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Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” While the insight would be applicable to almost all management decisions, it would be particularly relevant for decisions with organizational-wide process disruption such as RPA implementation.
Without buy-in from key decision-makers, there may be resistance to change, and allocation of insufficient resources to the project, which can lead to delays or failure. Moreover, buy-in can help ensure that the organization understands the benefits and potential limitations of RPA and that the implementation is aligned with overall business goals.
Here we have put together a roadmap for getting buy-in for RPA investment in your business.
1. Identify the right candidate for Automation:
- Is it a frequent process? Is it executed repeatedly (at least once a week)? It is a perfect candidate if it is executed every day.
- Is the process executed digitally by an employee using applications?
- Is it repetitive and mechanical? Are the same steps completed every time the process is executed?
- Is it based on a clear set of rules?
- Is it manually executed and therefore error-prone?
- Does it involve tasks that are mechanical and require very little critical thought?
- Is it a standard universal process or are there variations of it across the organization?
2. Build a strong business case by understanding your stakeholders:
Now, wear the hat of a business leader to filter the potential processes from a business perspective. Building a strong business case for RPA investment by calculating the potential cost savings and improvement in efficiency that RPA can bring is a beaten path. Here’s how you can make a difference.
Build a team of stakeholders from across the organization, including IT and business leaders, to drive the implementation of RPA. By doing this, you can gather support for the project, build buy-in, and ensure that the implementation is successful. You should start by identifying the individuals or groups who will be impacted by the implementation of RPA. This could include department heads, process owners, and staff members who will be affected by the automation.
Some most common points pain points that we have seen are:
Teams of size greater than 15
Teams own the processes
Knowledge workers/large teams handling low-value tasks
Percentage automated is lesser than fifty percent of the processes
Temporary or outsourced workers used and cases where data sensitivity
Cases where numerous legacy platforms are used which require prolonged transformation time
High cost and high growth countries/ cities
Internally controlled functions that have direct control over tools and processes
Regulatory pressure on the continued use of manual processes
Now, it is time for us to build a business case. The business case should be presented in a clear and concise manner, highlighting the key points and benefits in an easily understandable manner. It should demonstrate how RPA can solve specific business problems across the verticals and provide a clear ROI.
3. Develop a clear implementation plan – Loop in Stakeholders during the Implementation:
Charting out a clear implementation plan will help stakeholders understand the scope of the project, the resources required, and the expected outcomes. To develop a clear implementation plan, you should start by identifying the business processes that will be automated, and the specific tasks that will be performed by the RPA software. This will help you understand the scope of the project, and to identify any potential challenges or roadblocks.
Next, you should develop a detailed project plan that includes timelines, resources required, and a plan for integration with existing systems and processes. The plan should also include a detailed testing and quality assurance strategy to ensure the RPA solution is working as expected. It's also important to include a plan for post-implementation support, maintenance, and upgrades. You should consider how the solution will be scaled and updated over time, and how it will be integrated into the organization's overall technology strategy.
Identifying an Outsourcing Partner:
When you are deciding which automation partner to select, you should approach the process with the same care and attention to detail as you would when procuring any other strategic technology or sourcing. Some vendors have a great deal of experience in certain industries, while others specialize in specific processes. If you are purchasing an automation tool, make sure that the evaluation criteria fit your requirements. Vendor demonstrations can be beneficial, but it is strongly recommended to talk to their clients to get a full understanding of the complexities and challenges of the project.
When selecting a pricing model, ensure that it is in line with your company's objectives. Make sure to carefully evaluate different vendors and their offerings as they may have similar pricing structures but the “robot” of one vendor may not be the equivalent of another's “agent” or “client”. It is hard to anticipate the productivity of a software robot on your particular processes compared to a human, so it is challenging to work out the number of robots needed and make accurate cost comparisons between vendors. To be ready, supply vendors with precise details of the processes you have decided to automate so you can make more precise price comparisons.
It is also important to engage with stakeholders throughout the project, keeping them informed of progress and addressing any concerns they may have. This can be done through regular meetings, progress reports and presentations. While conducting these formal and informal meetings, ensure that you:
a. Communicate the benefits
Communicate the benefits of RPA to key decision-makers and stakeholders in the organization, highlighting how it aligns with the company's goals. By clearly communicating the benefits of automation, you can demonstrate the value of the technology to decision-makers and stakeholders, and build support for the project. You should quantify the potential benefits of automation in terms of cost savings, improved productivity, and increased efficiency. This can be done by gathering data on the current costs associated with manual processes and comparing them to the projected costs of automation.
b. Demonstrate the value
Continuously track and measure the success of the RPA implementation, sharing results and feedback with stakeholders to demonstrate the value of the investment and secure ongoing support. By providing concrete evidence of the benefits that can be achieved, you can build support for the project and gain the trust of decision-makers and stakeholders. You should gather data on the current costs associated with manual processes and compare them to the projected costs of automation.
This will help to quantify the potential benefits of automation in terms of cost savings, improved productivity, and increased efficiency. Show the scalability of the solution and potential future benefits, such as process optimization, customer service improvement, and others, that can be achieved with RPA.
c. Address the concerns
By addressing the concerns of decision-makers and stakeholders, you can build trust and support for the project, and mitigate any potential obstacles to implementation. To address concerns, you should start by identifying the most common concerns that are typically raised about RPA, such as:
- Impact on jobs and workforce
- The difficulty of implementation and maintenance
- Lack of understanding of the technology
- Integration with existing systems
- Data security and compliance
Next, you should provide detailed explanation about the most common concerns that are typically raised about RPA. This way you can build trust and support for the project, and mitigate any potential obstacles to implementation.
Institutionalize Your Learnings:
Many leading companies are constituting Centers of Excellence (CoEs) for Robotic Process Automation (RPA). These CoEs will be responsible for identifying best practices and dissemination of learning for RPA projects across the organization.
In conclusion, organization-wide buy-in is a crucial aspect of RPA implementation. It helps ensure that the organization is fully committed to the adoption of RPA technology and that key stakeholders understand its benefits and potential limitations. By following the above steps, you can create a comprehensive and compelling case for RPA investment and ultimately secure buy-in from key decision-makers in your organization.