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#4 Things Not to Do In Your RPA Deployments The most common error is to keep legacy processes rigid and not target low-or-medium-complexity processes that return the fastest and greatest efficiency savings

By Ankur Kothari

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is on a roll. A third of the world's enterprises are currently making serious investments in RPA. And a survey by Horses for Sources found that 58% of companies have either been "satisfied' or "very satisfied' with RPA's ability to drive costs down and realize surprising business value.

But RPA success isn't a slam dunk. Ernst & Young has found that as many as 30% to 50% of initial RPA projects fail. The reason can be traced to a handful of factors. Here are the four things you should not do if you want your RPA deployment to succeed.

No. 1: Treat RPA as an IT rather than Business Initiative

IT is of course an essential partner in all business transformations and that includes RPA. But when IT is in charge, the focus is understandably on the technology. Does it work as promised? Is it secure? Can it automate processes that require automating? Now, these are important questions. But the business case must come first. What are thebusiness objectives? What will the RPA initiative cost? What is the expected ROI — and its timing? And, most importantly, how is the workforce impacted after the business processes are automated? It's important to delineate the roles of the business and of IT carefully. A strong RPA initiative is led by the business partnered with IT and with proactive input by HR and other relevant corporate functions.

No. 2: Focus Exclusively on Cost-savings

Yes, one of the main objectives of RPA is to cut costs. But to focus entirely on cost savings is a mistake. You'll generate greater enthusiasm among everyone in the organization – from senior executives to the people who will actually implement and scale RPA automation– if you emphasize that you will be accomplishing a lot more than simply trimming expenses.

Identifying other, transformative benefits such as improving efficiency, enhancing customer service, growing revenues, increasing productivity, and increasing job satisfaction will help you evangelize the beginning of your RPA journey – one that is likely to impact the entire enterprise – and drive more interest in making RPA a success. Remember, RPA is not just about automation but rather about improving service.

No. 3: Target the Wrong Processes as Candidates for RPA

The most common mistake is to target overly complex processes and attempt to remove human workers entirely from them. But this leads to extra costs and considerably more deployment time—extending implementation from weeks to many months.

The second most common error is to keep legacy processes rigid without trying to rethink them. Your first goal should be to target low-or medium-complexity processes that return the fastest and greatest efficiency savings.

Develop a process scorecard to optimize your RPA returns. You should seek processes that are the easiest and fastestto automate, and which offer the highest ROI.

When processes are complex and require a lot of human interaction, automate the lowest-hanging fruit and return to the more complicated tasks later when you have more RPA experience. In fact, experts advise to think of RPA as a human assistant, rather than a human replacement. Thus the best way to view RPA is as the ultimate "helper," carrying out the basic repetitive work in a process and enabling humans to do the more interesting, higher-value tasks.

No. 4: Don't Manage Expectations

Managing the expectations of those impacted by RPA, which includes more stakeholders than you might think across the organization, is critical.

You will find that people have both unrealistically optimistic as well as gloomy expectations regarding outcomes at first. Encourage everyone to think of the advantages of the technology, and stress that the goal is to free employees from repetitive and tedious work. It's especially important to focus on the employees most impacted by the inherent changes brought by RPA. Also, keep careful track of everything that happens in the newly automated workplace. You should be prepared to celebrate successes as well as deal with the unexpected.

In Conclusion

RPA is achieving impressive results for enterprises of all sizes and throughout all industries. Your chances of getting a fast and high ROI on your RPA efforts are good as long as you follow some basic rules. By avoiding these four mistakes, you are well on your way to writing the next RPA success story.

Ankur Kothari

Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer, Automation Anywhere

Ankur is the Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer and heads Automation Anywhere’s global revenue generation and customer operations (which includes sales, services, support, channel management) strategies. In this role, he has been a key driving force right from the company’s inception, playing critical leadership roles in determining and implementing the company’s vision and strategy, as well as in the engineering, product, services, and support divisions.

Ankur is a Computer Science graduate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and has over 15 years’ of experience in the software industry. As a veteran, he has developed a unique business perspective globally in extending the value of automation to new markets.

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