RPA is not a solution to all problems, but only a tool. How to use it with business value

not a solution to all problems, but only a tool. How to use it with business value


MarketTechnology

| 01/23/2021

RPA is not a solution to all problems, but only a tool. How to use it with business value

Robotization theme and RPA does not lose its novelty. Robotization is definitely not a panacea. Technology RPA requires a special approach, understanding of the purpose of implementation and following
a well-structured business strategy. In this article I will tell you, using case studies, whether you need robots and how to choose the most productive one.

Pros and cons

I’ll start with the main question asked by beneficiaries – what is the difference from automation? What can do this RPAwhat developers can’t do? The answer is simple –
nothing
… But there are several challenges faced by companies of all sizes that make the technology in demand. The first is the need to integrate with a Legacy system or IT products,
that do not have software integration (API), this also includes websites. RPA Is a tool that is designed to solve specific problems, which allows developers
do not “invent crutches”, do not waste time studying an area unknown to them, but use a ready-made product that allows you to link together a chain of sources through which
an automated business process. The second is simplicity and availability RPA-products… Although an employee without understanding the basics of programming (variables, loops, “what-if”) does not
will be able to use the product independently, for the rest it is a fairly easy-to-learn tool.
Companies in which the backlog of tasks for the IT department is scheduled for a year in advance, and new
urgent tasks appear every week, they are simply physically unable to maintain a competitive pace without expanding the staff of highly paid developers. Then RPA with its own speed and
availability allows you to close tasks in parallel while spending less resources on automation.

The second question is the applicability of RPA in principle. You need to understand that RPA is a kind of niche tool designed to solve certain problems, and not robotization for the sake of robotization,
simply because it is really faster and more profitable. Benefit can play a cruel joke here. Basic: RPA designed for communication of several systems, not for robotization inside
one.
So, for example, it is much more profitable to make processing inside SAP / 1C by means of the IT products themselves than RPA. The main factor here is stability, because RPA is tied to a specific algorithm
and the smallest changes in the program interface can lead to a breakdown of the robot, which does not matter for processing or unloading done by standard means. Second, and less important,
RPA mainly designed to automate repetitive, routine (one might even say manual) functions: frequent transfer of information from source to system, consolidation
information from different IT sources, recognition and distribution of information from documents. Companies often talk about robotization, for example, a report that is done by an employee once a quarter is bad
process for robotization, it will not pay off.

In general, when approaching new technologies, one should think well and not get into the network on the wave of hype just for the sake of business becoming involved in the popular digital movement. And RPA is not
an exception. Expectations and hopes often have nothing to do with the actual situation. Lack of competencies among employees, difficulties in support – this is only part of the obstacles that can stand in
the process of introducing the robot and after. You can always turn to IT integrators for support, but this approach always comes with a higher implementation cost.

What to go through when introducing technology

Companies come to RPA in different ways, but there is always only one successful implementation path.

The first thing to do is find the right process for the future pilot.… There are different ways to do this: chat with RPA-vendorwho is always
ready to help in the analysis of business processes, to attract business consultants, an internal IT specialist will easily understand the technology and find where to apply RPA. But most productively –
listen to employee complaints about large volumes of uninteresting routine work, because it is their manual labor that should replace RPA, delegating the execution of these tasks to a robot.

This is followed by a pilot implementation, where the bumps are stuffed: the RPA-specific processes for negotiating access, security and detailed algorithms become clear. Pilot project or
Proof of Concept does not always have to be cost effective, often the positive effect of robotization is achieved through economies of scale. Implement RPA by yourself or with
attracting integrators is the second question. Here the pros and cons are the same as in the implementation of any other product: different levels of competence and staff and hired employees, timing, cost and
etc.

After a successful pilot you should think about scaling RPA in company, which includes not only a strategy for selecting processes for robotization and their prioritization, but also where
more important things – how the process of making changes to robots will be regulated (they are highly dependent on changes in the systems in which they work), how the company’s employees will work in
new digital environment and cooperate with robots, whether to develop competencies within the company or continue to use the services of a contractor.

Tips for choosing a platform

As mentioned above, the choice of a platform is one of the most important components of the success of robotization in a company. It might seem that functionally all platforms satisfy the desired requirements, but
it is worth giving preference to already established products with existing customers, and the more there are, and the louder their names, the better. Here I want to note that this does not correlate with the price in any way,
the cost of adult RPA platforms will be about the same (if you do not take foreign ones, where exchange rates and VAT affect). The reason is in the risks. With the appearance of customers, companies have
responsibility for the maintenance and technical support of their product, its further development. This ensures that the company does not disappear from the market, leaving behind the need to re-
selection and transition to a new platform, which for the most part bears the risk of additional costs and time for transferring already robotic processes to a new product.

The next thing to look out for is availability of product information and its use, the presence of a vibrant community working on and working on the platform. Early or
late, any company will come to the decision to create an internal RPA Competence Center, and then the variety of available resources for studying and the breadth of support will help to teach faster and better
new employees. The quality and speed of technical support is also important here.

The third is functional… RPA platforms in their breadth are for the most part capable of solving the same problems, although perhaps in different ways. However, the reality is
that each of the platforms eventually begins to bias towards the convenience and simplicity of working with specific software, web resources or embedding auxiliary tools, further simplifying and making
the product is more accessible to the average user. In our company, for example, there are activities for creating simple neural networks in 3 clicks, which can significantly save time when
solving problems related to classification or forecasting, without involving subject specialists.

Dmitry Kornev,

Head of Business Development PIX Robotics

Robotization

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