What if my already automated process has to go through a change?

“Change is the only constant. Hanging on is the only sin,” says Denise Mcluggage.
If there is any living example of the above idea, it is life itself. A caterpillar would most likely stagnate and destroy itself, if it decided never to break free of its comfortable cocoon. If a seedling remained under the soil in its most basic form, flora and fauna would never see the light of day. And last but not the least, had the caveman become complacent in the uncertain safety of the cave, we at XLNC wouldn’t be writing this blog, and you’d not be reading about Robotic Process Automation – a process that is rapidly changing the working of organizations.
We’re back with a blog; and today, let’s discuss what’s rightly touted as the most constant factor in the face of the earth – ‘change’. And in automation terms, change takes the form of a process known as “change management”. While RPA can change an employee and organization’s lives in very relieving and efficient ways, it can also prove to be a very unwelcome change to some employees and organizations, in that it pushes the workforce and its members out of the comfort zone of manually performing repetitive tasks. Coupled with this dilemma, there can also be certain sudden changes in the already planned end-to-end automation process, which can further lead to chaos and confusion, and a general animosity towards automation. But change management, when performed optimally, can change the entire scenario for the better:

1.What is change management?
Imagine you’ve spent all your valuable time identifying a certain business process that can be automated, and holding meetings with SMEs and automation software providers regarding the end-to-end automation process. Then, after the recommendations and other formalities, the RPA developers get to work, committing themselves to giving life to your bot. Then, suddenly, an organizational policy changes, and you realize with utter disbelief that the bot being developed for you no longer has a utility value in its original form. So now, are your time, energy and efforts all in vain? “Not at all,” replies change management. Change management helps you effectively modify the automation process, by performing the necessary alterations to the existing process, and adding or eliminating processes as and when required.

2.But…tell me more. Will it cause a hole in my pocket?
Rest assured. If an automation software platform offers change management, it should also ensure that the process is carried out efficiently, and in as cost effective a manner as possible. The automation software providers are typically prepared for any alterations or modifications that may take place at any point of time in the course of the process.
A typical change management process begins with the client disclosing the need for a change in the already planned end-to-end process. Thereafter, the client and the automation software provider sign an agreement with regard to the changes agreed upon between the two parties with regard to the ongoing project. Here, the client also specifies the priority and complexity levels of the change to be carried out; along with a Timelines matrix indicating the approximate duration of the project after incorporating the required changes. The client also notifies the provider about the changes via the Change Management module. The changes are then deployed in the bot, along with the Exception Management information; i.e., what the bot must do if the process cannot be performed, for some reason, in the usual manner.
Once the lengthy process of developing the bots based on the changes agreed upon is completed, a customer satisfaction survey is conducted, where the customer gives an account of whether the change management has been performed in a satisfactory manner, and if it is being implemented purposefully in the workplace. Then, the solution architect validates the Exception Management process, and the resolution percentage rate is evaluated. Finally, customer satisfaction is gauged once again, and a report is drafted based on the same. Lastly, the change management module is drafted and updated, and the process is concluded successfully.
Change is a very integral part of any process; and regardless of the amount of planning that goes into developing a process, it is always important to be mentally prepared for any sudden need for a modification or even elimination of the project. And change management is the panacea to your RPA change requirements.

BUSINESS PROCESSES THAT CAN BE AUTOMATED

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all,”says Peter Drucker.
Comprising 2% of the total body weight, the human brain is said to be the most complexly designed structure in the universe. It comes as no surprise that the capabilities of the human mind are incredibly vast and almost limitless. In such a scenario, the only factor that prevents the mind from achieving its full potential is…humans themselves.
And when we rule-based tasks without engaging this mighty power within us, we are negating the immense potential that lies within us. That’s where robots step in, and relieve us of such uninteresting, repetitive tasks; enabling humans to utilize their mind to the best of their ability.
But the question that now arises is, how do we efficiently classify which tasks can be automated? And since there are innumerable domains across the globe, how can we dissect the tasks within each one and arrive at a conclusion? We’re back with a blog; and this time, we shall talk about the different processes that can be automated within various popular fields:

