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RPA (Robotics Process Automation) is currently widely adopted in all industries, and with increasing adoption rates. The benefits of RPA include increased efficiency, deeper customer insights, and improved customer service. According to an article, 86% of organizations implementing RPA benefited with increased efficiency, 67% acquired improved customer insights, and 57% achieved better customer service. Yet, scaling RPA is exceedingly challenging and it is also reported that approximately 50% RPA projects fail and most do not achieve the expected ROI.

Bot failure, “breaking bots”, is the main reason for failed project expectations. Bots are easy to build for repetitive, manual, short processes. They are not suited where adaptation and interpretation are needed because of changing conditions, such as, regular updates to operating systems and processes, and legacy systems and interfaces. Or in processes requiring multiple decision-making points; according to Forrester, exceeding five decision points often entail bot failures. An additional factor is the multiplicity of deployed bots, often from many vendors, leading to integration failures.

Bot failure impact: Published data claim that 45% of companies suffer from bot failures weekly. The percentage of businesses impacted by functions are: customer service (58%), employee productivity (51%), cost/revenue (48%), increased error rate (44%). Experiencing repeated RPA failures not only fails to deliver promised ROI, it also lowers morale, drains internal resources needed to handle failed RPA work, and inhibits scalability. It is critical to understand that RPA operational failures will occur and, therefore, plan for operational life-cycle RPA management.

RPA Management (RPAM): Successful RPA requires an up-front strategy for a resilient life-cycle RPA maintenance. This includes organization and technical support considerations from the beginning. An RPA operations center should be created to manage and govern the overall RPA management. The role of this center is to also for staff to understand the activities and states of the digital workers, explore new application areas and evaluate RPA fit-for-use, redesign processes, and execute implementation. Technical support should cover the continuous monitoring of deployed bots and to identify and diagnose problems, followed by scripting, testing, and production upload.

Automated RPAM is a promising technology direction for monitoring bot operations. A platform on the RPA operations center, it effectively and efficiently manages the complexity of large-scale bot deployments by monitoring, measuring, and maintaining bots while proactively remediating failures. RPAM environments should also be designed with a controller to act as an intermediary between the RPA software orchestrator in the cloud and the operational bots. In this capacity, RPAM observes the inter-dependencies between the orchestrator and the bots, and oversees any impending failures due to software upgrades, container re-distributing, scheduling changes, and other site specific (hybrid, on-premise, or cloud) variations. With proactive reporting and appropriate alerts, it engages high-value human resources only when needed.

Conclusion: It is evident that RPA is widely in use, yielding significant operational and customer experience benefits. It is also clear that as organizations automate more functions with bots from multiple vendors, bot maintenance costs and skill requirements proportionally increase. Intelligent and automated RPAM is the only solution to this problem. It is a win-win-win for all – the customer, the employees, and the organization.

About the author-

Shubho Chatterjee: Shubho Chatterjee is a growth-driven Digital Executive & change agent proven in delivering sustainable growth, operating margin, & shareholder value. He is a visionary servant leader, strategic thinker, and craftsman of user-centric, high-performance transformational solutions yielding multi-billion $ returns. He is adept in managing P&Ls, turnarounds, risks, governance, & M&As. An articulate, effective communicator & influencer, Shubho holds a Ph.D. in Engineering.

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