The Benefits of a Partner in RPA Implementation

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As each RPA platform on the market develops, we’re quickly getting to the point where it’s challenging to comprehend the subtleties offered by each.

Furthermore, you’ve probably experienced development projects failing for causes unrelated to the code. Instead, many of the “softer” success factors—budget adherence, project management, etc.—led to deadlines being missed and disgruntled customers.

The goal of this report is to guarantee the success of your upcoming endeavour. 

Nine of the most crucial inquiries to ask your vendors are listed below. We have also provided our responses in advance since, as you are probably already aware, we would love the chance to win your business. However, our main goal is to let you know what it’s like to deal with us so you may choose what is best for your company. Let’s get going!

What constitutes a perfect partnership, firstly?

You’ve probably discovered the kinds of vendors your business does well. Perhaps they are the ones who object when they believe there is a better way to carry out the plan. It’s possible that they offer more (or fewer) written project updates. Although there is certainly no right or wrong response to this query, there is undoubtedly one that is better suitable for your company. 

Answer:

Every client is different, and the same is true of every collaboration.

When implementing RPA for the first time, a company may prioritise process discovery, working with our team to find, identify, and prioritise possible candidates for automation.

To guarantee that automations adhere to best practises and sufficient governance, those who already have an automation programme may need training and code reviews.

And last, some people don’t even view us as software vendors; instead, they are only concerned with effectively automating procedures.  We set up and maintain the bots for them, managing any erroneous situations. 

It all comes down to figuring out what value is to your organisation and then rising to the occasion.

What experience do you have in our industry?

The objectives of any RPA implementation project are the same, regardless of the industry; automate activities that hinder personnel from performing higher-value work while saving time and lowering errors along the way.

But let’s face it: every industry faces different difficulties.

Compliance is sometimes a last-minute concern in organisations. In some, it holds a prominent position at the leadership table. Similar to this, a process failure rate of one or two percent might be acceptable in some locations but result in penalties like fines or worse, such as dismissal.

You could spend the time to teach a vendor the finer points of your work, but you’d be giving up the invaluable insight that only a business with extensive industry experience can offer.

Answer:

“We work in a variety of industries, like most technological organisations. However, we’re pleased of our depth in both healthcare and transportation when it comes to RPA. Each has tight guidelines for compliance and privacy, and each sub-vertical within them will, of course, have its own distinctive characteristics. Although the subject matter experts in both cases are our clients, we are proud of the expertise that our staff brings to the table thanks to a strong commitment to learning and understanding.

Which RPA programme would you advise using?

Which RPA programme would you advise using

This query probably already exists on your list. The majority of businesses looking into RPA will have performed numerous Google searches and found the names of the typical suspects. You may even have chosen what you believe would be best for you.

However, when you pose this query, what you really want to hear is a delayed response. Why? The toolset that is suggested for you should be based on your needs, and this can only be done when the vendor has had a chance to ask you a lot of questions.

RPA consultants frequently respond quickly, but in our experience, it frequently indicates that they would want to engage with a certain supplier. It’s possible that what’s best for them isn’t best for you.

Answer:

People probably won’t be surprised to learn that we frequently use the two leading RPA platforms, UiPath and Automation Anywhere. However, we’ve collaborated with numerous additional providers based on the particular needs of our clients.

All software development initiatives should be approached from the perspectives of people, process, and tools – and always in that order!

Therefore, in order to make an informed decision regarding the platform, we must first learn much more about your team and strategy.

How does your team create a scope of work for robotic process automation?

Even though technology is the main focus, software businesses actually sell their time. The length of time is connected to the amount of work that must be completed in that time frame. You should be aware of how scope is developed and handled throughout the project because it affects cost.

Answer:

The first step in creating the scope of work for an RPA project is deciding if you want to automate one process or a wider range of automation tasks, such as automating several processes, ongoing support, enhancements, etc. We will request that you spend time with the process owner to see the process in action if you only want to automate one procedure. We will be able to view the apps that are involved, how many steps are required to complete each one, potential exceptions to the process, potential restrictions on the applications, etc., thanks to this. A degree of effort estimate will then be scoped for a deeper level of discovery, solution architecture, development, and testing. You will receive a SOW from this to automate one step. We will continue to scope the process if you want to expand it to include the other activities indicated above, but we will also add more hours to account for the extra work that will be required.

How do your advisors assist with prioritising RPA candidates?

A crucial but poorly understood aspect of robotic process automation is candidate prioritisation. RPA adoption and satisfaction are directly associated with the selection of the best candidates. A vendor who assists in prioritising initiatives creates the foundation for a more significant impact.

Answer:

Depending on the client, we approach candidate prioritisation differently. We advise starting with basic bots if you are new to RPA. Why? Because as soon as your first few bots are out, enthusiasm and interest increase, and you’re ready to go.

