Implementing new solutions and approaches for how work gets done using Intelligent Automation solutions can be exciting and rewarding. It can also be frustrating and risky, unless the journey for implementation is clear and carefully managed. While there are many advisors and vendors who will confidently give you advice and direction for a fee, the best guidance comes directly from peers who are willing to share details that are specific and factual, based on their real experiences, with a candid assessment of where they have been successful and where they have made mistakes.
Even better is when you are able to engage in an honest conversation, with questions answered, and guidance offered, where the only motivation by all parties is to understand what is true. These exchanges can happen informally between peers, or be part of formal best practice research community, like the one created by Peeriosity, where thousands of users at hundreds of Shared Service centers can interact and share questions and insights.
A recent PeercastTM discussion in our Intelligent Automation research area featured a global consumer products company with over $25B in annual revenue, discussing their roadmap for implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Within one year they have been able to successfully create a scalable platform and governance model within Shared Services to serve as a template for other rollouts of RPA, with the goal of achieving enterprise-wide alignment for all RPA initiatives.
As the company transitions from zero to 100 bots, some of the steps on the journey are expected to include:
- Pilot identified and completed
- Internal review and opportunity assessment
- Vendor selection
- Infrastructure setup
- Full-scale production with multiple bots across multiple process areas
- Rollout to other geographies
- Chargeback model implemented to secure funding for expansion
- Expand to other functional areas
- Ramp from 20 bots in 7 process areas, to 40 bots in 15+ process areas
- 24/7 operational support
- True multifunctional Center of Excellence
- Large scale deployment with over 100 bots in production
In addition to providing a detailed description of their design and rollout, our feature company shared many of the lessons learned along the way, including:
1. Once you launch, move fast. As decision makers learn about robotics, there will be interest in moving quickly. This requires a robust operating and resource model that includes a proactive management of stakeholders’ expectations
2. For bot development, don’t underestimate system dependencies. Get your technology team on board to ensure the impact of systems updates and changes are appropriately understood, with modifications to RPA scripts completed and testing completed as necessary.
3. Bot technology is new and evolving rapidly. Having highly skilled developers is critical to reducing rework and avoiding production incidents.
4. Bots are often scheduled for early hours when local technical support isn’t available. As you scale, consider shifting from local to global support, to provide 24/7 production support and incident management.
5. Work teams will reallocate human resources once a bot takes over, making it very difficult to perform the task manually if the bot fails. Bot work-steps need to be detailed, describing the reasons for the tasks, with rapid production support response to minimize the need for manual processing, should bot work-step fail.
Additional details regarding the efforts of the feature company can be found on the Peeriosity member website, exclusively for members of Peeriosity’s Intelligent Automation research program.
Moving from a successful pilot to a large-scale enterprise deployment for Intelligent Automation can be a daunting task. While someone “needs to go first”, the best approach is to learn from the experiences of others so that you can more accurately understand the opportunities that exist and manage the associated risks. Given the opportunity, it’s much better to know the details for what others would do differently or continue to do given the opportunity, so that you can avoid the pain and cost of figuring it out on your own and go directly to the tested approaches that work.
Where you consider the path to 100+ bots for your company, where are you today? What are the key steps on your journey, and what lessons have you learned along the way?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion. Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content. Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees.
“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.