Three Essential Steps to Prepare for Implementing Robotic Process Automation

As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, we are exploring innovative solutions to streamline our clients’ operations and enhance efficiency. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has emerged as a powerful software technology that automates repetitive tasks, freeing up valuable time and resources for more strategic initiatives.  

The business case for RPA is often clear to company leadership. However, successfully bringing an RPA solution to life requires careful planning and preparation. Executives should consider three steps before kicking off an RPA implementation. 

1. Comprehensive Process Assessment 

Once you know which process you are focused on, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive assessment to thoroughly understand existing steps and outcomes. Start by documenting and analyzing each part of the process, focusing on its frequency, complexity, and error-prone areas. Evaluate tasks that are time-consuming, are rule-based, and require minimal human judgment.  

Collaboration is crucial during the assessment phase. Begin by bringing together key stakeholders from IT, operations, and finance to collectively evaluate the existing process(es), goals, and metrics for success.  

IT brings technical expertise to the table, ensuring that the selected process(es) are well-suited for automation and align with the company’s IT infrastructure. Operations teams contribute valuable insights into process intricacies, pain points, and areas with the greatest potential for efficiency gains through RPA. Finance teams play a critical role by assessing the financial impact, cost savings, and return on investment. 

This cross-departmental approach fosters a shared vision for RPA implementation, enhances communication, and enables effective change management throughout the organization. 

2. Building the Right Implementation and Maintenance Team  

Implementing an RPA system requires a skilled team that can design, develop, and maintain automation workflows. While certainly RPA tools are meant to be user-friendly, not every employee is suited to manage them on an ongoing basis. Having a dedicated team with the right skill set is vital; consider team members who have expertise in process analysis, programming, and project management. 

Establishing a Center of Excellence (CoE) is also crucial to support the team. The CoE serves as a hub for RPA knowledge and best practices, giving the RPA team a reliable repository for training, support, and lessons learned. 

3. Change Management and Employee Engagement 

Implementing RPA introduces significant changes to existing workflows and job roles. Effective change management and employee engagement are therefore crucial to overcoming resistance and fostering a smooth transition. Start by clearly communicating the objectives and benefits of RPA to all employees, emphasizing how it will enhance their work experience and create new opportunities. 

Provide comprehensive training programs to empower employees to adapt to the new technology and understand their evolving roles. Encourage a culture of continuous learning and innovation where employees feel supported and motivated to embrace the change. 

Additionally, establishing a feedback mechanism that encourages employees to share their experiences and concerns can help address any challenges promptly. Regular communication, transparency, and recognition of employees’ efforts will go a long way in ensuring successful RPA implementation and employee buy-in. 

At AAFCPAs, our Business Process & IT consultants have both technical and business expertise in RPA implementation, including business process analysis, RPA technologies, programming and scripting, systems integration, data analysis and reporting, security and compliance, as well as project and change management. If you have questions or are considering RPA for your organization, please contact  Vassilis Kontoglis, Director, IT Security, RPA & Data Analytics at 774.512.4069 or—or your AAFCPAs partner. 

About the Author

Vassilis is a leader in AAFCPAs’ Business Process & IT Consulting Practice. He has 20+ years’ proven experience providing business intelligence, productivity, information risk management, and cybersecurity solutions. He is a critical resource in keeping clients and the firm on the forefront of transformative technologies while mitigating risks that come along with these advancements. Vassilis leads the delivery of Robotic Process Automation solutions at AAFCPAs. He understands the unique requirements to achieve RPA success, including proper design, planning, implementation, and governance. He works collaboratively with clients and cross-functional teams, and leverages his deep understanding of enterprise information systems, business logic, and structured inputs to automate rote processes and increase operational efficiency. Vassilis is also the leader of AAFCPAs’ automation center of excellence (CoE), an internal team that streamlines automation output, provides structure, and helps scale automation through the firm.