Understanding the challenge of implementing your virtual workforce

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Understanding the challenge of implementing your virtual workforce

Robotic Process Automation as part of a new social-technological paradigm

Why do most Robotic Process Automation (RPA) projects experience difficulties when trying to move beyond the Proof of Concept or Pilot phase? The answer to this question lies in the fundamentally different implementation approach that is needed in order to embed RPA into the organizational structure rather than the approach that is traditionally used when implementing new technologies.

More and more businesses are moving towards digitization. Part of this effort is the desire to automate (parts of) certain business processes. However, overloaded IT departments are often not equipped to handle all of these needs in a timely and cost efficient manner. This creates a long tail in the automation backlog that is not addressed, consisting of many smaller IT requests that could lead to high efficiencies in the business. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a software-based solution for automating processes, in which a (virtual) robot script mimics human actions within existing applications. This solution is especially well-suited to perform activities that require handling large quantities of (structured) data and interacting with a number of different IT systems that are currently being performed manually.

Understanding the challenge of implementing your virtual workforce

Not just a new technology, RPA creates a new paradigm

RPA is intrinsically different than traditional process automation solutions, e.g. Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) and in-system solutions, due to its simplicity and versatility. Due to these two main distinctive characteristics, RPA is a more flexible and a cheaper solution than traditional process automation solutions. The rise of these types of technology is part of a wider trend, which also has implications for the RPA implementation approach.

A holistic change approach for implementing RPA

First, roles and responsibilities for governing and controlling RPA are divided among business and IT. Therefore, technology acceptance for RPA needs to be created among IT staff and continuous alignment has to be established. Second, it is important to generate technology awareness and acceptance among key members of the organization, leading to support from the organization. This support needs to come both from top management and from the employees impacted by the new solution, and will help to establish demand for RPA and to identify additional candidate processes.

Key insights

While RPA can start as an experiment or Proof of Concept, in order to take advantage of the full potential of RPA holistic change management is key. The implementation approach should already be considered when organizations start experimenting with RPA, by simultaneously thinking ahead and preparing for the next phase. The required preparation entails building a foundation of appropriate governance and the right competences, and then engaging the right people to accelerate implementation.

Read the report

To read further about critical success factors for Robotic Process Automation implementation and learn from case examples, please download the report: Understanding the challenge of implementing your virtual workforce.

More information?

Do you want to know more about the challenge of implementing your virtual workforce? Please contact Kees Wim van den Herik, Arjen Beers or Konstantinos Georgakis via the contact details below. 

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