ME:Blog | SAP CoE
Intelligent Automation Scalability using the Plus RPA Approach
Published: February 26, 2021
Many businesses are challenged with scaling RPA within their organization. One of the contributing factors is the focus on the output of RPA or the digital worker, rather than the holistic enablement of the organization and automation. RPA is a tool, like a hammer. The focus of the outcome can be the nails you can hammer or the house you can build using a hammer. The enablement of the tool lies in the enablement of the contractor and/or engineer in the use, optimization, and application of the tool to build the house or hammer a nail or even use it in creative applications.
We must imagine RPA as a tool that contains or connects to many (i.e., AI) and competes with many (Custom code) extensions. By focusing on the enablement of the organization and not purely on the solution(s), the approach, governance, and roadmap organizations align to the strategy and the value potential increases definitively. In fact, an RPA program can be a catalyst to the enablement and acceleration of a “digital” organization. “Digital” here is the effect, and the pace of change technology is having on the organization and RPA, is one of many technologies and services creating the effect. A digitally enabled organization innovates, and considers the landscape of technologies, and solutions, to solve business challenges and disruptions.
Enabling and Scaling RPA can be achieved with a focus on a Plus RPA Approach “+RPA” where RPA is used to augment many of the programs or initiatives an organization is performing.
Accelerate Transformation Programs – Today organizations are implementing or upgrading applications to support the business through ERP upgrades, CRM implementation, migration to the cloud, etc. Augmenting RPA into these programs has several benefits: improving value case, improving, and accelerating delivery, and enabling a digital workforce as part of the output. In addition, the efforts involved in the implementation of RPA becomes negligible as activities are simply transferred. For example, instead of training a user, you train a digital worker. Enabling the Project Team, requiring vendors to leverage and implement a digital workforce will not only build your internal capabilities but optimize the training and cost of implementing automation.
Continuous Improvement and support – Post the big ERP era, process and application support organizations have built up a backlog of issues and improvement requests. These organizations can be enabled with RPA to enhance support and improve value by leveraging existing governance structures and capacity.
Digital Innovation and Transformation – Many businesses have established “Digital” organizations and related programs as a strategic initiative to improve customer experience, establish new business models, develop strategic processes, data analytics, etc. RPA is an enabler and knowledge can improve existing ideas, innovate to discover new ones, and embed these into the solutions.
SG&A Reduction – RPA can initiate or augment a selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense reduction initiative whether to effect a turn in the market, optimize a Merger or Acquisition or create quick wins for RPA. The focus of this program is not about automating processes but reducing headcount, driving organizational change, and generating value while enabling the organization. Without the focus on organizational change and SG&A reduction, the program may get stalled or lack business support.
Enabling RPA within any organization is a journey. There will be a learning curve, sub-optimized processes that will need to be optimized or scaled, changes in priorities, different levels of controls, conflicts with new solutions or services, etc. as part of that journey. In addition, as with any new digital capabilities, there will be an accelerated change in the products and markets associated with RPA. RPA has a significant impact on return on investment; it, can deliver accelerated returns to an organization and promise a higher success rate. Organizations that create a journey which focus on enablement will create a capability that can scale, adopt the pace of change, and sustain more value. By adopting a +RPA strategy, organizations will be able to accelerate skills and use of RPA in their organizations.