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RPA/AI Project Leadership – Working with IT and External Partners

Introduction

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions hold promise to completely change how work gets done across the enterprise, with a significant impact on Shared Service work processes.  Instead of building custom technology solutions, RPA/AI allows companies to automate routine work processes that require access and manipulation of information from different systems or applications.  While these capabilities are game-changing, if the solutions are flexible and user friendly, what is the appropriate role for IT and external partners?   Are they needed, and to what extent are their services either required or valuable?

When questions like this come up, it can be helpful to have clear insight into the approaches taken by peers, including details for why the approach was selected.  Fortunately for members of Peeriosity, it is easy to get objective and unbiased feedback from peers who are interested in sharing their views and helping a colleague, with the option for participants to see the identity of others, and with the ability to easily contact peers using Peer MailTM, an e-mail tool that is integrated into the Peeriosity solution.

iPollingTM Results Review

Recently, Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to explore the structure of RPA/AI implementation leadership, and the type of implementation resources that are being used. Responses were posted real-time, with visibility to company responses available to all Peeriosity members, allowing for direct communication with peers using Peeriosity’s integrated Peer MailTM capabilities.

The first poll question looked at the overall RPA/AI implementation leadership structure being utilized by the companies participating in the research.  The vast majority of companies (90%) depend upon the process areas to provide leadership, with 58% of those using a significant level of IT support and 32% having just a limited IT involvement in this area.  Just 10% of the companies have overall implementation leadership coming out of IT. 

Based on discussions with members, while you might be able to launch a pilot without significant IT involvement, creating a pilot that is sustainable in the long term, and ramping up to greater scale and volume, can only realistically be completed successfully with support from IT.  Here are the details: 

With regards to the type of implementation resources being utilized, 74% report using a mix of internal and external resources, with 21% indicating that resources are primarily internal. Again, based on discussions with members, while building expertise internally is good idea, don’t be misled with the notion that having a few process experts complete several weeks of training is all that is required to be competent.  External resources are likely needed to get started, and because all of the major developers are focused on their own ramp-up issues, this means working with external partners who have acquired expertise in the developer’s solutions. Only 5% indicated that no external resources were being used. 

Unlike traditional benchmarking, Peeriosity’s iPollingTM capabilities allow members to very quickly examine this issue in detail, providing a range of experiences and viewpoints that can be reviewed to develop an appropriate and workable answer.  Tapping into the experience of peers eliminates guess-work and allows members to quickly access the collective experiences of a large community of users who are facing the same challenges.

Here are some representative comments from responding companies:

  • RPA is led by the Shared Service organization, with IT strongly supporting on the technical side. External support currently used, but will be faded out after ramp-up and training of an internal CoE (end of 2017).
  • For Robotic Process Automation, IT supports and cares for infrastructure; functional area cares for all other aspects of its use.

Closing Summary

As companies look to implement game-changing RPA/AI solutions, short-cuts that don’t fully include IT support, or that don’t adequately include external resources in the initial implementations, are very risky and should be avoided.   Once your company gains experience with successful pilots, followed by successful implementations, it is recommended that your design include internal resources who can staff a Center of Excellence for the benefit of Shared Services, and, possibly, serve as a shared resource to support implementations beyond traditional Shared Service work activities.

If you company has experience with RPA/AI, what role in implementation leadership does IT play, and how have your utilized internal and external resources?  What are your plans for building a CoE capability internally, so that you can improve outcomes and better manage project costs?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.



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