With any technology, and really any major change in business, there are always barriers to entry. Occasionally these barriers are beyond the control of the business, but more often than not, they are challenges that can and should be addressed. With process automation technology, it is no different. Today we dive into a few barriers to implementation of automation technology like Robotic Process Automation (RPA)—and how to overcome them.
Lack of Skills to Facilitate
There’s a bit of an irony to the fact that there aren’t enough people to help us automate the technology, but in many cases it can be true. Having the right people on staff to properly manage and oversee automation initiatives is paramount to its success. Otherwise, you risk your process automation efforts becoming a rudderless ship, operating at the mercy of prevailing winds.
Getting the right people in these roles can mean upskilling people you already have, or recruiting new talent to guide the process automation journey. Either way, putting a specialist (or a team of them) at the helm is one way to avoid the troubled waters of mismanaged (or unmanaged) automation.
With the right platform, however, there is less pressure from this learning curve and you can more readily rely on your existing teams. With the EPSoft Intelligent Automation Platform, for example, the easy-to-use tools allow you to easily build and implement bots with simple drag-and-drop features. And with service orchestration, you can easily manage and monitor work and interactions between bots, systems and the human workforce—all in one simple dashboard.
Underestimating Change Management
Process automation is a vehicle to comprehensive transformation, which means a significant amount of change. Without proper planning, this caliber of change can create turbulence and if unmanaged, it soon thereafter can become chaos. To avoid this, change management must be approached holistically, aligning departments with each other and with broader company goals.
There are two other key factors to this alignment, and they are support and flexibility. With any process automation effort, a strategic, comprehensive plan must guide the effort from the top down. From the C-suite to upper management to individual team leaders and staff, everyone should feel part of the process and understand how it will affect their role. They should feel supported in the effort and have a clear understanding of why things are happening. This plan should also anticipate unforeseen change and challenges, and have enough flexibility that the teams can adapt as necessary.
Poor or Missing Documentation
A key aspect of automation is the business process itself. If it does not exist, it must be built. But when people must design a business process from memory, it is often incomplete, and, however unintentionally, it can also be biased. This creates a challenge, because, as mentioned, proper documentation of a process is a key component for improving it with automation. This kind of barrier can outright stall an implementation. If the process isn’t complete, or if it’s incorrect, the automation initiative (and all the time and investment that went into it) will likely not succeed.
Instead of relying on memory, businesses can get data straight from the source. With technology like EPSoft’s Process Intelligence, you can capture real-time data from your existing systems. With this raw data, you can build workflows as they currently exist and begin to understand where the problems are. Then, you’ll have a much better understanding of how and where to apply automation.
While these details will pave the way for success, keep in mind that this is an iterative process. The goal is not immediate perfection, but rather continual improvement. Do not be too concerned about creating the perfect process right out of the gates. Many of the improvements you’ll make to your processes will be progressive, building as you go and coming off the heels of new knowledge and better defined workflows.
Whenever there is talk of technology replacing work, it is natural for people to become suspicious and even resentful of the initiative. Overcome these attitudes within the workforce with transparency and take care to embrace them. Create a culture that values listening and participation in the process, and build support into your strategy.
At EPSoft, we leverage process automation to upskill our own teams. We know there is untapped potential and want to provide our teams the tools they need to unlock it. Ultimately, the technology exists to support people, not to replace them. Process automation creates an environment where people do their best work because they are supported by a digital workforce doing its best work as well. It opens the door for innovation by supporting creativity and open communication.
If you’re ready to get started with process automation and want to talk about your own barriers, we are here to help. Start with a free demo or consultation from the EPSoft team today.