So you’ve built your first bot or two. You’ve deliberately tested it, seen the first results, estimated the ROI, and what’s more important, you’ve seen your company’s excitement about the automation potential. What if this excitement turned to a desire to build a hundred similar bots? What if your team is responsible for doing that? Are you well-prepared to guarantee successful RPA scaling?
The truth is that building a bot is simple, but building a hundred of them… can be complicated. Especially for IT teams, which in most cases are accountable for the results.
Most of the time, it is not the technology that makes scaling RPA challenging, but the lack of systematic approach and proper governance across the company and its departments.
In this article, we will discuss these and some other challenges that IT departments face when trying to scale automations. We will guide you on how ElectroNeek products can help your team overcome these challenges, and provide you with some real-life examples of successful RPA implementation and scaling initiated by IT teams and powered by ElectroNeek bots.
RPA implementation and scaling: challenges for IT teams
Generally, there are 7 key challenges that IT teams face when it comes to scaling automation.
1. Separation of powers: IT vs Business
Traditionally, digital transformation initiatives, including traditional automation, are IT teams’ responsibility. However, when it comes to RPA, the situation is quite different. As RPA is perceived as a no-code/low-code technology and marketed by most vendors as something that requires almost no IT team involvement, in most companies RPA implementation projects are overlooked by IT departments.
Yes, RPA is a straightforward technology, and it requires minimal IT involvement, but minimal does not mean zero. When a company goes through the PoC process and initiates scaling, IT reps are needed, as they are the main people who are responsible for proper hosting, security, governance and quality assurance of the automation projects. As a result, when it comes to scaling, many businesses fail to achieve the same outstanding results as they did with the first implementation experience.
The proper separation of tasks and responsibilities helps to implement a systematic approach and achieve lasting results.
2. Lack of change management strategy
RPA is a flexible technology. It involves interacting with multiple applications and systems, including the legacy ones. And as a business evolves, the business operations also transform and are modified. This means that any minor changes in system interfaces will impact the final results. Hence, IT teams need to ensure that the relevant scripts are properly updated and adjusted, based on the existing automation processes.
3. Lack of talent
Though your team members can be highly qualified when it comes to traditional heavyweight IT solutions, they can still face difficulties with RPA due to the lack of experience and use cases. That is why proper training should be provided prior to the rollout.
4. Improper automation management and administration
This one comes from the several points mentioned above. The poor separation of powers, lack of team members with clear responsibilities, and limited involvement of IT teams in workflow review and optimization may lead to drastic consequences, including security and privileged access policy breaches.
5. Increasing cost of bot administration
Most of the organizations gradually phase out automation initiatives due to the increasing number of bot licenses they need to acquire from a vendor and thus increasing costs of automation. However, higher competition in the RPA technology market leads to new revolutionary licensing models that allow scaling cost-efficiently and makes RPA technology more affordable overall.
Learn more: RPA for IT Teams
6. Choosing the right processes for automation
This challenge is one of the toughest for the majority of organizations. Once IT teams indicate and implement RPA on low-hanging fruit and receive the first outcomes, they are rushed by the business to scale these results. Such a superficial approach leads to mistakes in choosing the right processes for automation. RPA is suitable for repetitive, rule-based tasks performed in the highest volumes. Therefore, IT teams need to make it clear to the management that, before scaling, proper RPA process analysis should be conducted.
RPA deals not only with simple copy-and-paste activities (though they are the prime candidates for automation) but also with more complex tasks that require more human intervention and exception management. Based on the financial viability of such tasks, the proper automation plan can be created.
7. Lack of organizational support
Since RPA is typically implemented on small tasks within a specific department, the impact of the solution may not be visible for the whole organization. To successfully scale RPA across the organization, IT teams should involve the key company stakeholders in assessing the impact of RPA from the very beginning. That is the only way to show the benefits of RPA and find support in scaling on a C-suite level
How ElectroNeek can help: 4 best practices
ElectroNeek’s vast experience of working with IT teams has allowed us to elaborate on several best practices for successful RPA scaling initiatives.
Practice #1: Creating a Center of Excellence
Even if in your organization the business and IT responsibilities are clearly separated, creating a Center of Excellence is the key to a solid RPA scaling strategy.
