Maybe you have robust process monitoring at your disposal, or maybe you have already implemented a full process mining solution. Perhaps you are very industry savvy and confident in knowing which of your processes are ripe for RPA. If not, please refer to our guide on RPA process identification.
The key to succeeding quickly with RPA is to start by selecting very simple and robust processes which have little-to-no automation. These processes need to be highly standardized, meaning that when different humans perform the manual task, they do it in exactly the same way. Ideally they should be processes which don't allow the human workers to "get creative" or introduce variance into the methods. In other words, they should be tightly controlled, generally repetitive and require little-to-no creative deviations. One great method is using process flows to visually identify candidates. Later, after these small but key successes, you can look towards challenging some more complicated processes using bots with a higher degree of AI and flexibility.
Once you've identified ideal candidate processes for rapid RPA implementation you and your team should consider several factors when choosing the correct bot. Roboco's experts can assist with this! The first factor to consider is ease of use. There are many programmable RPA tools which require programmers to research the target processes and develop semi-taylored solutions. These tools are more suited for complex and unattended tasks. However, for this purpose we suggest first focusing on the emerging pool of no-code RPA tools. Users of these tools use visual UI, drag-and-drop, and traditional macro-recording to program the bots. These tools are well suited to the quick-start purpose because they reduce development overhead and allow your team to quickly test different configurations. In total, there are roughly 5 different ways to program bots: coding, low-code (supported by UI), recording, no-code tools, and self-learning tools. As mentioned, for this guide, we will focus on the no-code and recording style programmable bots.
For more in-depth information on selecting the correct bot and vendor for your unique needs, click the link below.
Many automation solution providers are beginning to pitch the virtues of their UX programming options. These no-code, low-code, or drag-and-drop solutions certainly seem to be the way forward in many cases, especially in the
quick-start and testing realm. However, many first-generation RPA companies are just starting to expand into this space. As such, many of their no-code options are new and customers often find them still too complex or cumbersome to build with. To make the tools function effectively, they often end up resorting to involving developers and programming the solutions. For this purpose, we suggest focusing on 2nd-generation RPA vendors, which were started in the 2010s. Some examples of companies with robust no-code solutions include Argos Labs, which recently competed openly with a coded solution vendor and won on several fronts. WorkFusion is another great example, with a free single bot in their express category. You can set up your RPA solution completely with their no-code, drag-and-drop builder.
It is important to remember that the business process will undergo many changes as your team begins to automate it. For this reason, it is important that your testing remains flexible and able to adapt as required. It may seem obvious, but testing your new bots should never be done on your company's live data. Always create a test set of data isolated from the active systems, one which does not impact your business if it is damaged or destroyed. Next, put together a list of required scenarios which need to be validated. These test scenarios should represent the primary process flow, as well as any edge-cases found in your data. Determine the reliability criteria of your bots. What percent of the time can they error and still provide an advantage? Gather a list of test-scenarios(in excel is fine). Next include the various expected input data as noted above, add another column for the expected and actual results, and finally include a column to record passes and failures.
It is important to assure that your test data accurately represents the actual data used by the company. Inaccurate test data can lengthen testing time and cause costly errors upon go-live. Finally, if the results of the testing show an error rate higher than is acceptable, carefully document the errors found. Apply proven quality control principles to the bot processes to diagnose and eliminate the bugs and improve your automation. Robopro offers expertise in testing and improving bot implementation, so you don't have to tackle it all on your own! The final stage of testing is to run a pilot program. Invite users and office workers from outside the RPA team to test the automation (if it is attended). Or bring in a larger, less curated, or random dataset to test against your newly honed (unattended) bots' mettle!
Depending on your company's size and culture, it is usually essential to get team buy-in prior to going live with any automation. People can become resistant very quickly if they think automation will threaten their jobs. It is important to remember to put people first. Remind them that these automation tools are not designed to replace people, but rather to free them from monotonous and repetitive tasks. Successful implementation means your human workforce will be free to focus on more interesting, creative, or human-focused tasks. Be prepared to offer training and advancement opportunities to those interested.
There will be roadblocks, setbacks, and difficulties in the go-live phase. Even the most thorough and careful testing does not assure a smooth release in every case. Prepare your team for the day, and make sure they are all aware of potential difficulties. Remain flexible, and have experts such as those at Robopro on hand to help. Nothing worth doing is easy, and certainly not going-live with new automation. But, if done correctly, it is very, very worth it. Monitor your automation closely, and document any errors in the go-live process. Just as in the testing phase, submit these errors to proper quality-control methods and watch them disappear.
This stage is covered in more detail under step 4 of our monitor and sustain section of process-mining implementation. Remember that your bots cannot simply be deployed and then left to their own devices. They will require careful monitoring, especially in the first few weeks and months of activity. Continue to meet with your RPA team and review the results. For the purpose of this quickstart guide, a few weeks of data may be enough (depending on the process and organization) to prove the concept in your company and build an effective pitch for investment in full-scale RPA systems. Finally, always congratulate your team on their success, and enjoy your more efficient and less monotonous work environment!