coordinated relationship between the business and IT is essential, with the business leading the way, focused on the primary drivers and goals which create organisational value and the IT organisation enabling these goals by developing future-proof enterprise architecture for maximum extensibility and deployment velocity.

Introducing a robust programme governance framework from the start will help align everybody’s expectations, avoid confusion and ensure that the appropriate resources are identified and made available to ensure success.

Every organisation is different, with different strategic priorities, so every RPA journey can be unique based on the process complexities, timelines, resourcing and compliance requirements. There are, however, usually four stages when beginning an RPA journey for the first time:

1. Art of the Possible Programme Kick-off.     The first critical steps are to mobilise the key players in the organisation and explore the art of the possible for RPA in your organisation. As well as defining a clear “why” for the RPA programme, it allows organisations to decide on the role they should play in the implementation, what automation strategic partnerships are needed, the preliminary activities to commence the project plus a pipeline of future suitable candidates to join the project.

2. The Pilot and Proof of Value (PPOV).     Involves prioritising the development and deployment of the first key process automation. This phase is also where the essential IT infrastructure and architecture are agreed and developed to support this and phases to follow:

    • Process discovery and design
    • System access and permissions
    • RPA IT environments created (on prem, cloud, hybrid)
    • Solution build and testing
    • Controlled-live user testing

3. Go-Live Release Control Readiness.     It’s at this stage that the first automated process can be fully deployed in a live production environment, also enabling greater definition of the operating model. The major deliverables include:

      • Assess operational impact assessment and continuity plans
      • Define support and maintenance requirements
      • Establishing operational responsibility matrix
      • Live running of robots
        • In parallel with go-live, the RPA champions continue to prioritise automation candidates and showcase the programme success across the organisation

4. Best Practices.     This phase involves establishing and operationalising best practices for the RPA programme. This includes convening a governance board and implementing the governance and service delivery frameworks. Beyond including these practices into the organisation’s culture, the sponsors and stakeholders need to continue evangelising the benefits of the RPA programme whilst promoting RPA as a key enabler of transformation and organisational performance across all business lines.

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