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The importance of connecting innovation across your operations, finance and back-office when introducing RPA…

Many consultants involved in or defining business cases for finance and other business transformations, are highlighting the importance of introducing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to deliver cost savings. And although RPA is key to deliver these cost savings, it’s important to understand that RPA requires some prerequisites. It’s therefore important to recognise the two following elements: 

  • There is NO single RPA solution. However, when introducing RPA in your department, it works only effectively when your back-office is truly connected across organisation, people, end-to-end process, data (master and transactional), reporting and technology. Also concepts like; lean, iterative solution development, operational innovation and similar concepts are well embedded in your business
  • If your organisation (and your back-office) is at a lower maturity scale, it’s advisable to conduct a “proof of concept” approach to understand and assess the impact of RPA and iterative operational innovative solution development. 

To deliver real benefits in your back office it’s important that the organisation accepts that RPA should be part of a bigger operational strategy to not only reduce costs, but also add business value, increase real-time information and ultimately supports your customers. How do you start with RPA?

It’s important to understand that there is no single RPA solution across different organisational departments, end-to-end processes, etc. RPA is often used in departments where people are performing high-volume, highly transactional process functions, e.g. Shared Services, administrative activities, etc. Introducing RPA in these functions will boost their capabilities to add value to their stakeholders and at the same time, save money and time.

Work together with the RPA specialists or operational innovation specialists to implement faster and wider. Small boutique consulting firms are known to introduce RPA far more successfully. There is an institute of RPA which allows organisations to assess their readiness and capabilities of introducing RPA in their business. 

Learn from others and start with the “low-hanging-fruits”. A number of organisations have already started the RPA roadmap and have been successful in areas like accounting, supply chain, tax and other similar processes. Start small and introduce iterative solution development to extend the scope and impact of RPA. 

Use innovative software solutions like OpenSpan, BlackLine, etc. I have found that these type of software solutions are able to kick-off your RPA roadmap effectively and provide low-risk, high return effectiveness across your business. It also allows organisations to start small and extend the solution. 

Mingle with the experts. There are various conferences, e.g. RPA 2017 in Sydney, that focus on RPA. If you’re looking to introduce RPA, it’s advisable to attend one of these events. 

These are some of the ways to kickstart your RPA journey, which, in the current business climate is crucial to remain competitive and cost effective!

 

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