Home IT News 7 errors to keep away from when growing RPAs

7 errors to keep away from when growing RPAs

7 errors to keep away from when growing RPAs


Automating enterprise processes can take the drudgery out of repeating steps, enhance productiveness, and cut back the variety of human errors. Automations embrace filling out varieties, remodeling knowledge between totally different instruments, and looping by means of duties with an information record. Past workflows and integrations, automations may help extract data from public web sites, SaaS, and enterprise functions. They will run on a schedule, be triggered primarily based on enterprise guidelines, or be run manually as wanted.

Robotic course of automation (RPA) platforms are used to automate enterprise processes. They supply enterprise stakeholders and technologists with instruments to develop, check, deploy, and monitor bots.

Many RPA platforms embrace course of mining capabilities for mapping end-to-end enterprise processes, discovery instruments for capturing the steps when utilizing totally different functions, improvement instruments to enhance a bot’s capabilities, and operational environments to run and monitor manufacturing bots. High RPA platforms embrace Automation Anyplace, Blue Prism, Microsoft Energy Automate, and UiPath.

Raman Sapra, president and international chief progress officer at Mastek, says, “Automating with RPAs gives immense potential for effectivity positive factors, however success hinges on studying from frequent errors similar to neglecting correct course of evaluation, underestimating change administration, or overcomplicating workflows.”

Like all expertise, robotic course of automation exists on a spectrum of hype, actuality, and finest practices. There are lots of questions and hard-learned classes in regards to the varieties of issues automation platforms can clear up and the dangers and drawbacks of utilizing them. To get at these points, let’s take a look at seven frequent errors when growing RPAs.

Overpromising what RPAs can ship

RPA gives important alternatives, however the hype would possibly lead you to consider that bots can totally automate and repair any damaged course of, integration, or knowledge seize. I keep away from calling it automation as a result of there’s a notion that bots suggest humanless, totally automated processes, which don’t require ongoing upkeep and enhancements.

When growing RPA options, setting affordable expectations with enterprise stakeholders is crucial. I remind stakeholders that bots aren’t magic workflow simplification drugs, and growing a bot nonetheless entails code, knowledge, and check capabilities, even when the platform gives machine studying, visible improvement instruments, and testing capabilities. Supporting bots in manufacturing typically requires making fixes and enhancements. Lastly, most bots nonetheless require individuals to evaluate exceptions and consider once they want enhancements. 

Creating bots with out outlined priorities

Creating RPAs has one frequent attribute with different improvement actions—there’s typically extra enterprise demand than the developer expertise required to help everybody’s priorities. Even when the RPA platform helps citizen improvement, making a prioritization and governance course of helps organizations keep away from creating bots to satisfy low-value enterprise capabilities.

Gregory Whiteside, CEO at HumanFirst, recommends reviewing buyer knowledge as a major device for prioritizing bot improvement. “One frequent mistake we see just isn’t leveraging the voice of the client (VoC) knowledge obtainable throughout totally different buyer expertise channels, similar to name middle knowledge, reside chat logs, and help tickets to tell on automation priorities and roadmaps,” he says. “VoC comprises extremely useful quantitative and qualitative data that may inform what wants prioritization and what edge instances should be dealt with efficiently by RPA.”

Automating extremely advanced enterprise processes

Let’s say you discover an space the place you consider RPA will ship important enterprise impression. Earlier than constructing a bot, how do you consider the feasibility and complexity of the venture?

One simple means is to doc a circulate diagram and rely the variety of individuals, integrations, and steps concerned. Automating a circulate for a couple of individuals, one or two integrations, and a number of other steps is extra possible and nearer to a enterprise activity. Complicated enterprise processes involving many individuals, roles, and integrations could require capabilities past what RPA can do. On this case, you’ll possible want individuals to carry out a few of the steps in a semi-automated course of. 

“The most important mistake when utilizing RPA is to fall into the lure of pondering it might probably automate processes, and in actuality, RPA is extra precisely robotic activity automation (RTA),” says Aali Qureshi, SVP of Gross sales for the Americas at Kissflow. “RPA bots are nice for automating particular person, repetitive vertical duties, however if you wish to create and automate extra advanced horizontal processes that span a whole enterprise, you want a low-code or no-code automation device that permits you to automate duties and processes with the intention to skip hand-coding.”

