According to a recent McKinsey study, over 50% of enterprises are running pilot programs for Robotic Process Automation (RPA).  Given its strong potential for improving productivity and consistency, most business functions are identifying ways to implement the technology within their departments.  However, companies differ in their approach of running such pilots. At Nuummite, we always recommend a Proof of Concept (PoC) approach for such pilots.

RPA POC

A PoC approach is important for organizations to avoid some extremely expensive mistakes while undertaking a robotic process automation (RPA) initiative.  While the technology is well proven, the implementation approach varies depending on the implementation partner, and the choice of technology provider also varies widely. A PoC allows the organization to evaluate both aspects for fitness and capability.  By doing so, both time and money are saved. At Nuummite, our in-house experts shared some words of wisdom on best practices that can help you get the perfect RPA PoC for your organization! 

Before we begin, let’s look at a few benefits of having a PoC development for automation. 

  • A PoC can provide recommendations on several options of technology solutions.  Choosing a partner that has access to several options is essential.
  • A PoC provides the organization with an insight on how an implementation partner manages a project.  While some partners are able to deliver a quick demo, working with a partner who provides thoughtful analysis and systematic project management is crucial for ensuring the partner’s capability in managing large projects.
  • A PoC acts as a reliable and simple proof to make a business case for the implementation of RPA technology.  The method of choosing a process to be automated and delivering a detailed ROI will help with getting management’s support once a commercial RPA project is proposed internally.

Here are some best practices that can help you avoid these hidden pitfalls and help you realize these benefits.

Documentation, documentation, documentation!

We cannot stress enough the importance of process documentation, which provides all the critical information for a PoC development. Without proper documentation, it is highly likely that the project might get executed slightly differently than intended. To ensure that consistency is maintained from ideation to execution, it is important to define the data entry process and select the right data collection points accordingly. When dealing with legacy systems, the PoC designer needs to have a process that blends rather than disrupts the systems. An important point to remember is that data collection of RPA PoC means capturing and using only mission-critical data to prove the defined objectives.

RPA POC

Proof of Concept = Proof of Value 

Businesses embarking on their RPA journey should look at the proof of value as an essential part of a PoC. Proof of value takes a holistic approach while evaluating RPA and tries to unearth questions like organization readiness, the impact of RPA, the processes that will have to be re-engineered, the type of governance structure and controls required as well as how to scale the roll-out. Proving the value can help organizations build a strategy to get approval from the senior management to prioritize the RPA implementation. During the PoC stage, make extensive notes of what worked and what didn’t.  Having a realistic picture and knowing your limitations, processes, governance, and technology beforehand can help you build a future proof RPA strategy for large-scale adoption.

Communication and time management

One key reason for project failures is communication breakdown that leads to misunderstanding of project deliverable and objectives. Undertaking a PoC by making a small investment can help you determine if break-through, innovative results are achievable. But this can only be done with timely communication and collaboration among team members. Inaccurate information or lack of it can risk the success of delivering an accurate PoC. Close collaboration and flagging of potential problems immediately can help keep the focus on things that matter. 

Conclusion

RPA is a new transformative technology that drives automation with cost effective approach.  Having said that, driving an RPA project does not mean cutting corners. Proper documentation and Project Management remain an essential part of delivering a successful RPA strategy.  When choosing a partner for implementing an RPA driven digital transformation project, the evaluation process must take in consideration the capability of the partner from a technical and project delivery perspective.  While most partners are able to deliver a small and simple demo, few are able to do it in a way that can scale up to delivering an enterprise wide digital transformation project. At Nuummite, we focus on both technology capability and project delivery methodology to ensure a successful result for our clients. Learn more about our services.

What do you think are the most important step while doing an RPA PoC? Share your views or personal experiences in the comments section below.