Our do's and don'ts guide for Robotic Process Automation
Have you ever tried to do something that you had no idea how to go about starting?
I remember jobs of stacking pallets, and someone actually had to point out to me that you should always start at the far end of the pallet, so you’re not lifting things over others. My mum had to tell me that when you’re mopping the floor, you should begin at the far corner of the room; otherwise, you have to walk over the bit you’ve just mopped to get out of the room – the cleaning equivalent of painting yourself into a corner. While peeling potatoes at another job, the chef had to point out to me that bringing the bin closer was more efficient than continuously walking to the bin across the room. Now, I know what you’re thinking “wow, you’ve had some pretty classy jobs”, or maybe “you’re a bit simple, aren’t you, Jeremy?”. The point is that if you’ve never done something before, common sense, obvious things, may not be that obvious.
So what if you’re trying to implement a digital innovation strategy like automation across your business? It’s probably mildly more complex than stacking a pallet or peeling potatoes, so how would you avoid doing things on day one that will make life difficult down the track?
At The Missing Link, we pride ourselves on taking the complexity out of IT, whether it’s Automation, Cyber Security or IT and Cloud. So, when implementing an Automation program across the business, we lean on years of experience across our team to ensure that we provide the simplest solution to those complex problems. With that in mind, I wanted to share some do’s (and also, maybe, more importantly, some do not’s) to consider in the design phase of your Automation rollout.
1. Engage the business
Yep, everyone says it, and it’s always important, but this isn’t a one-off project. This is ideally going to be an ongoing change of mindset which transforms the way your business operates. Without a commitment from the top, you’re going to be pushing the proverbial uphill a lot, and that wastes time and effort, and more importantly, I think it makes your job less fun… don’t make work a drag.
2. Start small and simple
A friend of mine (over)uses the phrase “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”, and that’s important to remember. Identify 20-40 processes to consider, narrow them down to 5 that you can do this quarter and get them done. Get some quick wins where you can; this will increase user adoption and acceptance of the improvements you’re making – change can be daunting, which brings me to…
3. Change Management
Advertise the pilot project success widely internally, name your bot and give them a reporting line.
Make time for a change. There’s always BAU tasks that need to be done, and they’ll always be there, but if you’re standing still, competitors will pass you by. We often hear, “it’s just not the right time, we’re busy”, and I think of Shawshank Redemption “get busy living or get busy dying”.
1. Try to boil the ocean
By the time you engage everyone in the business, you’ll have so many different business units vying for the role of most important. So find the five most appropriate processes and get the ball rolling.
2. Let perfect be the enemy of good
Sure, you need a plan, but taking the first step is the most important. When is the best time to implement practices which will improve your business? Now.
3. Paint yourself into a corner
Create reusable blocks within your bots that can be used to fast-track future automation projects, so you don’t need to constantly reinvent the wheel.
It’s business transformation, it’s not easy, but it can be made much more simple if you have the right foundation before you begin and know what to avoid. Can you do it all yourself? Absolutely, but is it your core business? Probably not. In that case, you can do what hundreds of businesses do every year – rely on over 20 years of experience, delivery methodologies and professional expertise with The Missing Link. We can quickly find the right processes to automate and the hurdles to avoid in achieving the many business advantages delivered by automation.