Beyond that, though, we employ a matrix scorecard (see below) that takes each possible bot’s complexity and impact into account. This offers a neutral framework for figuring out how to have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.

How does your team of consultants for RPA deployment approach Quality Assurance (QA) for RPA?

Launching a bot before it is ready is the quickest way to extinguish interest in RPA. There will probably be some employees who are worried about bugs (and perhaps even a few who are rooting for them!). It’s crucial to comprehend how your vendor will manage QA and prevent a buggy release.

Answer: 

“At Ateam, QA begins with a precise specification of what the desired result is. Everyone will be aware of what success looks like if the necessary test cases are documented from the beginning. But that’s only the start.

We believe it’s crucial to work closely with our clients when testing our automations. In order to validate the output produced by the automation, it is necessary to involve the employee at the company who is currently doing the process. Since the process experts are the ones who understand it best, we want them to be as involved as possible. We also make sure to test the automation’s exceptions; what happens when things go off the “happy path”?

We ensure that all interested parties and stakeholders are aware of how the automated development is proceeding over time in addition to performing QA after the development is complete. We hold a sprint validation session to discuss what was worked on and present a demo of what was developed after each iteration of development. This guarantees that we are keeping our clients informed and that any concerns are dealt with as soon as they emerge.

How can you assist in preparing our team for adjustments connected to the introduction of RPA?

RPA and other automated systems have the potential to intimidate workers. Numerous papers predict the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the replacement of occupations due to it. Let’s face it: RPA is designed to replace someone else’s labour, and that person is sure to have queries and worries.

Answer:

Companies frequently are unaware of the emotional toll that RPA programmes can take on stakeholders who fear being replaced by AI. RPA initiatives are ultimately a type of change management. Theorists of change management will tell you that excessive communication is necessary. We take pleasure in our sympathetic approach, which makes sure that workers are informed and involved at every stage of the project.

How soon will we achieve a good ROI with RPA?

How soon will we achieve a good ROI with RPA

The fact that a good ROI may be calculated in months rather than years is one of the reasons why consumers adore robotic process automation. Finding the supplier who guarantees you’ll turn a profit more quickly isn’t the reason you want to ask the question, though. Instead, the vendor with the most thoughtful of a response is probably the one with the best-thought-out strategy for success. 

Answer:

“RPA exists to either cut down on time spent on low-value tasks or get rid of mistakes that can drive up prices. You may determine how soon a project will pay for itself by comparing the costs and potential savings. Ateam has developed an RPA ROI Calculator, and when we meet with clients, we use it to ask the same questions. We want to confidently let you know when you’ll get good ROI on these projects.

What are the most crucial inquiries that we haven’t yet raised when thinking about hiring an RPA implementation consultant?

We have left this question till last since it shines a spotlight on the vendor and gives you a glimpse into how they think and function as a business. These are the kinds of inquiries that, for better or worse, will tell you a lot about a vendor. Expect us to ask the following questions—and many more—when we interact with clients.

Answer:

What makes you want to pursue RPA?

Some businesses are attempting to cut expenses. Others have chosen RPA over re-platforming as the preferable option. Better perspective is given to us when we ask why now. Additionally, it reveals to us how your team views robotic process automation.

Who has more expertise in this procedure than anyone else?

Technology is always bought by a different person from the place where the work is done. In order to jointly develop a solution, we need to identify the individuals who are most knowledgeable about the process. In addition, as we’ve already mentioned, those most involved in the process are frequently those who have the most concerns. To allay their worries, we wish to cooperate with them.

What does success to you look like?

If we’re being honest, a lot of the time vendors believe they were merely engaged to supply technology. Nevertheless, every organisation is unique. Yours can have strict financial or time constraints. Maybe you’re worried that RPA will lead to more people quitting because they’re worried about their jobs. In summary, RPA success is very specific to each firm and involves much more than just the software stack. What important to you should be known to us!

What is your pricing strategy?

In order to match your budget and anticipated ROI, it’s critical to thoroughly comprehend a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) partner’s pricing structure. Here’s a more thorough explanation of the query:

What pricing strategy do you use? Budgeting requires a thorough understanding of cost structures. Costs for the initial implementation, licencing, upkeep, and any further services are included here.

Answer

The partner should respond with a thorough breakdown of all the expenses related to the RPA project. Here are some components you should be prepared for:

Initial Implementation Costs: These are the costs associated with setting up your initial bots and installing the RPA software. The expenses could vary according on how complicated your procedures are, how many bots are required, and how long it takes to configure and test everything.

RPA platforms frequently charge licencing fees for the use of their software. These can be billed monthly, annually, or based on the amount of transactions, and can be priced per-bot or as part of a package.

Costs of maintenance and support: After the initial implementation, there will be ongoing expenses for upkeep of the RPA system, problem-solving, and user assistance. It’s crucial to learn whether these services are paid for as part of the licencing fees or separately.

