One of our top RPA reads (by Ericka Chickowski) begins:
“Robotic process automation (RPA) technology is on fire, and RPA adoption by enterprises shows no signs of slowing down.”
The same could be said for the surge of great RPA resources. More and more experts are chiming in on what’s really required to advance from hype to hyperautomation. If January is any indication of what’s ahead, plan to do a lot of RPA reading this year.
Here's a quick overview of the new RPA resources that stood out to us over the past month…
Robotic Process Automation: 5 Key Trends to Watch
By Ericka Chickowski, TechBeacon
A look at 5 trends we’ll see as organizations expand their RPA programs: moving beyond pilots to truly scale RPA, RPA orchestration coming to the forefront, growing emphasis on process discovery, RPA expanding into a broader enterprise automation strategy, and increasing focus on governance.
Ultimately, the trends unfolding in the next year presage an evolution not just toward a maturing of RPA but toward broader automation across the enterprise. Your organization will need to bring governance and orchestration to the table to keep all of its automation plates spinning, and you'll need to scrutinize how your manual processes work today if you expect to purpose fit automation not just to your current processes but to the underlying business needs. That's ultimately the key to evolving RPA from initial pilot projects into full-scale deployments.
RPA Center of Excellence (CoE): What You Need To Know For Success
By Tom Taulli, Forbes
A deep dive into why an RPA CoE is beneficial, including details on how the CoE is run at Intuit.
The team has a set of guiding principles to help with the decision making. Here are some of them: partner with tech teams to achieve digital transformation; optimize a process before automating it; minimize the technical debt; follow the Software Development Life Cycle methodology; and ensure security and controls are maintained. To help with this, Intuit also uses project management tools.
Getting Real with Today’s Most Hyped Software: An RPA Case Study
By R. Danes, SiliconANGLE
An honest look at what RPA and related technologies such as IT process automation—with examples from Chevron, ServiceNow, and others.
RPA bot: Bringer of a global revolution in work? Or a brittle software tool that agile companies are better off without? Betting it’s the former, providers have updated RPA with some of the same things threatening to outmode it — open source, cloud-native platforming and AI. Will they succeed? It depends largely on whether anyone thinks of anything cool their bots can do at work this year.
The GSA RPA Program Playbook
By the US Federal RPA Community of Practice
At 70 pages, this one’s going to require some time and effort—but it’s well worth it.
This RPA Playbook gives federal agencies a detailed primer for initiating a new RPA program, as well as clear guidance for how to evolve existing RPA programs to achieve increased performance and maturity. Admittedly, this primer does not hold all of the answers for all of the challenges that arise on the RPA journey. To the extent answers can even be foreseen in advance, many of them will be agency-specific and not applicable across government. Instead, this RPA Playbook identifies the major decision points and steps along the journey and provides guidance based on best practices and lessons learned. At 70 pages, this one’s going to require some time and effort—but it’s well worth it.
The key guidance and themes of the Playbook are:
- Just Get Started
- Ensure Effective Collaboration Between the RPA Program and the CIO
- Establish Aggressive Goals and Deliver
- Invest in Process Assessment and Improvement Capabilities
- Balance the Dual Priorities of Governance and Productivity
- Think Strategically about Technology Options
[Read The GSA RPA Program Playbook]
Robotic Process Automation: Why IT Ops Needs to Lead
By Ericka Chickowski, TechBeacon
Argues that even though RPA was originally pitched as a tool that democratizes automation for the line of business, IT operations should play a key tole, engaging with the business to help get deployment right.
“Unfortunately, the divide between IT and the business often presents a bit of an RPA deployment paradox for organizations,” Davison explains.
“On the one hand, an IT organization that has achieved a level of maturity in these processes is well-positioned to succeed with robotic process automation,” he says. However, the RPA tools are often used by the business and not IT. And the business is most likely not trained in the software development lifecycle. “There is a need to train the business on the same process, which is called the ‘automation lifecycle,” Davison says.
Low-Code Player Grabs RPA for Automation
By Jessica Davis, Information Week
Thoughts on what Appian moving from low-code into RPA (with its acquisition of Jidoka RPA) could mean for the market.
RPA and artificial intelligence are technologies that organizations often will want to put together to automate tedious repetitive tasks. Indeed, analyst firm Gartner named hyperautomation as one of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2020, saying that the No. 1 use case for artificial intelligence is automation. Putting AI together with RPA can streamline operations and make organizations more efficient. It's another step toward achieving the digital transformation that all organizations are pursuing.
RPA Bots Too Brittle? Try Model-Based Low-Code
By Jason Bloomberg, Intellyx
Can a "low-code" approach to RPA relieve all the headaches associated with brittle scripted bots?
The appeal is clear: automate an RPA ‘bot’ in order to mimic the user, simplifying the otherwise onerous task of hand-coding complex automations.
However, automation is not so simple. Most RPA solutions on the market suffer from a common weakness: brittleness. Any change to the application interface, business processes, or data formats breaks the bots, requiring expensive maintenance.
One approach to resolving this brittleness issue is to borrow an approach that spans the worlds of automated testing and low-code development: represent the behavior of bots as models that humans can easily create and maintain to automatically generate working automations without scripting.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA): 5 Lessons to Learn Early
By Kevin Casey, The Enterpriser's Project
Learn from others' mistakes regarding change management, security, and shadow IT so you don't have to make them yourself.
Without documentation, though, IT pros can’t be sure of how their ERP changes will impact the bots that interact with the system.
In fact, if those bots were spun up by business users without IT’s involvement – more on that in a moment – then the IT team responsible for the ERP system might not even be aware they exist in the first place.
“The impact of such an update, especially at the interface level, is oftentimes unpredictable because IT doesn’t know which robots are potentially affected,” Thaler says. “For example, the robots can stop working after the update is complete. If this happens, the company can find itself in a very stressful situation where repairs are required and/or critical processes can’t be executed in the desired way. Unfortunately, this is a very typical situation that many companies are sooner or later faced with.”
14 Rules for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA) Success
By Harrison Goode, LinkedIn
14 solid guidelines to consider as you get started, attempt to scale RPA, or face RPA buyer’s remorse and want a fresh start.
Ensure that your systems integrator is willing to put skin in the game. That way they share both the considerable risks and rewards of your transformation program. Don’t take all of the risks onto yourself, nor be greedy and unwilling to share any financial returns that you never had before. Vendors will complete gain share agreements if you ask. That way they, and you, have skin in your RPA game. Don’t short change your system integrator by not putting 100% into working with them side by side so that they and you succeed together. Set meaningful SLAs and measurable KPIs and hold yourself accountable for delivering real business returns. Count returns as a measure of your success not the number of robots in your business.