There are a lot skeptics out there asking this question and it is certainly a valid concern. One of RPA’s main testaments that makes it so appealing is that the solutions are designed to be used by business rather than by IT developers to rapidly digitize processes - delivering significant value in short timeframes. So, dare we ask: Is this truly the case?
The short, honest answer is “Yes.” RPA is an operational tool and it enables organizations to build and deploy processes for automation at the business unit level. As an article by the Harvard Business Review correctly stated, “Business operations people who have process and subject matter expertise but no programming experience can, with only a few weeks of training, start automating processes with RPA tools.”
With that being said, not every RPA tool is created equal and it is important to understand what factors to consider if you are looking for a solution that can truly originate inside business operations. Here are five elements you should examine if this is critical to your buying decision:
1. How easy is it to create the automation scenarios?
It’s one thing to know how to map the process from A to Z, but knowing how to do so using new, unfamiliar technology is quite another. The ease with which it takes to capture and set-up automation scenarios within the authoring environment will go a long way to ensuring your process manager’s successful engagement with the solution and maximize the automation possibilities.
The two most common ways for creating automation processes include a workflow model approach or the use of a recording device. Of the two, the workflow approach tends to be more tedious and time consuming, while a recorder can quickly and effortlessly “watch” and record the actions taken by users as they perform the task.
For example, Kryon Systems' Leo Studio uses Smart Automation Creation, powered by visual technologies, that can record business processes on any and across different software systems with just one click. The recorded workflows can then be quickly and easily edited, without the need for special connectors or code level integration.
2. How intuitive is the user interface (UI)?
Taking it one step further, the best RPA tools use a graphical user interface (GUI) that provides an innate, user-friendly authoring environment allowing for quick and easy creation of automation scenarios, without the need to write complicated scripts.
The Leo Studio provides a rich set of features and capabilities that allows you add sophisticated business rules and logic to the process recording using drag-and-drop advance commands. Advanced commands can be used to run macros, include decision points (branches) to scenarios, enable you to include your own script when/if desired and much more.
3. How easy is it to make changes to the automation processes?
As we well know, business processes are constantly changing. Process owners aren't just responsible for the initial automation creation, they are also accountable for ongoing management of the automation processes. If your RPA tool necessitates the use of external partners (SI's, consultants, IT development, etc.) for modifications or revisions, then the cost of change can be significant. Moreover, your ability to respond quickly to change can be hampered as you rely on the availability of external resources.
By incorporating patented image recognition and optical character recognition (OCR) algorithms, Leo RPA interacts with applications at the presentation layer and can work across any business application (desktop, web, legacy, Citrix) with no integration with existing applications. This means that changes or upgrades to underlying systems, applications, or technology do not require complicated rework to the automation process and can be addressed by the process owners. In some cases, it is not even necessary to redo the entire process recording, but only the portion that is affected by the change.
Helpful hint: Creating a Center of Excellence (CoE) with your own business users further reduces the ongoing cost of ownership, while providing the ability to respond rapidly to business and change requests.
4. How easy is it to control and monitor the robots?
As your RPA project expands, it can become more and more difficult to manage your virtual workforce. Look for a centralized dashboard that makes it simple and straightforward to manage, monitor, control, schedule, and execute the deployment of your software robots. Solutions such as Leo, include a dedicated web-based console that enable remote configuration and management of your RPA software robots. Other important features to look for include:
-Advanced scheduling and API capabilities
-Robot group management
-Live dashboard for real-time status monitoring
5. How much IT involvement is required?
In the interest of full honesty, it is necessary to point out that RPA deployment is never without some reliance on IT resources. To prevent an RPA implementation from going very wrong, steps must be taken to define the nature and complexity of the processes to be automated, and determine if they are in line with the capabilities of the process owners to set the level of IT involvement for successful implementation.
If you liked this blog post, you will also like:
Kryon Systems is committed to providing intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions to make digital transformations faster and easier. Our flagship platform, Leo, enables companies to automate high volume, repetitive, and time consuming business processes to impact business outcomes with significant ROI results on automation investments and low TCO.