1.Let’s market automation to you, while you market your product to the world
Tom Fishburne says: “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” You might have the best product or service in the world, but unless you know how to advertise it, the product cannot achieve its full potential. And if a domain as dynamic and stimulating as marketing be reduced to a bunch of monotonous and stagnant tasks, marketers cannot reach their maximum caliber either. And RPA helps you fly as a marketer, by breaking down and simplifying tedious processes such as client communication. While planning and executing out-of-the-box strategies may sound very exciting and upcoming, marketers often rightly begin to feel exasperated when it all ultimately boils down to sending bulk messages on social media, and e-mails to dozens of potential clients every single day, and boring notifications to your clients each time you’re done with that innovative and catchy blog post. Your software bots can jump in here, and perform all of these tasks for you. Whether it’s sending out pings, or answering those ‘tring-trings’, your bot is always at your service.

2.Who says sales doesn’t require creativity?
A lot of people misconstrue the sales sector to consist solely of ‘selling the product’. However, sales, when performed optimally, is nothing less than a creative art – right from sounding professional and convincing to the customers, to generating leads, the sales department has a lot of responsibility on its shoulders. So instead of bringing in something different to the table, and thinking of innovative ways to attract potential customers, why should the sales team settle for anything less?
Tasks such as manual data collection, and sending e-mail attachments and bulk messages can impede creativity, and lead to monotony. RPA is your magic wand to transport you to a far more dynamic world, where sales can be stimulating and challenging, as opposed to static and stagnant. Also, using the different lead generation automation tools, you can now not only automate your leads, but also rotate the processto evenly accommodate all platforms and sectors.

3.Don’t let those workflow processes hinder your ‘work flow’!
“The secret in business is creativity,” says Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. However, the door to creativity is often blocked with uninteresting and repetitive tasks involved in operating the business. When these tasks are taken care of, businessmen can typically begin to think out-of-the-box, and come up with interesting business solutions. RPA understands the predicament of businessmen, and works to perform all the manual tasks for them, thus paving way to a more dynamic and bright future. From efficiently managing reports and data, to digitalizing various business processes and handling client communication, your bot can do it all. Business Process Automation can lead to considerable cost reduction in business, and improve the company-client relationship to a great extent.

4.As an employee working in Human Resource, you, too, are an important ‘human’ resource.
From profile selection and recruitment, to employee contracts and documentation, and ensuring a conducive working environment, the Human Resource department serves as the backbone to any organization. However, while facilitating a workable and humane environment for other employees as well as candidates and potential employees, employees from HR often end up carrying out a number of robotic tasks themselves. These tasks include documentation of details of every candidate and employee; creating and maintaining employee records; managing and updating records pertaining to employee benefits, payrolls, transfer and retirement, etc.
What if your bot takes care of all the monotonous documentations and record maintaining, while you continue to focus on unravelling the full potential of your human resources? Yes, this is 100% possible with RPA. Process robots can manage a number of tedious tasks such as maintaining a record of employee onboarding and offboarding; keeping a track of when employees become eligible for benefits; sending out bulk messages to employees in order to intimate them of any organizational changes and new developments; leave requests and records (Paid Leaves, Sick Leaves etc.); performance appraisals; and maintaining a record of transfers, retirements and pension packages. Have you automated your HR processes yet?

5.Now, don’t tax yourself with tax anymore!
Filing tax returns and maintaining tax records can certainly be a taxing job. Let’s make it easier for you. RPA can be efficiently used to automate tax processes relating to computation, verifying tax returns, and conducting taxation comparisons. RPA can bring about a world of convenience and efficiency to both tax administrators as well as taxpayers, by making the processes of both collection and payment much easier.

