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Do You Need Robotic Process Automation Consulting?

Robotic process automation (RPA for short) has become a major focus for organizations over the last number of years, largely because of two distinct reasons.

Firstly, there’s the increased desire among businesses to adopt automation technology because of the benefits that can be garnered from it—most notably in productivity, efficiency, and aiding the decision making.

Secondly, the availability of RPA solutions, like Kofax RPA, means that the tech is more widespread than ever, allowing businesses, SMBs in particular, to have access to advanced software solutions in a way that has not previously been possible.

This is to a great extent due to the rise of software-as-a-service platforms, which offer organizations the ability to scale their solutions at their discretion, negating the necessity to invest in expensive on-premise servers and equipment.

As of June 2021, 20% of all organizations have adopted RPA in 2021, rising from the 13% adoption rate in 2020.

Robotic Process Automation Consulting

Consulting for robotic process automation involves an end-to-end process beginning with identification and ending with its delivery and deployment.

For companies that have an internal IT staff capable of heading automation initiatives, they may well elect to have the process performed in-house or only use minor outside support.

The primary issue with this is that for the majority of businesses, hiring a full team of automation specialists is simply unfeasible from a budget perspective.

Much like cybersecurity, which is another area of technology that is often prohibitively expensive for organizations to have conducted in-house, automation, along with other aspects of digital innovation, is often best outsourced to a service provider.

The Process for RPA Consulting

When you engage with a provider for robotic process automation consulting, they will use an approach that will outline what needs to be done, before progressively fine-tuning the designated workflow until it’s performing as anticipated.

Here are the key aspects of an RPA development process that you can expect an RPA consulting team to follow.

Identify

The first thing that should be done in any RPA project is to identify opportunities for automation within an organization.

The business decision makers may already have a clear idea about what they want automated, but without a thorough professional audit of the organization and its processes, it’s difficult to conclude with certainty that every possible candidate for automation has been scoped out.

RPA consultants will assess your processes from top to bottom.

This will involve identifying employees who are working with workflows and processes that are predominantly manual in nature.

They will typically be looking for the following:

  • Accessing data manually
  • Moving information through workflows manually
  • Manually performing data entry and database consistency checks
  • Uploading the same data to different company systems individually

These are just a few examples of the kinds of tasks a robotic process automation consultant will be looking for when identifying processes.

As you will have noted, this primarily concerns recognizing manual tasks that are consuming resources.

Assess

At this stage, the RPA consultant will assess the identified processes and determine all the variables and details involved in them on an individual basis.

This includes details about a task’s execution, particularly with regard to variables like handling time, total time for the process to take place, and the error rate.

In addition to this, tasks will be broken down into categories depending on their nature.

For example, ad-hoc, repeatable, and consistent. This helps the consultant understand the extent to which certain tasks can be automated and whether or not they will need to use attended (requires human input) or unattended bots (does not require human input).

There are a number of other aspects involved in the process assessment part of an RPA consultation, but the ideal end goal in mind is to have information at hand that will help drive the priorities and needs for the automation program with regard to the specific working processes. 

Design

The design phase of the RPA process is where the tasks that are to be automated will be defined and modeled in terms of what they will end up as.

In effect, design is how the developers can get a clear understanding of exactly each workflow will look like.

This means mapping out the processes and determining any dependencies for the automation program—such as systems and solutions it receives or delivers data to.

Once design is concluded, developers and stakeholders will have a blueprint (object model diagram or flowchart) and understand what needs to be automated within a task and what the requirements are for it.

Develop

This is where the developers will write the automation scripts according to the requirements outlined in the design phase with the designated automation tool.

Depending on a business’ resource allocation, the RPA consultant will determine how many bots should be used and which processes should be prioritized.

Most organizations will likely want to target “quick wins”. In other words, manual tasks that are readily automatable and will offer more value than other jobs.

A common example of this would be automating order processing for an ecommerce business.

Test

After each bot is developed for the necessary task, testing will be conducted to ensure that it’s operating as expected.

The reason for this is simply that the more thoroughly bots can be test tested for their tasks, the smoother the eventual deployment will be and as a result the likelihood of debugging will be lessened.

This is also an opportunity for developers and stakeholders to come together and assess the potential success of the developed bot—is it performing as hoped and is it provided real value to processes and the end users?

Deployment and Maintenance

Now the bots are ready to go, it’s time to implement them into the workflows.

This is where end users will have the opportunity to see them in action and raise awareness of issues that can then be ironed out—though the majority of these will have been caught in the testing phase.

Once RPA integration is complete, the RPA consultant should continuously monitor the bots to ensure they’re performing as expected and recognize emerging issues should they arise.

If there are glitches or process changes that need to be addressed and remediated, this final stage is where that will happen.

Conclusion

This overview of the phases involved in an RPA initiative should give you a general understanding of what makes up the process.

Automation is not a simple task, and providers offer the best course of action for organizations that want to improve their processes.

Robotic process automation consultants will follow this outlined program for RPA implementation, and businesses are recommended to contact an RPA provider to get the ball rolling on their plans.

If you’re interested in automation for your business, visit our Robotic Process Automation page and discover how Impact can provide you the services you need.