Robotic Process Automation: the mistakes to avoid

4 min

Choosing to open the doors to automation in the company is a step whose motivation may depend on two factors: external pressure from the environment in which one operates or an awareness of the leaders. Often, however, people confuse the approach to automation with purchasing software or automated machinery. The results of the implementation are completely different. Here are the common mistakes that stand in the way, in many companies, of achieving the benefits of automation.

Errors in approach and strategy

The first mistake at this stage concerns the approach. As with digital, deciding to automate processes is not the same as buying a machine to revamp a business. Instead, it is about implementing incremental change that starts with a few crucial areas and gradually expands to all activities that could benefit. This must be the vision, otherwise, we risk making an investment that will not bring the expected returns.

In fact, if we choose to automate customer experience activities, we will have to involve the marketing department and all the departments that collaborate in the realization of the product/service to be sold to the end customer. The information in the dataset for programming the algorithm will result from the cross-departmental collaboration. Not only that, automation makes it possible to manage and organize useful data to enhance decision-making. Thus, the benefits will also reach top management.

This is what is meant by automation involving the entire enterprise. This means that before implementing automation, it is essential to think about a short- and long-term strategy. It would be best if you drew up the guidelines and rules necessary to establish the roles and methods that will facilitate the change process. Instead, we often fall into the mistake of planning only the short-term activities that affect the department we choose as a pilot in our first approaches to automation.

Finally, already at this very early stage, stakeholders, who have experience in automation, and the IT department that will have to deal with implementation, should be involved. Support for transformation to a digital process using RPA is critical that subject matter experts do it. This is because they can give a future vision and design customized and efficient software from the first release.

Errors in automation implementation

Common mistake: automation, as well as Robotic Process Automation with its bots, is only about simple, repetitive tasks. This is not the case at all. RPA embraces all operations that could benefit from digital transformation: workflows, data capture, decision making, customer service, monitoring, and control.

Moreover, today, automation tools have expanded to include Artificial Intelligence among the tools that will empower bots and make way for increasingly high-performance future trends.

However, great care must be taken in choosing which processes to engage. One mistake is to launch into long, elaborate projects that often turn out to be inadequate. Better to start low and gradually enhance automation by involving gradually more complex projects.

Another common mistake in the implementation phase is failing to involve the resources that will use the programmed bots. Although many organizations consider training immediately after implementing Robotic Process Automation, few of them properly communicate the transition and explain the new approach. Likewise, not all of them devote resources to long-term supervision and testing.

Suppose employees working in other departments connected to those where automation is being implemented are not also involved. In that case, there is a risk of creating silos and missing out on the benefits or opportunities of connecting with other activities. Therefore, it is critical to spread the culture of digital innovation and ensure that everyone has adequate knowledge for the use and digital growth of the company. An agile and flexible company harnesses any change’s potential without succumbing.

Common mistakes to avoid when choosing to automate processes involve strategy, implementation and evaluation. Share on X

Errors in final assessments

How do we know if the automation investment was really productive? We need to choose and figure out the right metrics to evaluate. A common mistake is to select the wrong metrics. Suppose we have been paired with a partner who offers automation services. In that case, they will surely know what KPIs to consider and how to monitor them to get the maximum return and continue toward the digital transformation journey.

Relevant metrics could be those that indicate the portfolio of bots in action and highlight the growth process of automation in the company; or those that show the speed of execution of an automated process, all the way to the perfect business summary, i.e., the expected value from automation. Also directly affecting ROI are Break-Fix cycles that show which bots have stopped working, disrupting the process and reducing operational efficiency.

To make the correct evaluations, we need a global reading of KPIs that, taken individually, might show only part of the real picture. For example, if we evaluate only the number of bots used in business processes, its increase might make us think that we will get a very high ROI at the end of the year. If, on the other hand, we compare the number with the processes that actually improved efficiency and reduced costs, we would end up with a much more realistic estimate. And perhaps from this assessment, we would have evidence of the processes that, on the other hand, do not get the fruits hoped for from automation, either because they were wrong or because they needed a different design.

Beyond these mistakes, the key to a successful automation implementation lies in choosing the experts to offer tailored solutions and support along the way. If there is already talent in the company in this area, it will be much easier to spread the digital culture.

Subscribe to our newsletter