Costs associated with training: If your workforce needs additional training to use the new RPA system, there may be expenses. Basic training might be covered by some partners’ implementation fees, while others might charge extra for it.

update costs: You can decide to update to a newer version of the RPA platform, add more bots, or integrate the RPA system with other programmes over time. The cost of such changes should be discussed with the partner.

Costs associated with change management: Implementing RPA may need major adjustments to your company’s business procedures. To assist your workers in adjusting to these changes, your partner might provide change management services, which could come at an additional expense.

Consulting Services: There may be extra charges for these consulting services if the partner assists you in identifying potential for automation, redesigning procedures, or determining the success of the RPA project.

Cost of Non-Compliance: You may be subject to fines or penalties if the RPA developer is not in accordance with pertinent industry laws. Even though this isn’t a direct expense from the RPA partner, you should be aware of it.

You may effectively budget for the RPA project and avoid unpleasant surprises by thoroughly understanding the price methodology. A thorough cost breakdown should always be requested, and any unclear areas should be explained.

How do you deal with scalability?

The capacity of your RPA implementation partner to scale and adapt in line with your changing needs becomes more and more important as your business expands and changes. Any technological solution should have scalability as a critical component, and RPA is no exception. 

Answer: 

What you should think about is this:

Ability to Scale Up Services: Your partner should be able to scale up the amount of services they provide as needed. This could entail adding more bots to handle new jobs, broadening the purview of the current bots to include more processes, or both. Inquire with the potential partner about their prior success in scaling up RPA systems and the methods they employ to make the process go smoothly.

RPA solutions’ adaptability: As your business changes, you might need to automate new processes or make changes to current ones. The RPA software must to be adaptable enough to take these changes into account. Ask the partner how simple it is to modify or expand their RPA solutions. Additionally, find out how much work, time, and money will be expended on such adjustments.

Infrastructure considerations: Increasing RPA’s scale may necessitate a more durable infrastructure, including servers, storage, a network, and other components. Ask the partner how they might help with these infrastructural requirements. When employing cloud-based RPA, this is especially important because the partner may need to work with the cloud service provider to scale up the infrastructure.

Support for Multi-Level Scalability: You may need to manage bots at several levels, including individual, team, department, and enterprise, as your RPA implementation expands. This multi-level scalability should be supported by the solutions that your partner can offer. For instance, they ought to provide centralised bot management solutions that can keep an eye on and manage bots at various levels.

Long-Term View: The partner should view your RPA journey from a long-term perspective. This entails planning for potential issues, predicting future development, and continually improving RPA solutions to provide the greatest value.

In conclusion, inquiring about scalability not only reveals potential future directions for your RPA journey, but also reveals whether your potential RPA partner is ready and able to support that trip. After all, you’re searching for a partner who will grow with you, comprehend your changing wants, and consistently offer solutions that advance your corporation, not just an RPA vendor.

What method do you employ for project management?

A successful RPA deployment depends on knowing how an RPA implementation partner manages projects. Here are some crucial aspects to pay attention to:

Does the partner employ Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, or another project management methodology? Different techniques are applicable for various project kinds and each has its own advantages. For instance, Agile methods are frequently a good fit for RPA initiatives since they use an iterative approach and place a strong emphasis on collaboration and client feedback.

Project Management: How does the partner plan and oversee the project’s resources, budget, and schedule? Do they employ any particular software or tools for project management? How do they keep track of progress in relation to the project schedule and how do they let you know about it?

Risk management: There are many hazards that might arise when implementing RPA, including technological difficulties, complicated business processes, and employee reluctance to change. Inquire with the partner about how they detect, evaluate, and reduce these risks. How do they respond to probable obstacles or difficulties? What backup preparations have they have in place?

What steps does the partner take to ensure that the quality of their work is maintained? Various testing phases during the implementation process, code reviews, peer reviews, and other activities might be included.

Stakeholder Communication: A project’s success depends on effective communication with all stakeholders. How is the partner updating you on the project’s status, any problems or modifications, and important choices? How frequently do they communicate with one another and through what channels?

Change management: Putting RPA into practise frequently necessitates major adjustments to corporate procedures and working methods. In what ways is the spouse helping you to handle this change? Do they assist with educating your staff on how to use the new RPA system? Do they offer any support in getting over change aversion?

The project management strategy used by the RPA implementation partner should give you confidence that they can complete the project on schedule, on budget, and to the necessary quality standards. Additionally, it should show that they can manage any problems or difficulties that may develop throughout the project and can assist you in managing the change brought about by RPA.

The Final Word on Selecting an RPA Implementation Consultant

Selecting technological partners might occasionally seem difficult. You’re choosing a partner to assist you in transitioning from one reality to another. Given the novelty of the technology and the implications, robotic process automation may appear more scary. This guide is intended to assist you in assessing possible RPA implementation consultants and selecting the best one for your business.

Bijin Azeez April 24, 2023
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