Now that you understand the nature of RPA and how it works from our first two blogs in this three-part series, we can discuss the planning and implementation aspects for a small business. The first step in the RPA software journey is to evaluate the business and determine the best processes for RPA.
From our earlier blog, we know RPA works best with common business tasks requiring a lot of manual data processing. RPA software replace repetitive functions or data-intensive tasks that have a logical route to the end of the process. With that in mind, there are 4 basic check-offs when determining possible RPA fits:
- Rule-based, manual processes that are mature, stable, predictable, and well documented with consistent and well-defined operational costs
- The processes must be repeated at regular intervals or have a pre-defined trigger with low rate of variable outcomes that would require complex human intervention
- The process must have defined data inputs and outputs in readable electronic formats
- The task should have a high volume and high frequency of use to deliver a faster ROI
RPA requires skilled developers to create the specialized software, and software development can generally be an expensive venture. Two ways costs can be dramatically reduced are by applying rapid prototyping and agile development to create a base software model.
Benefits of Rapid Prototyping and Agile Development Cycles
RPA software development by an experienced implementation partner will involve two different but connected processes known as Agile software development and Rapid Prototyping to create the customized RPA software. Agile focuses on software development, while rapid prototyping focuses on design practices.
The goal of a rapid prototyping project is to build a realistic functional instance of the concept to capture feedback and signals from real users. This enables the RPA team to:
- Create a foundation and framework for the software that can steer development
- Use AI and ML data set models to guide RPA coding that automates process actions as part of a working model
- Use agile in the actual development process to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that can be modified and tested over multiple cycles to fit specific customized needs, businesses and tasks.
This rapid prototyping process can be accelerated even more when the company creating the RPA software has deep experience in a wide variety of business processes. The implementation team comes with experience in creating learning models to address everything from Quote to cash and HR management to data validation, migration, extraction and inventory/product updating and management among others. This experience makes it vital to choose the right implementation partner to ensure a cost effective and accurate solution that maximizes desired returns.
Choosing the Right Process Discovery, Development, Implementation and Support Partner
Most businesses are too close to their daily operations and processes to make these determinations on their own. That’s why having an RPA development and implementation partner skilled in working with businesses across different sectors is the ideal scenario.
The right implementation team has already done the heavy lifting of RPA development for businesses across many sectors. Many of these businesses and sectors share similar basic back-office processes. Others have highly specific needs based on the sector like healthcare, finance, retail, or e-Commerce.
This enables the design/development/implementation partner to use software developer techniques such as Agile and common product development approaches such as rapid prototyping to speed up the process of customized development of RPA software.
When the right RPA implementation partner comes to a business, they will have already done this work, so all that remains is to:
- Learn the business operational structure (people, processes, and technology)
- Identify the specific processes that bring the most gains from automation and what the business hopes to accomplish
- Guide the configuration test and the implementation procedures
- Provide support for scaling the solution perhaps with the help of an internal RPA center of excellence or other guidelines
The Bottom Line
By partnering with the right development/implementation partner, SMBs are working with a team that understands their needs and will embed themselves with the workforce to learn the business. This enables them to create a customized RPA software solution that has the power to transform the business operationally by speeding/streamlining processes, increasing accuracy, lowering costs, and maximizing workforce productivity. This results in a business poised for growth and positioned to compete in the evolving digital age.