Creating a Center of Excellence includes a dedicated team of trained RPA professionals who are responsible for:
This includes steps to deliver RPA integration into the existing company structure, change management, set up roles and responsibilities for the responsible team members, and perform training.
With ElectroNeek online Academy and certification, Community forum, and extensive Knowledge Base training and guiding your team while they are doing their first RPA, these steps can become seamless.
Setting up compliance procedures, access management, and security standards is another aspect that falls under the functionalities of the Center of Excellence.
Practice #2: Technology and the right tooling
Choosing the right tools, building the right architecture for ROE (Robotic Operating Environment), maintenance and support are crucial when it comes to scaling robotics.
Not everything mentioned above requires extensive time and resources consumption. With the right tools, such as ElectroNeek Orchestrator and its multi-tenancy functionality, IT teams’ automation control and management can become a hassle-free activity.
Learn more: ElectroNeek SaaS Orchestrator
What Orchestrator can do for you:
- Bot Deployment and Management
It allows deploying bots on site and getting access to them in the cloud and from a wide range of devices, including mobile. By scheduling launch and active time, you can better adjust bots to the appropriate schedule.
You can control and monitor all the bots in your ecosystem and feel confident about the security of the process guaranteed by AWS Guard Duty.
Robotic Process Automation in scale implies switching between multiple apps and systems. Zapier/IFTTT connections will speed up your workflows by automating these activities for your team. Launching bots from a browser or any external application by using webhooks makes the whole process even more flexible.
Overall, APIs, webhooks, Zapier, and SaaS integrations significantly increase your RPA bots capabilities.
- Log Trails
Log trails as a part of Orchestrator functionality help you ensure enhanced governance level and provides you with improved monitoring and auditing capabilities for your active automations.
Practice #3: Process assessment
In order to assess the potential of all automation-prone processes within an organization, an IT team should spend a significant amount of time testing and analyzing the pilot automation development, deployment, and testing stages, as well as the overall automation results.
Bot Runner monitors user actions and identifies patterns of repetitive routines, analyzes how employees interact with different software, indicates which software takes up most of the employees’ time, and suggests automation opportunities.
Practice #4: Licensing model and cost efficiency
We’ve listed an increasing cost of automation as one of the main obstacles to scaling. Taking into account that typically RPA vendors charge end users twice (for running their first workflow and for each process they want to build independently and concurrently), automation becomes an unaffordable luxury for most companies. The higher the cost of automation, the more difficult it becomes for IT teams to convey the benefits of automation to C-Suite.
With ElectroNeek, IT teams pay only for an integrated development environment (Studio Pro) and can build an unlimited number of bots free of charge as ElectroNeek provides free bot licenses. This allows IT teams to scale up RPA initiatives exponentially and see ROI within a few weeks after implementing RPA.
Cases: how IT teams implement and scale ElectroNeek bots
Below we showcase several success stories from companies of different sizes where IT teams successfully implemented ElectroNeek RPA across company functions, which impacted the overall productivity and significantly accelerated companies’ automation adoption pace.
Pronto Insurance implemented ElectroNeek to synchronize two custom IT systems that saved 2,000+ FTE hours annually for insurance agents and eliminated overtime.
Using ElectroNeek bots, Electrolux boosted their account and document processing cycle, saved more than 14,000 FTE hours, and reduced the duration of their accounts receivable processing cycle by 10%.
According to Deloitte, only 3% of organizations in 2020 managed to scale Robotic Process Automation in their organizations. Given the serious challenges that IT teams face and that we’ve revealed in this article, this percentage does not seem exaggerated but all too real.
In a nutshell, it all goes down to the situation when the bulk of company automation budgets are spent on commercial software, bot licenses, and other technology-related aspects, while it should be invested in the most valuable asset, i.e. employees accountable for the project success. It is a safe bet to assume that in these cases RPA initiatives will probably fail due to the lack of qualified and properly trained staff and poor support from a business.
The only way to avoid this failure is to address the right vendor with a reliable product and a fair licensing model. In this case, you will be able to build a systematic approach to RPA scaling and see outstanding outcomes in terms of both productivity and cost-efficiency.
If your IT team wants to achieve seamless and secured scalability and is searching for an affordable product, ElectroNeek is obviously the right choice.
Want to find out more about our capabilities? Book a demo and see how ElectroNeek fits your scalability needs.