If you’re thinking about ways to implement automation in your company, you’re not alone. A recent study entitled “The State and Fate of Small and Medium Business” conducted by Xerox with Morning Consult surveyed 1,200 business decision makers from companies with 25-1,000 employees in the US, Canada, and UK. The study indicated that digital transformation and automation have become top priorities in the post-pandemic world:
- 80% of small and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders saw automating tasks and processes as important to their survival during the pandemic and moving forward.
- 82% strongly emphasize the importance of digitizing paperwork.
- Two-thirds plan on upgrading their automation tools.
- Three out of four observed an increased reliance on workflow solutions over their pre-pandemic setups.
- 65% have already upgraded their workflow solutions.
How can RPA benefit your business?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a software technology that mimics human actions for high volume, repetitive, rules-based tasks. It can achieve high levels of efficiency for these mundane and often boring tasks that are better suited to be handled by computers, freeing up humans to focus on creative, strategic, and innovative idea-making. It is important to think of RPA as a “digital assistant” that helps humans to be more efficient and focus their time on activities that require higher levels of cognition, empathy, and ingenuity. While RPA implementation is highly successful in many appropriate applications, it does not replace human workforces or populate your office with robots!
Since its inception and early introduction, RPA has experienced meteoric growth in the marketplace, supported by a significant body of highly successful use cases and measured, sustained, and demonstrable return-on-investment. It involves low/no-code programming and is relatively inexpensive and quick to implement and scale, generating ROI in a matter of months, not years. Because of its success with large businesses (100% of Fortune 500 Companies now have robust RPA programs) and the emergence of many competitive and highly versatile software platforms in the marketplace, it has reached an affordable, low-risk level of accessibility for small and medium-sized businesses who can truly begin to take advantage of its many benefits. The current job market and limited availability of staff combined with increasing demands on businesses to thrive in the digital space have accelerated our arrival at a “sweet spot” for RPA adoption.
To successfully begin implementing RPA in your organization, you must first create a strategic and thoughtful approach with some key considerations:
- Do you have workflows and processes that can be successfully and cost-effectively automated?
RPA is optimal for processes that are high volume, repeatable, and rule-based. For example, if you run a report once a month and your staff member spends five minutes creating the report, this is most likely not a candidate for automation. However, if you generate dozens of reports daily and a staff member spends hours, not minutes, pushing buttons, selecting folders, and running and emailing these reports, automation might make sense.
- Is your organization excited about digital transformation?
RPA adoption requires education, communication, cultural acceptance, and enthusiasm. It is important to build consensus and identify key leaders and stakeholders that will champion its usage as a part of your corporate culture. Your RPA team will need to include various roles including C-Suite supporters, I.T. staff and daily users that are excited and positive about change.
- Have you budgeted for the initial investment of resources?
While RPA implementation is demonstrably cost-effective and ROI can be illustrated for most processes before they are automated, there are still costs to consider including license fees for software, hardware requirements, consulting fees, and labor costs for your internal team. Initial start-up costs vary widely depending on the number and types of automations chosen, but an industry standard cost range for RPA implementation is $15,000 – $50,000.
- How will you scale up your RPA program in the future?
RPA is most successful when it is continually monitored, maintained, and scaled up. As you begin the journey, it is important to create a roadmap for future automations to maximize the full capabilities of your initial investment. Adding automations after implementation can be achieved at a much lower costs than the initial implementation and will magnify your return by achieving increasing levels of productivity and efficiency across your company.
- Will you implement RPA using in-house I.T. resources or collaborate with a consultant?
Depending on your company’s in-house I.T. capabilities, you may choose to create an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) within your own company using in-house resources. This decision may be affected by availability of RPA expertise, existing workload of current staff, and desire to create long-term autonomy. An internal CoE can still benefit from expert, outside consultation from a Managed Service Provider in the initial building phase. If you choose to work with an outside provider for RPA, it is important to select a consultant that has solid experience, certified experts on-staff, and an established history of providing ongoing services to meet your needs for support as you move forward.
Back To Business I.T. and The Greentree Group have established expertise in providing RPA for a variety of clients. Our United States Air Force RPA Center of Excellence has created a foundational understanding of the technology and its value for Government, as well as private corporate applications in a wide range of sectors including finance, manufacturing, healthcare, and many others. Our philosophy begins with helping each client thoroughly understand the opportunities, risks, and potential benefits of any technology, and partnering with you to make informed decisions to grow your business. Interested in learning more about what RPA can do for your business? Schedule a no-cost consultation here.