Many organizations get excited about the promise of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), only to start automating processes without much planning or forethought. Often, the result is a gap between expectations and outcomes.

If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. A quick search of “percentage of RPA projects that fail” will reveal anywhere from 30-50 percent fail to deliver on initial expectations.

In order to deploy a successful RPA program, you must be prepared for its challenges. There are some things you can do to improve your chances of seeing sustained success with your Intelligent Automation program.  Here, we dive into the top four common problems organizations may encounter after launching a few bots, and some best practices to improve your odds of success.

Top 4 Challenges After Deploying Bots

1. Your security organization is resistant to RPA

While one of the benefits of RPA is it’s a non-intrusive technology, your security organization may be resistant to providing access to the internal systems you need. The bot uses the same tools and systems as the human user does, in the same way, but it only works if you can get the profiles and IDs the bot needs to login to each system used in the business process.

2. Bots are not running smoothly on a consistent basis

Bots do require care. A simple splash screen alerting users of new features or upcoming system maintenance can trip up a bot if not anticipated during design. Process changes can cause a bot to fail, and system outages can prevent them from completing their job.

3. Early bots that were built don’t provide the expected returns

You may get efficiency when you were expecting hard dollar savings, or the process you selected was low volume and didn’t yield a noticeable savings.

4. It can be hard to measure the business value being generated by your bots

You may have a sense that your bots are adding value but you’re unable to articulate the value in an objective and quantifiable way.  Without an adequate and reliable way of seeing the benefits, leadership in your organization may lose faith in the automation program.

Automation Best Practices

  • Partner with your security team early and identify ID management policies: Bring key IT identity and data security resources into your program from the beginning. Ensure you have a clear understanding of any system specific requirements and policies, think about how those policies may need to adapt to RPA, and provide education and awareness of your RPA program to application owners.
  • Think about privacy and data protection: Educate yourself on any privacy and data protection policies for your organization and ensure you take them into account when building bots. Create program governance to ensure data security and privacy risks are controlled and consistently mitigated.
  • Don’t assume existing manual processes are compliant with policy: Examine the manual processes to ensure they are compliant with company policy and if not, correct the compliance issue before automating.
  • Consider bot maintenance and plan for it: Failure to adequately consider bot maintenance can severely handicap your automation program and reduce the confidence of your process owners that RPA is a beneficial tool for them.
  • Think about metrics and how to measure them: Consider how you will measure your bots and what you want to measure. Get agreement from your program sponsor and stakeholders on what will be measured and ensure those metrics are aligned with your program goals.
  • Choose use cases with care: Automating the right things is how you will ensure the longevity of your program. When deciding which processes to automate, consider using a basic set of process fit templates to provide an objective method of use case evaluation to help ensure you have some consistency across the organization and guidance on which processes are likely to provide the greatest benefits.
  • Consider program governance: A Robotic Operating Center of Excellence (ROC) provides structure, governance, guidance, policies, standards, and guardrails for your organization and a good way of ensuring your program can successfully scale beyond your first few pilot bots.

RPA is one of the fastest growing technology trends in business today.  It holds the promise of unlocking the hidden potential of your organization, freeing your employees to focus on tasks that add value and leave the manual, repetitive, administrative tasks to a bot.  The promise of RPA can only be realized if you are thoughtful in how you approach implementing this new technology within your organization.