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3 Landmines You Need to Sidestep in Your Robotic Process Automation Journey

3 Landmines You Need to Sidestep in Your Robotic Process Automation Journey

There has been a lot of hype over Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in the last couple of years. The underlying technology itself is nothing new. What has changed is a renewed rigor in applying RPA technology to solve business challenges.

But make no mistakes about this: RPA is still considered an emerging (not mainstream) technology. That there hasn’t been a Gartner Magic Quadrant released on this (yet) reveals just as much.

And hence, it is not surprising that there is a dearth of case studies on how companies have successfully implemented RPA in their organizations.

Part of this is probably due to strategic considerations. Nevertheless, there are plenty of examples of organizations who seemed perpetually stuck in the Proof of Concept (PoC) or Pilot stage. Therefore, it is important to understand the common pitfalls you will encounter in your RPA journey, and how you can overcome them.

Viewing RPA as an end in itself

Or missing the forest for the trees.

Digital transformation technologies like RPA are nothing more than key enablers.

What this means is that you do need to begin with your end in mind. Understand what your strategic imperatives are, and then work backwards to see how RPA technology can be leveraged to achieve your goals.

For example, implementing RPA technology simply to reduce headcount and lower operating costs is short-termism at its worst, and rarely achieves sustained business outcomes.

For more on this, you may wish to refer to this excellent article by Peter Bendor-Samuel. We wouldn’t be able to put it any better ourselves.

Failure to on-board the entire organization in its RPA journey

We have discussed this in a previous blog post titled Who Needs IT Anyway? The gist is that it would be a folly to understate the involvement of IT in your RPA journey.

But this goes beyond just IT.

RPA, as part of a broader digital transformation initiative, typically results in seismic changes in the way an organization carries out its daily business. Or in the words of Piyush Gupta, merely applying “digital lipstick” does not suffice.

Failure to on-board the entire organization in its RPA journey

The implication is that the entire organization needs to on-board this bus heading for digital utopia. From elucidating the raison d'etre for digital transformation to the rank-and-file, to involving everyone in the digital make-over. That is, work as a team and leave no man or woman behind.

Selecting the wrong process

As we have mentioned previously, RPA is neither a silver bullet nor a panacea for all your corporate headaches. The quick rule of thumb we recommend is to be at least as selective as choosing your spouse. So that you can live happily ever after with your bots, instead of going through a messy divorce.

Refer to our blog post Great Tips for Evaluating Whether a Process is Suitable for Robotic Process Automation for more information on this topic.

Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.

As the saying goes, experience is best gained second-hand. Learn from the mistakes made by the RPA pioneers and hopefully, your own RPA journey will be a smooth ride to digital utopia.


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