This one is for all IT managers who get the question, “can you please deliver us an extra server? We are going to start with Robotic Process Automation!”. If you haven't already, this is definitely the time to define a plan to strategically embed Robotic Process Automation (RPA) within your organization.
In this article, I will take you through a bird's-eye view on what RPA is and isn't. On top of that, I will share best-practices, so you can make the right choices.
What is RPA?
Robotic Process Automation is a way of automation in which human behavior is imitated by a robot. We like to call it software robots. At the start, they could only do screen scraping, but it quickly grew into full-blown workflow automation. In today’s world, RPA is a rich toolkit for if-this-then-that automation, even for long-running workflows. Besides, imagine the possibilities when you expand it with the latest and the greatest technological innovations like machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Technology for the business
RPA is an innovation which is usually initiated by the business. Simply because it offers a quick and affordable solution to solve their challenges. These challenges are often, but explainable, the ones with lower priorities on the corporate IT calendar.
We are all familiar with overzealous business colleagues. They actively seek improvements, build databases in Access or Excel, let business-critical processes lean on a confusing chain of Excel files, use personal desktops to do so, and even without a backup. Do you hear the alarm bells ringing? Right.
Facilitating the challenges of RPA
The concept of RPA is being pushed from a citizen development vision:
Let the business solve their own problems with controlled technology
This sounds almost too good to be true. And it is. In fact, governance is needed. As an IT manager, how do you successfully manage this? Focus on the facilitation! Don't nip all initiatives in the bud. But help the business to make the right choices so that RPA is well positioned within the IT landscape from day one.
Your automation journey
Robotic Process Automation is here to stay, we can state that as a fact. By now, almost every CIO realizes that RPA is the solution to (continuously) meet the ever higher expectations of the business. Therefore, you really want to form a policy on RPA themes such as:
Leave the business in control of the "what," while IT remains in control of the "how”. Through robotic process automation, IT can offer this flexibility without having to make drastic changes to the existing IT infrastructure. Sounds like a win-win right?