Scaling your Digital Workforce

Written by Shail Khiyara in Changing the world with automation on May 3, 2017

Last month I hosted Chris Lewin (Partner at Deloitte Australia) and Shane O'Sullivan (Principal at PwC Australia), in BotVisions. Collectively we decided to focus this webinar, based on input from many customers, on 'How'. Specifically how to do scale RPA within your organization.

Chris and Shane painted a bullish view on RPA in the Australian market. The RPA journey and experimentation was pioneered by the banking sector in Australia, with a few other sectors following suit. Both of them are seeing RPA spread across sectors with a variety of use cases in the front and back office – with different operating models.

Interestingly, regardless of sector, the adoption of RPA really came down to the mindset of enough key individuals at a senior level and Shane pointed out that it was the attitude to innovation and adoption of new technology that has driven the uptick of RPA in Australia.

The following views were shared by Chris and Shane.

Governance Choices

While a wide variety of governance models can be applied, RPA practitioners have created justified models based on their personal preferences. Some apply a very light, agile governance structure, while others put in a heavyweight process with a lot of centralized check ins, sign offs, etc.

There is an optimal level of governance that perhaps lies between those two extremes and it is around essentially what you empower the COE, or governing body to accomplish. For example, they're absolutely should be central governments around things like approach, maybe a view to how things are funded, certainly tools that get used, division of training, things which really help standardize and manage RPA on an ongoing basis. While at the risk with RPA deployment can be minimal, you could have an essentialist model, where everything goes through a central group signed off for people could be in dozens of places around an organization, picking up RP software and doing their own automation and building bots. It is a balance, if you exercise too much bureaucracy you actually kill a lot of the value proposition. But the thing you want to avoid is getting processed fragmentation which is difficult to maintain and manage.

Capability building

For successful deployments you need someone good at process design or rather process redesign. You need to have a context of the people who execute the processes – the operators. And someone who is good at RPA development and engineering that works on the project. The simplest one is RPA development and engineering which are project based skills.

RPA development and engineering are relatively straightforward, as they are project-based skills. But, at the other end of the spectrum, the process design/redesign function is highly disrupted when RPA tools are introduced in a wide-scale deployment. For example, while pre-RPA business cases for standardization of data quality and inputs may have focused on the amount of rework or the trustworthiness of data-based quality, the operational excellence function must create a much more compelling business case around standardization of inputs in an automated environment. RPA disrupts the world of the process designer and the operational excellence group because all of a sudden the leavers that lead to optimal processes have changed – because of the technology.

RPA is a marathon, not a sprint

Scaling RPA has the ability to digitally transform your business as you evolve your operating model, versus a quick fix to a few specific, low-hanging process areas. The most interesting opportunity is to build out the capability for your organization to learn how operate and innovate with bots. This is something you cannot buy.

Mindset and risk appetite

Organizations cannot continue to do things the way they've been done for historical projects, or other technology, system implementations. RPA has a different risk profile and value proposition. Mind Thus, challenging yourself to think and operate differently will help you get the RPA velocity, return, and payback you want and expect.

The webinar covered many topics, a handful of them are covered in this blog. An interesting Q&A session followed the webinar which included questions like:

  • What should be a reasonable expectation for a customer who has begun their RPA journey? What should be the success criteria?
  • How is RPA implemented in a broken process?
  • How do clients go about selecting RPA tools, given that there are plenty of them on the market?
  • How are organizations presenting their case for RPA at scale?

To hear more of Deloitte's and PwC's points of view on capacity and capability building, scaling RPA and operating model changes, please listen to our webcast, "Digital Workforce HOW – RPA at Scale."