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The robots are here – meet your digital workforce

Robotic Process Automation

It's what we do that makes the difference

This 2016 Deloitte report examines Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and its role in shared services and Global Business Services (GBS). Our recent online survey finds there has now been a sharp increase in the number of organisations that have investigated RPA and that a significant number of organisations have already implemented or piloted RPA. The increase we have observed in companies investigating and implementing RPA seems set to continue; with feedback on the speed with which RPA can be implemented and the payback positive.

This report is a follow up to our 2015 report entitled The robots are coming in which we concluded that implementation of robotics was in its infancy but worth investigation due to its ability to improve efficiency and reliability.

2016 survey highlights

Lessons learnt

Here are some of the key lessons learnt from the survey and Deloitte’s direct client experience:

  1. Invest in comprehensive stakeholder management
    Stakeholders need to be engaged from the outset to ensure effective buy in, collaboration and adoption of changes. Senior management and IT stakeholders groups are critical.
  2. Select the right process or activity
    Ensure that the process is well defined and documented. Check that the part of the process which is chosen can be emulated by a robot by applying key tests, such as: can the rules be defined? Is the task based on digital data? 
  3. Do not automate broken processes
    Broken processes should be fixed before automation. Consider whether you will take the opportunity to optimise or enhance processes while you automate.
  4. Invest heavily in exceptions management
    Process design should clearly identify all exceptions and how the robot will manage them.
  5. Conduct robust testing
    Conduct business process testing across a large data set.
  6. Monitor the quality of the outputs
    Where possible, introduce the robots gradually into production, monitoring quality and building user confidence, before ramping up their throughput.
  7. Agree up front approach to measuring and tracking benefits
    Define benefits clearly and then agree a detailed approach to measuring them.
  8. Ensure adequate education and user adoption
    Keep the human side in mind – education and a focused approach to user adoption will be critical to success.
  9. Ensure vendor and implementation partner business vision alignment
    Choose a software vendor and implementation partners that are aligned with your long-term process automation vision.
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