In the field of robotic process automation (RPA), it is no surprise that many businesses encounter the dilemma of deciding on the ideal toolset. RPA tool features are diverse and abundant, and many leading vendors claim to fit all sizes. After countless RPA projects designing, deploying, testing and orchestrating, Symphony Ventures has come across trends for successful rollout. Taking into consideration the needs of clients, and the suitability of leading RPA software in different scenarios, we have developed a set of criteria that you will find useful in your tool selection. Ultimately, success is predicated on the two aspects of any implementation, business and technical. To help businesses understand the complexities of RPA, the following essential aspects of the RPA tools will be covered in our upcoming blog series, RPA Technical Insights:
Architecture – How a tool is designed and structured has big implications for how and where it can be used, as well as the skills and controls that are needed to augment the technology. This aspect pertains to a system’s adaptability to various tasks during development and deployment. In conjunction with a formidable automation toolset, the ideal architecture can provide the capability to create complex designs efficiently and effectively.
Usability – Ease of use is the cornerstone of almost all software and for automation it can play a big role in accelerating the development of internal capabilities. It can make the overall configuration and administration of processes more efficient and easier to understand by others, which is key to the reusability of components. Moreover, superior usability can lead to quicker scalability, greater ease of deployment and higher levels of adoption.
Integration – The ability to integrate with different systems and technologies, is a core capability of RPA. Strong integration capabilities can lead to more robust, quicker and effective automations.
Exception Handling – The ability to robustly handle business and technology exceptions within the tool, and referring to experts where judgement or manual activity is required, is an essential component of RPA. This means errors during automation can be easily detected, circumvented, and in many cases, automatically resolved. Where this is not possible, or where a process has been designed to require a person to review and take action, cases are passed into a separate queue and visible in reports. With solid exception handling, the orchestration of automation in the workplace can operate in a smooth and reliable fashion.
Security - RPA deployment will almost always mean that sensitive data is being processed. As a result, security measures are an essential part of an automation toolkit that cannot be underestimated. With different vendors addressing different markets, and in doing so taking different approaches to establishing controls, finding the right solution for your needs is essential.
Configuration Features - Embedded in all RPA applications are specific features designed to accelerate and simplify the editing and configuration process. These allow for more effective deployment of automation and support the building of internal capabilities. Each RPA software boasts its own arsenal of configuration tools, each differing in use and structure and tailored to address different challenges.
Deployment Features - Once configuration and testing are complete, deployment is the next major task. Deployment features include features to roll out releases across machines, handle environment specific variables and provide security controls for deploying to a live environment. Certain businesses call for certain deployment scenarios, for which a powerful deployment toolset can pay dividends.
Vendor Support and Documentation - Having a strong link of support with RPA vendors can provide resources that facilitate ease of deployment. With several established tool providers in the market, and many new ones trying to enter, the maturity of the support organization can differ broadly. Some vendors provide access to user forums and communities, helpdesk ticketing systems and share methods and best practice. Others have professional services teams and some do not have anything as formal. A strong support organization with a robust set of documentation can minimize delays in deployment and strengthen maintenance procedures.
Since there is no RPA tool that is ideally suited for every process and organization, the true hurdle is selecting the RPA tool that most closely matches the automation profile of your business. Each component plays a significant role in the decision-making process and requires consideration. However, some may be more important to you than others, which can narrow down the list of candidates. Even during deployment, each of the eight components must be properly orchestrated to achieve the full potential of RPA.
This is part 1 of a 22 part blog series by the leading experts at Symphony Ventures. It addresses how to choose the right RPA tools for your business needs. Drawing from our global team's extensive knowledge in automation consulting, implementation, and managed services across a range of diverse industries, we've drilled into the technical criteria to consider when selecting which RPA software best solves your company's problems.