For example, say you’re automating an bill processing workflow that requires scanning PDF paperwork, pulling knowledge from an ERP, validating the info, and supporting an approval workflow. Many RPAs can automate the primary three steps, however you’ll typically want a separate functionality to develop the approval workflow, similar to a low-code or no-code platform.

Qureshi recommends, “For creating related processes that depend on each other and might change primarily based on sure guidelines or exceptions, low-code or no-code automation instruments are the higher choice when in comparison with RPA.”

Automating evolving enterprise processes

Let’s think about that you simply’re growing a bot for an necessary, high-value enterprise activity that requires solely two integrations and some steps. Does that suggest that the enterprise activity might be automated simply?

Not so quick, says Esko Hannula, senior vp of product administration at Copado. “One mistake is automating a unstable course of, and RPA is finest used for automating the secure enterprise processes on legacy techniques that now not change,” he says. “If the underlying techniques or something affecting their conduct continues to be evolving, RPA could not survive these modifications and [could] trigger interruptions in operations.”

Listed below are some examples of a unstable course of:

  • The enterprise guidelines are evolving or have many exceptions.
  • The SaaS platforms or web sites being built-in change their person interfaces steadily.
  • Many knowledge or doc codecs aren’t constant, and constructions change steadily.
  • The underlying techniques are unreliable.
  • Laws across the course of and knowledge are evolving.

Automating a bot towards unstable and inconsistent supply circumstances and necessities might be difficult. Even when a bot is constructed, it can possible require increased upkeep to help the modifications.

Hannula shared one other complexity issue: “If the enterprise course of is liable to exceptions that require human involvement, RPA could fail to ship the specified return on funding,” he says.

Deploying a bot with out error detection

It’s not solely exceptions that may be problematic, particularly when deploying bots to help vital enterprise processes. The subsequent mistake to keep away from is deploying bots to manufacturing with out knowledge validation, error detection, monitoring, and alerting.

“RPA is comparatively simple so long as one can assume it really works accurately, or if it doesn’t, no harm might be carried out. However malfunctioning RPA could make an enormous variety of errors in a really brief time,” says Hannula.

One finest follow is centralizing bot monitoring and alerting with the devops or IT ops groups liable for monitoring functions and infrastructure. When there are points, their operational playbooks ought to account for help for bots as in the event that they have been simply one other utility, integration, or knowledge pipeline.

A second finest follow is to teach citizen builders on the best way to make their bots observable by implementing error detection and logging course of steps, making use of naming conventions, and documenting the implementation. 

No plan for ongoing help

Bots are software program, and software program requires ongoing upkeep. Really, bots could require extra frequent fixes than functions do, particularly if the underlying techniques they join to alter steadily.

Contemplate a bot that extracts knowledge from an internet site utilizing CSS identifiers or different weak strategies to pick knowledge from the DOM. These bots are error-prone, particularly when the underlying web site updates pages steadily.

One other concern is when bots coordinate flows throughout many integration factors. One small change in a SaaS device’s inputs or payloads means the bot will possible require help to deal with the modifications.

“RPAs stands out as the proper method for older techniques with out APIs, however they require fixed guide updating,” says Harrison Hersch, director of product at Quickbase. “The vast majority of companies at this time use a wide range of SaaS options, and you may’t depend on RPAs to automate, streamline, and sew collectively that advanced portfolio in a scalable means.”

Hersch recommends mapping out the complete enterprise course of and the required integrations. “Use RPAs sparingly, if in any respect, regardless of the rise in AI-based self-healing RPAs. As a substitute of RPAs, think about an iPaaS technique; it’s a confirmed future-proof strategy to clear up these points.”

Hersch mentions iPaaS or integration platforms as a service, an choice for companies that wish to combine many SaaS and enterprise options into strong enterprise processes.

Treating bots because the endgame

A number of years in the past, I used to be at a convention moderating a panel on the advantages and dangers of large-scale RPA deployments. I’ve forgotten who mentioned it, however his phrases caught with me: “Do not forget that bots are band-aids protecting up legacy platforms and enterprise processes. They’re code on high of code. Finally, you’ll have to spend money on app and enterprise course of modernization.”

I consider bots can present important enterprise worth, particularly for organizations that keep away from the frequent errors on this article. Bots may help cut back prices and enhance high quality—primarily shopping for time and saving cash that may be utilized to lowering technical debt and sunsetting legacy techniques. RPAs at their finest provide a excessive ROI. However digital trailblazers acknowledge they’re finest deployed as a part of an total modernization and digital transformation technique—and never because the endgame for legacy techniques.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.



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