Embarking on RPA? Educate First

Posted: 12/06/2017 - 09:00

“RPA is more complex than you think”, as said by my wise colleague, David Brain.  In fact, not only is the technology itself complex, but the successful deployment is also largely dependent upon extensive planning and collaboration among key stakeholders. That’s why it’s critical that champions and executives prepare the organization for RPA implementation as a first step in the process.  

It can actually be argued that proper education and planning is one of the most important factors for successful and sustained goal realization.  To that end, we strongly encourage key stakeholders to ensure that the entire team understands the benefits of RPA and how it can help to streamline processes, improve efficiency and control costs. Particular emphasis can also be placed upon the daily benefits that could relieve team members from completing mundane, repetitive tasks, and will now free up time to spend handling only exceptions or engaged in tasks that require more judgment and independent thinking.

When the concept of RPA is first introduced, many people think of robotic arms on the shop floor, or androids such as C3PO or even Rosie from the Jetsons. But, the reality is RPA is not about physical robots who jump to obey every command. Instead, the focus is on simplifying business processes by developing and automating rules that enable most process steps to be completed without human intervention.

Just as the use of automation on the shop floor freed workers from much of the drudgery of the assembly line so they could have more autonomy to learn additional skills or take steps to improve product quality, RPA will do the same for office workers and other people involved in repetitive or routine tasks. Instead of spending their days performing the same endless tasks, people will now spend their time handling exceptions or working to provide better customer service, higher quality or new product ideas.

RPA isn’t going to obliterate, but rather streamline the existing workflow. Tasks will be more engaging and interesting for workers, because robots will automatically process the bulk of transactions and procedural steps that fit the norm and alert the worker of exceptions that must be handled manually.

Clearly articulating the vision and process for RPA implementation to the entire team of stakeholders and participants is worth every effort and can actually be the most crucial step to ensuring successful realization of business goals. So, go ahead and treat early education as the foundation to your RPA journey.   

Ready to Learn More?  Check out our blog with RPA tips and insights from our experts. 


About The Author

Ian Barkin's picture

Ian Barkin is chief strategy and marketing officer for SYKES. Ian co-founded Symphony Ventures, a managed services firm specializing in intelligent automation (IA) and robotic process automation (RPA) acquired by SYKES in 2018. Ian hosts  OneTAKE, a series on emerging technology, the future of work, and more. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA in Economics and Psychology from Middlebury College. Along with Pascal Bornet and Jochen Wirtz, Ian is the co-author of the best-selling book, Intelligent Automation: Welcome to the World of Hyperautomation.   

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