All the cool kids are talking about RPA (Robotic Process Automation), but talk isn’t getting the job done. Every day we hear good ideas that are being discussed, considered for implementation, or simply in queue; and all are simply competing for focus and attention.
RPA implementations should be “short and sweet”. Much like investing in the stock market, don’t try to time the market for that one big score - begin with divesting in small scenarios and build the portfolio rather than go through analysis paralysis and aim for that “one big process” to automate. The faster you start; the ROI compounding will take care of the benefits through quick wins. We used a term in the mobile app days around “fail fast”, and I would always add we should also “fail smart”. That concept applies for RPA as well. Since the implementations are short and benefits can be measured in a few days, the quick win scenarios should become a core component of your RPA strategy. Measure and expect to make quick adjustments; then expand the Robot until you see returns. Rarely is the outcome a failure that leads to abandoning the idea, usually new learnings lead to a “better” task that can be automated.
There are several areas that apply to the quick win strategy:
- Data Entry from Spreadsheets - Robots are excellent at moving data between Microsoft Office tools and Enterprise applications (ERP, CRM, BI, etc.). Spreadsheets are highly leveraged, and are not leaving any time soon. Commonly we are handed a spreadsheet (.XLS) from a marketing campaign, Sales follow-up, Service desk tickets, or Product and pricing lists that need to be updated in the master system. This is a no-brainer to build an input robot, or even build a robot to verify if data is already in the master system. Logins, queries, and data entry falls squarely in the “quick win” category. Let’s give back time to our employees while the robot takes care of the mundane data entry/validation.
- Data Validation and Cleanup - Anything that uses the search box on your screen will be a starting place for great quick-wins. Whether searching CRM to see if the account exists (or matches) the ERP master data, or simply updating CRM with valid account names - these are simple, quick, and extremely valuable Data readiness activities for our sales teams. Limit the need to de-dupe by proactively mirroring exact account/customer names between systems. Exceptions can be logged or even directly updated in-line if permitted by business rules.
Make no mistake, Quick Wins do not necessarily mean “small” wins. Many system implementation and integration projects have been delayed or even put on hold while one of the required APIs is being updated/created. Unblocking the API issue with a robot is another type of quick-win to consider. RPA solves many integration problems without the need for APIs. Data one-time synch, daily batch updates, or even real-time data connectivity can be accomplished - even if just a stopgap while the API track is being completed. This will keep the project team productive and help accelerate the ROI planned from the initial project charter.
Optezo provides Robots “as a service” (RPAaaS), which means short - if not instant - infrastructure and robot availability. Our quick-start bundles are designed to take paralysis out of getting started so you can realize value earlier than in conventional models. There are more examples of Attended robots and some common Unattended robot patterns. Unlocking the power of robots and understanding more about the ROI is covered in our related blog. Dive into Optezo and see how we can help make your quick-wins a reality.