RPA Automation, will it be the IT Integration Killer?

Introduction

Robotic Process Automation solutions are beginning to pick up pace as the preferred IT solution for many companies struggling with gaining the trust of their Boards of Directors for yet another big capital investment project on their core IT systems. The fact that the entry into many companies of RPA is through Operations or other non-IT departments should act as a concern for many IT departments as an indication of a loss of influence overall. Despite this, it’s clear that there is a real choice between the IT Integration route to resolving many of the manual steps implicit within most companies’ processes, and Robotics!

Advantages of IT Integration – “Cleaner, more secure and more exciting”

Despite its bad press at times, there are some real advantages of going with an IT Integration solution. If the project is run utilising Agile, and your stakeholders are patient, then delivering an architecturally sound product is an advantage to just automating an existing set of disparate applications in a number of ways;
  • Many of the older applications will continue to have legacy issues around performance. RPA won’t solve these, but it could move processing tasks away from the companies’ current core processing hours reducing the overall burden. Having a responsive application, especially if customer facing, would hugely benefit customer perceptions as well as efficient use by your employees
  • Information Security standards of legacy applications and databases are likely to be compromised, purely due to the fact that the world of technology has moved on. Increasingly, many IT Departments are being asked to assume that unwanted users are currently already within your border information security protection (either as valid users or hackers). By making information security a foundational part of your IT Integration you will be reducing, not preventing, the amount and types of breaches available to hackers
  • Lastly, and most importantly. Focussing on new technology to be delivered within your IT Integration, will help your IT Department retain and attract more talent. Relying on RPA would work for a short time as the technologist get used to the new technology, however, IT Technologists are a breed apart from normal colleagues and will leave if they feel the tech they are working with is ageing and less exciting
So, if planned, resourced and managed well, IT Integration would be real benefit for many companies. Despite this though, it can’t be ignored that, increasingly, many Integrations are flawed from the start of the project, and if you are unsure of whether you have the talent and senior management focus to really persevere with integration, I’d argue that RPA is the only solution that makes sense for a number of reasons; RPA Implementation – Automating with no requirement for regression testing or re-training
  • Talent, what talent? – Many companies, in the less sexy industries, are currently left with a bleak choice of futilely trying to attract IT talent or looking for outsourced partners and managing change through them. I feel passionate that utilising developers off-shore can only work if the real “IP” of the system is managed and directed from on-shore. Outsourcing, mundane and handle cranking activities to Off shore resources works very well indeed. I call this the Excitement/Maturity Cycle. Without deploying something along these lines, it’s unlikely an organisation will retain or attract talent. Making RPA even more attractive

Excitement/Maturity Cycle

*The initial stages of capturing ideas and innovations need to be kept within the company’s employees in order to really control the process. This is where the real value of the company resides and what the integration project will deliver, and this phase would keep many of your internal resources excited.

Delivering a workable RPA Strategy

Identifying the processes, you’d like to start automating needs to follow a formula. We, at the Robot Exchange, have some good scorecards dependent on industry, that help identify the easiest, but most beneficial. This is changed dependent on what our clients feel is the area to focus on. Many look at how their colleagues are struggling to motivate themselves and focus on automating these. It’s not all about reducing FTE, but more like empowering experienced and committed FTE to create more opportunities for the company to excel!

Agile delivery, expect a new set of robots every two weeks!

The Robot Exchange is in the habit of delivering robots as quickly with the highest quality. Many of the legacy foundations relied on with IT Integrations are ignored as we deliver an informal, but customer supported set of automations regularly with clear savings (as mentioned above, savings should be seen as a positive for employees as they are asked to deliver better processes that are more valuable for their company)

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