Why RPA projects fail (and how to make sure yours doesn’t)

2018-12-06 15:28:44.0 by Alyssa Putzer

We love robotic process automation (RPA), and our customers have seen some serious success and ROI after implementing RPA technology. However, we also recognize that there are many RPA implementation projects that fail, or that don’t generate the expected ROI or efficiency gains. This does not mean that the technology is bad or that the vendor did not implement correctly. In fact, a failed RPA project can occur for a variety of reasons.

Problem 1: Bad Processes

Many believe that implementing RPA will be an automatic fix to their bad processes. Unfortunately, this is not the case. RPA does not fix bad processes and procedures, it only makes the bad processes and procedures faster. It’s important that companies analyze their processes prior to integrating RPA technology to make sure their procedures are streamlined and can easily be automated.

Problem 2: Automating Complex Processes

It may be called robotic process automation, but RPA is best used to automate specific tasks rather than entire processes. Unfortunately, companies don’t always look at it this way. When companies hear “automation,” they often underestimate how complex the processes that they are trying to automate are. Companies may get discouraged when they try to automate an entire process and abandon the project altogether.

Problem 3: Too Much Automation

Once you start experiencing the benefits of automation, it’s hard to stop. But take our word for it: Stop! RPA is designed to automate tasks, rather than processes. And those tasks are often extremely repetitive and menial. And a successful automation results when RPA is implemented into processes that are already streamlined, but are currently human-intensive and manual. RPA can’t deliver results when it is disjointed, so companies should focus on a specific, manual, repetitive task and start and continue to look for other opportunities to automate down the road.

Here’s the good news: You can take steps to make sure that your RPA implementation is successful.

Fix 1: Humans and Robots Working Together

RPA can’t eliminate all human intervention – and you don’t want it to! Humans are a valuable part of your organization, and you want to keep them around. By using RPA to automate the manual, repetitive processes, it frees up your staff to focus on more high-value work that requires decision-making and a more strategic approach.

Fix 2: Focus on Basic Automation

Look at the flow of your organization from a holistic standpoint. What are the basic tasks that each part of your organization is doing? By integrating RPA into parts of the organization and focusing on basic automation, you can eventually achieve a bigger digital transformation and end-to-end automation.

Fix 3: Think Strategically

What are the areas of your enterprise that could greatly benefit from automation? Start where you know you can experience the most substantial ROI and where you know the impact will be the greatest. You can always expand across the enterprise and continue with a full digital transformation.

So if you’re thinking about automating RPA, don’t let this discourage you! You can easily turn around a bad integration by thinking strategically, starting small, and encouraging humans to work with automation. Some projects fail, but yours doesn’t have to and you can go forward and experience the efficiency gains and substantial ROI that RPA has the ability to generate.

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