Navigating RPA Implementation | Top DOs and DON’Ts
By James Mahoney, Executive Vice President of Professional Services, Spruce Technology
“In recognizing the value of RPA, we also recognize the limits of RPA, thereby helping our clients maximize their use of UiPath to support the development of their own unique IT roadmaps.”
As a full-service systems integrator with more than 15 years of experience delivering complex enterprise solutions to clients across the country, Spruce Technology has incorporated Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into our solutions toolbox for a variety of purposes.
Our view of RPA is significantly different than many of our competitors’. First, numerous companies have jumped on the RPA bandwagon touting their approach as a panacea for all that ails every client in every situation. Many implementers see RPA simply as an interim solution, a band-aid to reduce manual steps in a process until a more permanent solution can be put in place. Spruce’s depth and breadth of integrations and automation experience gives us a better perspective on the value of RPA, not as a cure-all, and not as a band-aid, but as an important, independent strategic component of a comprehensive IT strategy.
Spruce’s partnership with UiPath, the market leader in RPA software, has provided our Professional Services team with all the necessary tools and capabilities to maximize our clients’ use of RPA across a broad spectrum of needs. In recognizing the value of RPA, we also recognize the limits of RPA, thereby helping our clients maximize their use of UiPath to support the development of their own unique IT roadmaps.
Here is a list of DOs and DON’Ts to help you get the most of your RPA/UiPath investment:
- DO take advantage of UiPath to automatically connect disparate systems in your organization, replacing double data entry and other repetitive, manual tasks. Implementing UiPath for such use cases can very quickly reduce personnel workloads, improve data quality, and accelerate processing times. Such automation can be implemented using UiPath to fully automate system-to-system connections or create partially automated processes with human intervention, transparency, and quality oversight built in according to client preferences.
- DON’T assume that simply connecting disparate legacy systems to reduce double data entry will solve all the issues. The existence of multiple in-house systems requiring duplicate data entry is often an indication of sub-optimal business processes and fragmented systems. Utilizing UiPath’s process discovery tools and other utilities to develop a plan for business process optimization, data consolidation, and application modernization is a good start. For robust integrations between enterprise systems, RPA is often not the best long-term option, but UiPath can be an important solution component for a program of technology and process optimization.
- DO take advantage of UiPath to automatically enter data from multiple in-house sources into tools and applications not under the organization’s control, such as external portals, third-party applications, SaaS services, and others. Such downstream systems often do not support traditional integrations, and organizations typically resort to manual data entry to bridge the gap. With UiPath, information needed to fill out external forms and similar data entry screens can be instantly collected by a dedicated bot and entered into the appropriate destination. This process can be rapidly repeated as frequently and as often as needed, allowing the organization’s personnel to perform more important tasks.
- DON’T forget that portals, applications, and services that do not support traditional integrations are not going to help maintain your RPA connection. Significant changes to a data entry form, submission requirements or business rules, authentication standards, etc. have the potential to cause failures in your data entry automation. Congruency is key; Spruce’s approach to RPA maximization uses the power of UiPath not just to fulfill an organization’s automation needs, but also to monitor and manage each automation process. Yes, we have bots to manage our bots!
- DO take advantage of UiPath to automatically advance a workflow that includes participation and data exchange from multiple parties. Spruce can provide automated assistance to streamline any instance of one or more users taking action to fulfill a system request. Typical organizational processes like employee onboarding, expense reimbursements, or work location changes usually include input from people in multiple groups, each of which may already have a system-of-record for that piece of the process. For example, multiple systems need to interact when onboarding with an employee record in PeopleSoft, a network ID in Active Directory, a payroll entry in ADP, computer and other asset assignments and setup in ServiceNow. UiPath bots can not only aid in the data entry required from system to system, but tie all these separate process pieces together, providing a more holistic operation, more transparent processing, and offering opportunities for process improvement over time.
- DON’T replace process optimization with process automation. Spruce has found a tendency for clients who first adopt RPA to try to optimize processes simply by adding automation. Spruce’s UiPath experts help clients recognize the difference between creating process efficiencies and performing a broken process faster. The Spruce approach to RPA maximization helps our clients work across the entirety of a client’s IT roadmap, from the rapid implementation of UiPath point-solutions to identifying both interim and long-term automation opportunities. Ultimately, our process drives operational efficiency using bots where they are best suited while permitting employees to focus on more valuable activities.
RPA holds much promise to help with traditionally manual tasks and to free up employees’ time to focus on more strategic tasks. But navigating the RPA world can be tricky; Spruce is here to help. If you would like to learn more about how Spruce and UiPath are developing and executing RPA programs for our clients, please reach out to me!