Planning for Benefits From RPA

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We see this all the time; our clients build an internal capability with RPA and get really good at implementations; automating some great stuff for their business areas. But they’re set-up as a technology function or a silo within a business unit and don’t establish a framework to engage the right parts of the business so that they can make their financial benefits happen.

When RPA is a strategic direction for a firm, which is more and more common, it can get investment from the top levels of business and organisations can build out solid development, project management and testing capabilities. Often with well-established IT infrastructure and the support of their internal IT function.

They can automate important processes within departments and track themselves on releasing ‘people-hours’ of capacity back to the business units. That’s great. It frees up capacity, reduces the monotony of work for staff and can take the pressure off areas which are struggling to grow or to meet SLAs.

But when it comes to evidencing the value of RPA to the organisation and to senior leadership; things get tricky. Capacity released doesn’t always translate to a boost in customer service or a financial saving; so, we’d ask clients to look into three areas that can get neglected:

  • Have you got a consistent message around RPA and its impact on business units? If so, are you engaged with a communications team that can spread that message for you?
  • Have you got the buy-in from management within the departments that they will commit to headcount reductions or the use of this time to scale up higher-value work?
  • Have you got in place a way to interact with, and get necessary resources from, your HR function and from internal change or transformation teams?

Getting the benefits from an RPA implementation often requires re-structuring as parts of jobs get automated. Rarely will you have a situation where whole jobs go, so effort needs to go into how to re-shape roles and departments to make these cuts or enable their move up the value chain.

Often this is lost in the enthusiasm to get robots deployed and get automating work for internal clients. It can be passed over by managers eager to augment their workforce but not so eager to held accountable for making savings and realising benefit profiles.

When we help organisations set up their internal capabilities (or CoEs), we focus on these relationships and the frameworks that support them; to ensure that, when we leave, our clients are not only able to identify and automate processes, but also to realise the benefits that automation can bring. 


This article was sourced originally from the LinkedIn page of Joe Wheately, Senior Consultant at Symphony Ventures.

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