Be woke about RPA

Have you heard? It’s time to be woke about RPA

Have you heard? It’s time to be woke about RPA


Woke Background

Before touching on the subject of being woke about RPA. I would like to share a brief story about the history of the word, ‘woke’. I learned the history of the phrase from a post by Ted Slanker, Slanker Grass-Fed Meats farm. Right, from a Texas Farmer? Yes, I know what you’re thinking. What can a Texas farmer teach about being woke? A lot. 

Although, I know the word woke for its general meaning as defined in the OED “…well-informed, up-to-date”. I did not know it’s history.

The meaning of the word has evolved beginning in the 1800s. It disappears for a time and 1962, 1972, 2008, and 2009. Today, it is somewhat overused across many communities and genres. It has lost some original meaning.

Woke has acquired many meanings over time, including…

  1. “alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice”
  2. “being aware… knowing what’s going on in the community”
  3. “implies being woke is a state of mind rooted in the past”
  4. “peace and love”

RPA Struggle

So, what does “Be woke about RPA” have to do with RPA? Like ‘woke’, RPA will continue to evolve. RPA will change much faster and adopted much quicker across communities (a.k.a. industries). The evolution of RPA includes many technological advancements. Advancements such as Intelligent Automation (IA), Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Industries are adopting and adapting to having a digital workforce. They are counting on this digital workforce to drive higher company value.

[newsletter_lock] having a digital workforce. They are counting on this digital workforce to drive greater company value.

An issue with this fast-evolving technology is an eagerness to develop and deploy fast. The idea is to get as many bots as possible into use as fast as possible. This eagerness has resulted in some RPA deployments going awry.

Like woke evolved away from its original purpose/use, the benefits of RPA can get lost in rapid deployment. Even the imitation Bill Nye tweeted, “if u could look at earth from 65 million light-years away, u would see dinosaurs, stay woke.” But what does that even mean? I begin to think, Bill, Bill, Bill, what are you talking about…what are you doing?

What happens with companies who create RPA bots, without a strategy? They select incorrect processes and become frustrated.

Additionally, this eagerness prevents the capability of scaling across the enterprise. The full benefit of RPA will not happen without enterprise scaling to many lines of business.

‘Aha’ Moment

We have experienced the roadblock of not having a scaling strategy. As companies experience benefits then organizational demand will increase. Demand will come from LOBs where automated processes have great ROI. Also, demand will come from LOBs who are on the outside looking in. It’s time to be woke about RPA.

A need to scale will challenge the RPA team’s capacity to meet demand. When this happens, the RPA initiative is behind the eight ball and fighting an uphill battle.

Why would it be an uphill battle? Because demand can be overwhelming without a mechanism in place to respond. Without an ability to respond, demand pressures will likely result in RPA paralysis. The RPA factory will be unable to move / progress / will come to a screeching halt.

The aha moment! RPA requires an ability to scale, governance to control intake, and metrics to measure ROI. Requires planning ahead to ensure the right capabilities are in place.

RPA Benefits

Benefits of RPA are well documented all across the web

  • Accuracy and quality
  • Cost reduction
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Fast ROI
  • Increase in employee productivity
  • Scalability
  • Speed and ease of implementation
  • And so on…

Wide-scale benefits are not easy without a plan for the journey. Explore each benefit to understand the cross-functional impact.

How To Achieve RPA Benefits

Look deeper into these benefits to discover answers to cross-functional impact…

  • Cost reduction: Once you realize cost reduction, what is the plan for staff? In other words, what will be the organizational change management strategy? Knowledge workers need reskilling, redeployment, organizational plans communication, and so on. What are the cost reduction measurements? What is the baseline? What are the targets?
  • Accuracy and quality: What are the accuracy measurements? What were the inaccuracies/exceptions experienced with the manual process? Are the manual process inaccuracies/exceptions documented?
  • Customer satisfaction: What are customer satisfaction historical ratings? When and how will new customer satisfaction get gathered?
  • Increase in employee productivity: How was employee productivity increased? Were employees reassigned to other job duties? Were employees not reassigned but now have the capacity to do their job? What higher value tasks are now performed? What is the extra value achieved from high-value tasks? How is value measured?
  • Fast ROI: Was the baseline documented to understand ROI? What was the documented projected ROI during process(es) selection? Was there a quantifiable ROI expectation? How was the quantifiable ROI determined? Who agreed that the ROI would provide value?
  • Speed and ease of implementation: Identify speed and ease of high demand considerations. Is small scale speed and ease good enough? Is there an enterprise RPA level expectation for speed and ease? What is the definition of speed and ease of implementation? What are LOB expectations?
  • Scalability: What is scalability expectation? What does enterprise RPA look like from a scalability perspective? What is the monthly, quarterly, annual scaling expectation? Will scaling only apply to a single LOB, many LOBs, or will scaling be LOB agnostic?

Sage Advice

It is quite typical for someone new to RPA to think of it as very simple. While it is simple there are some complex decisions to make. Take time to create a strategy to ensure RPA technology provides great value. A strategy that works for your company. The strategy should scale for the long play and provide the greatest ROI.

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