Business processes require humans as much as they need bots. The human brain can be put to use in order to come up with extremely unique and innovative business ideas and solutions, while process robots take care of all the rule-based processes that have been bogging down humans all along. In order to optimally exercise the capabilities of a bot, it is important to consider whether a particular domain of business consists of ‘automable’ processes; and if so, the other paraphernalia surrounding it, including the end-to-end automation process, the duration, and the budget involved. With effective automation of relevant processes, one can certainly expect upcoming businesses to flourish in the years to come.

Six Myths Surrounding RPA

“Myths are a waste of time; they prevent progression,” says Barbara Streisand.
It is certainly no myth that Robotic Process Automation is the next big buzzword that’s doing the rounds in industrial, organizational and software circles. Dealing ostensibly with the designing and application of software robots and artificial intelligence workers, RPA is speculated to do away with the requirement of human resources for the completion of repetitive, monotonous tasks. Then will it affect the availability of jobs, leading to unemployment? Will RPA be too expensive for human race to handle? And is it really a long-term thing, or just another transient fad? Hang on with those questions, as we are back with a blog, to bust some of the biggest myths of RPA:

1) Is my job at risk?
If humans were meant to only engage in uninteresting, repetitive and monotonous tasks that do not challenge one’s intellectual faculties in any way, then RPA might probably pose a risk to your job. But again, were that the case, RPA would never have been designed at all.
Yes, robots might probably lead to dearth of stagnant jobs in the corporate and other sectors. But let’s face it, humans are much more than just a pair of hands doing unstimulating jobs. With RPA, your mundane, boring tasks will be taken care of on a daily basis, while you invest your mind and heart in more challenging sectors, such as production, communications, creativity etc. Lastly, let’s not forget that even robots are made by humans; and as a result, they will continue to require human intervention in order to be manufactured, and assigned to various day-to-day tasks.

2) Will RPA cause a hole in our pockets?
Let’s consider, for a moment, some examples of projects at various stages of inception and development – building industrial complexes, setting up start-up companies, building and establishing brands…all important projects cost significant amounts of money. But this obviously does not (and should not) deter humans from developing these ideas. The same is the case with RPA. Having said that, while RPA’s initial inception costs may be somewhat high, it can be extremely cost-effective once it is applied to day-to-day situations. If we were to compare RPA with other traditional practices like business process outsourcing or offshore manual processing, RPA would win hands down in terms of maximum cost reduction.

3) So if the application of RPA is not an expensive process, are we adopting this technology only to reduce costs?
A myth quite converse to myth number 2 opines that RPA is used only to ensure cost reduction. To resolve this myth, let’s consider the difference between robots and humans. No two humans can be exactly the same (not even identical twins!); and thus, not only two humans performing the same task, but also the same human performing the task at different times, tend to produce different outcomes. In contrast, robots are an asset to organizations in that they are consistent in producing the same outcomes every single time. So yes, quality and speed with regard to the task at hand are also other major advantages of RPA, besides cost reduction.

4) Wow! So robots are nothing less than utopian, are they?
Okay, wait. Ever been exasperated by ‘404, Error not found’? Which means software can commit errors, too. Robots are no different. Yes, if programmed to perfection, robots can be perfect. And this reiterates the fact that robots are what they are designed to be. So if a human commits errors while developing these robots, they are bound to have imperfections.

5) But…really, RPA in all domains?
Well, the answer is…yes. No matter how creative or abstract a job may be, every job, at some stage or the other, consists of some amount of concrete, monotonous tasks. And as long as there are repetitive tasks, there will, and should, be robots.

6) So RPA, my friends, is the be-all end-all of everything! Err…is it?
This myth, if not busted, shall remain as the biggest and falsest myth of all. While RPA can do your day-to-day boring tasks, its purpose is NOT to replace human labour, but only to make it more efficient. Your robots do certain not-so-challenging tasks for you, so that you can invest your time and efforts into doing other greater things. Like…may be; design another robot?

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