Rogue Robots: 5 Common Challenges to RPA Implementation

Written by Lucas de Boer | 3 min read
Published on: August 9th 2018 - Last modified: November 13th, 2020
Successful RPA Implementation Blog Image

Increasing efficiency and reducing costs drives up the value of your organization, and there is no better way to increase efficiency and reduce costs than by taking a strategic, enterprise view of robotic process automation. This enterprise approach represents a better way to take advantage of RPA: Instead of short-term tactical gains, enterprise RPA means concentrating on optimizing processes first, and introducing automation second.

RPA implementation and process optimization

Most organizations have moved past an initial wariness of robotic process automation, to accept its fundamental benefits: Time saved and spending reduced as software robots perform certain given tasks more quickly, more accurately, and for longer than any human can. RPA is a valuable automation asset and can deliver great results if implemented well. However, as organizations hurry to implement RPA as quickly as possible, some have discovered RPA implementation has not delivered the promised returns.

Using RPA to complete the same tasks in the same way as usual, except faster and with robots, is a quick fix that neglects the possibility of improving the underlying processes. (You might end up simply fixing potholes in the road.) Successful enterprise robotic process automation requires careful planning, in order to avoid the following pitfalls.

Why do RPA projects fail?

There are five major reasons why your RPA initiative may not be working as you had anticipated:

1. RPA is considered an ‘add-on’.

Treating RPA as a tool that simply attaches to existing systems and processes in order to improve their efficiency is the narrowest view of what it can achieve. If RPA is properly integrated into your organization, and embedded into processes and systems from the start, you can kickstart a broader conversation about the effectiveness of the processes in question. This creates an ongoing culture of process refinement and optimization within your organization, with all the long-term efficiency and profitability benefits this supports.

2. RPA isn’t implemented at an enterprise level

The quickest, easiest implementation of the cheapest robots available is a tactical solution unlikely to lead to sustainable improvements. Taking a strategic, enterprise-level view of RPA means taking the time to truly understand your organization’s processes first, then using this information to effectively target your RPA solution.

3. Lack of preparation

Projects that are built on careful preparation are much more likely to succeed. Many implementations dive headfirst into software configuration and neglect the preliminary preparation steps. Thinking in detail about which processes you wish to automate, reviewing them end-to-end, and optimizing them first is the key to avoiding costly and frustrating problems down the line.

4. Poor choice of pilot

Pilot projects allow for the benefits of RPA to be demonstrated in a smaller, more controlled way. However, the general enthusiasm for RPA can sometimes lead management to implement RPA pilots using a relatively large and complex process, which is often not suitable for a limited proof-of-concept project. The best pilot project would avoid large, mission-critical tasks in favor of tasks with low criticality, but high user frustration. That way, when RPA reduces that frustration, staff are more likely to support further use of RPA within your organization.

5. Lack of buy-in from your team

RPA implementation is a change management exercise as much as any other business transformation, and therefore staff must be provided with the information they need to understand what RPA will mean for them, their work, and their colleagues. Setting up channels through which your team can be educated on the changes and give feedback is critical to avoiding failure. A happy and informed workforce will feel ready to embrace RPA and offer suggestions for additional opportunities to make use of the technology.

Ensuring successful RPA implementation

RPA can’t help you if your underlying process aren’t ready for automation. Unless your current state processes are already optimized, your RPA deployment will simply make a poor process run more efficiently, making short-term and limited gains at best. On the other hand, organizations that build a thorough understanding of both their existing processes, as well as any new processes that require streamlining, before implementing RPA technology will have a far greater chance of creating sustainable and long-lasting improvements.

By combining RPA with optimized processes, you can bring your next product breakthrough or innovative revenue-generating activity closer to fruition, by unlocking the creative potential of your entire workforce.

Your next steps

To ensure smooth preparation and implementation, we’ve put together a free 7 Step Guide to Successful Enterprise Robotic Process Automation. The guide provides a logical flow of steps that, based on our own experience as well as our customers’, will increase your chances of delivering a successful result from your RPA implementation efforts. Of course, if you’re ready to see for yourself how Signavio can help you prepare for RPA implementation, take Signavio’s Process Transformation Suite for a test drive. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today.

Published on: August 9th 2018 - Last modified: November 13th, 2020