The importance of the Robotic Operating Model (ROM) in RPA
Rob Dawson, Robiquity’s principal advisor, explains the importance of the Robotic Operating Model (ROM) in an RPA strategy
“Not everyone in RPA knows what a ‘good’ process is. Some are designed with little to no business benefit or built with complex logic that is supposed to cause problems later.”
When Benjamin Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he was not referring specifically to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and the importance of the Robotic Operating Model (ROM). But it might as well have been.
RPA is best implemented when the entire journey has been defined in advance, rather than waiting for you to spot a bug and then correct it.
Blue Prism’s ROM was created for this very purpose and is divided into seven pillars:
- Governance and pipeline
- Delivery method
- Service model
Each pillar encompasses the various considerations you need to make when implementing an RPA solution.
Compliance with the Blue Prism ROM ensures that an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) thrives and grows organically rather than stagnating. This makes RPA easily scalable and prevents a company from running RPA before it can run.
You must first consider the strategy and purpose of your RPA implementation. Do you want to improve the quality of your data, save costs, or improve the user experience by providing faster, more accurate answers?
Regardless of your reasoning, it’s important to understand how your strategy for RPA aligns with that of the entire company. That way, when you’re ready to scale, you’ll already have the background.
Once you have your vision set, get out there and make your voice heard! Secure the buy-in from the top of the company and see if it cascades down positively.
Scaling RPA: Before you automate processes, improve them
Most companies don’t scale RPA across the company, partly because they don’t understand their processes at first
Find an RPA leader with an infectious enthusiasm for your business goals who will host roadshows, workshops, and other initiatives to engage employees across the company. RPA champions can also spread the word and identify other opportunities for automation.
The sooner you have the right people on board, the better!
The next step is to plan your organizational model. Where will RPA sit in the business and what are your growth plans? A central approach encompasses the entire organization. It can be beneficial to embed this in an existing CoE. However, when you have a limited delivery team, you need to manage expectations when all areas of the business are knocking on your door for the process to be automated!
In a federated approach, the RPA function resides within a specific function, but is scaled company-wide, with the central team overseeing standards and best practices. It does this by creating delivery capsules across the company that are responsible for identifying and delivering their own automated processes regulated by the Council of Europe.
A division approach is the worst. Here, multiple RPA functions are performed separately across the enterprise with separate infrastructure, separate governance, and separate teams. It is not cost effective and prevents real scaling.
Governance and pipeline
Not everyone in RPA knows what a “good” process is. Some are designed with little to no business benefit, or built with complex logic that is intended to cause problems later.
It’s important to be clear about what makes a really good process. Binary logic as well as highly transactional and reliable target applications are just some of the things to look for.
Once you are clear about the definition of “good”, you can identify processes that are fed by governance. That way, you’re asking the right questions to the right audience.
Don’t be an RPA tourist, implement effective change management
The current approach of many companies to introduce the automation of robotic processes has been broken. It is time for companies to pay more attention to their employees and implement effective change management
For example, you could have found a seemingly ideal process to automate, but the IT representative on your board of directors informs you that a scheduled patch for the target application is due in two months. You’ll need to spy on your items again and pause the process until the patch is applied.
Among other things, you will deal with demand generation on the Governance Board, ie how will you generate the demand for RPA within the company? Employee incentives to identify suitable processes, internal communication, and holding workshops for engagement are just a few of the techniques we would recommend.
Now that you have identified all of these processes, how can you deploy them as automated solutions?
Capturing incorrect information (or forgetting to capture it at all) during the definition phase can be disastrous. Hence, you need a knowledgeable SMB to collect process information. It’s also worth doing a process walk-through for the right audience.
It’s only too tempting for your developer to automate the solution in Blue Prism asap. However, in the long run, you’ll wish you took a little more time.
First, document the future process. How will the robotic process differ from the human process? What is the blueprint for building in Blue Prism?
RPA: the main actors and what is unique about them
We sat down with some of the key players in RPA: Automation Anywhere, NICE, UiPath, Blue Prism, Kofax, and Another Monday; to ask: “What is special about you?”
Outline the business objects you will need for this solution and compare them to objects that already exist in your environment. This will potentially increase your development time as you expand your reusable object library. Development can begin as soon as the “to be” has been agreed with the company and your design agency / lead developer has approved the proposed design and carried out the necessary peer reviews.
Sign off the tests and make sure the business is happy. There are other important results that need to be produced in the test and release phases – and it is important not to neglect them!
Once your processes are in production, you need to get the right support.
Do your robots return business recommendations to the operations team for manual entry? Are developers on hand if the robots don’t act as expected? Do you have disaster recovery plans to prevent robotic resource loss?
The last thing you need is to lose your robot resources due to a bad service model.
All large teams plan future success from the start. However, if your developers are inexperienced, they will struggle to deal with the inevitable RPA vulnerabilities. Appointing a quality lead developer is essential, but these people can be extremely difficult to find in the current marketplace.
Developers must be trained to the highest level in both Blue Prism development and process analysis. That way, they are ready to take on a hybrid role while being supported on-site by an experienced consultant.
“It’s about empowering people,” says NICE, a leading provider of RPA and software robots
“With RPA and software robotics, it’s not always about automating tasks. It’s also about accuracy, the right conversation, it’s about supporting and nurturing people, “said Gareth Hole, director of alliances at NICE, when speaking with Information Age
As your development team continues to grow, consider having a design agency to ensure standards are met and a control room monitor to manage your production robots.
Finally, plan when to rent. This can help maintain continuity and quality across your delivery team.
The seventh pillar includes considerations as to which technical approach you choose. Setting up a virtual machine, providing licenses for future scaling, and disaster recovery should all be considered, as well as choosing between a cloud-based solution and an on-premises host.
A common problem is that virtual machines cannot be created from a common image. This means that development techniques like surface automation pose a greater risk of failure.
Proper alignment of each pillar is critical to the success of an RPA solution.
Written by Rob Dawson, Robiquity’s Principal Advisor