RPA, EVERYDAY: 5 Ways in Which RPA Helps You in Your Day-to-Day Life

It’s no secret that Robotic Process Automation is slowly taking over the repetitive, rule-based tasks in organizations. Process robots are rapidly paving the way for companies to engage in much more productive and stimulating tasks and progress in their journey. According to Forrester, the RPA industry will be worth $2.9 billion in 2021. But RPA has also taken over a significant place in our day-to-day lives, without even our realizing it. Every day, we interact with different technologies that quietly make our lives a little more efficient. They allow us to focus on more dynamic tasks instead. We’re back with a blog, and this time, we shall discuss some significant functions that RPA performs in our day-to-day lives:

1. SHOP ASSURED AS YOUR SOFTWARE BOT MAKES YOUR REPOSITORY!

You so love that classy pair of shoes. You add it to your cart, check-out to purchase the product, pay for the product, and successfully place the order, before you get back to what you were doing before. But have you ever wondered what processes take place at the other end? Once you place your order, they are then tracked on repositories, and it is after stock maintenance that your item is finally dispatched to you. If done manually, these tasks are extremely time-consuming and monotonous. They prevent any other form of productive activity that might actually benefit the retail website. And hence, process robots often take over, and make life more efficient; both for the sellers as well as the buyers. Happy shopping and selling!

2. IF IT’S A WEB, LET AUTOMATION BE THE SPIDER!

With millions and millions of individuals and groups operating on the internet day in and day out across the globe, web analytics can become extremely complex and tedious. Moreover, such a vast repertoire of users also calls for a wide variety of target groups, leading to extremely diverse consumer needs and requirements. In such a world of cut-throat competition, it is essential for organizations to come up with out-of-the-box advertising and marketing strategies in order to attract the attention of such a wide audience. And in such a case, tasks such as carrying out static web analytics can certainly become tedious and tiring. This is where bots enter the scenario, and crawl the internet to come up with all the data required for advertisers to then consider interesting advertising hacks and strategies. It’s a dynamic world – let’s not limit ourselves by performing monotonous tasks.

3.‘TROUBLESHOOTING?” SHOOT THE TROUBLE WITH RPA!

Brainstorming on the solutions to complex organizational problems can cause frustration and boredom in an employee; moreover, since ‘imperfect’ is the synonym for ‘human’, it is but natural for human decision makers to commit errors in their decision making process. However, bots and AI are different. Using RPA and AI, one can automate these troubleshooting processes, thus making work-life more efficient and error-free.

4. HOW MAY OUR PROCESS BOT HELP YOU TODAY?

The helpdesk is usually our preliminary go-to area in case of any complications or issues relating to the website or service in question. But have you wondered how the super-humans behind the helpdesk manage to answer you in that courteous tonality despite having just answered fifty calls in the past half an hour? Yes, it can get quite tedious. And let’s face it, the customer-service persons deserve their breaks, too. That’s when process robots enter the picture. Process robots can act as the connecting medium between the customers and customer service personnel; in that it is possible to automate those aspects of the conversation which are static and common to all customers. So, the next time you indulge in a customer-service interaction, remember that it may not always necessarily be a human behind the desk – it could be a bot.

5.YOUR BOT CAN ROLL OUT YOUR PAYROLL!

Ever experienced a delay in receiving your pay? That’s because the poor humans dealing with your salary have to enter payroll information pulled out from different sources into your payroll system. And this task, of course, is extremely time-consuming and repetitive. Why not recruit a bot for this process? And so, in modern times, there is certainly a probability that a process bot deals with your payroll system.

A lot of times, people fear that RPA might take away from them the humanness afforded to them by their mundane lives. However, the above examples are testimony to the fact that this is far from the truth – process bots do not take away the human angle from a person’s everyday life. They merely help everyday living become more efficient and comfortable.

CHANGE MANAGEMENT IN RPA: 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.

We’re back with a blog! Today, let’s discuss 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”. RPA can change an employee and organization’s lives in very efficient ways. But it can also prove to be a very unwelcome change to some organizations. This is because it pushes the workforce and its members out of the comfort zone of repetitive tasks. Coupled with this dilemma, there can also be certain sudden changes in the already planned end-to-end automation process. This can further lead to confusion and a general animosity towards automation. But proper change management can transform the entire scenario:

1.WHAT IS CHANGE MANAGEMENT?

Imagine you’ve spent all your valuable time identifying a certain business process that can be automated. You’ve held meetings with SMEs and automation software providers regarding the end-to-end automation process. Then, the RPA developers get to work, committing themselves to giving life to your bot. But 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 modify the automation process by adding or eliminating processes as 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 one carries out the process efficiently and cost effectively. 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. Then, 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. He/she also gives 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. We then deploy the changes 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 bots are developed basis the decided changes, a customer satisfaction survey is conducted. Here, the customer gives an account of whether we have performed the change management in a satisfactory manner and implemented it purposefully. Then, the Solution Architect validates the Exception Management process and evaluates the resolution percentage rate. After this, we gauge the customer satisfaction once again. We then draft a report based on the same. Lastly, we draft and update the change management module and conclude the process.

CONCLUSION

Change is a very integral part of any process. 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 solution to your RPA change requirements.

RPA AT WORK: What are some 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 FOR YOU, WHILE YOU MARKET YOUR PRODUCT GLOBALLY!

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 THESE 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.HUMAN RESOURCE EMPLOYEES ARE ALSO IMPORTANT ‘HUMAN RESOURCES’…

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 unraveling 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 on-boarding and off-boarding; 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 help 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 come up with extremely unique and innovative business ideas and solutions. And 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.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PHYSICAL BOTS AND SOFTWARE BOTS?

Ever since the inception of the very first robot in 1954, we have escalated to having innumerable such tasks delegated to robots. All the while, we work on other more intellectual and gratifying tasks. But when it comes to the 21st Century world, it’s a whole different story. Today, human race is oscillating between two interrelated (and sometimes quite muddled up!) worlds – the real, physical world and the virtual online world. If the real world consists of real robots performing industrial tasks, the virtual world comprises of software bots performing software tasks. The similarity – both perform repetitive, monotonous tasks that allow humans to do greater things. The differences? Let’s see:

1. Umm…no, you can’t see a bot. But you can feel its presence…

Robot. The word may most likely give rise to a distinct image in your mind – metallic and robust, with a robotic vocal sound that responds to your commands with some tutored words…that’s your physical robot, which can do wonders in a real, tangible environment. But software bots are nothing like a physical robots. A process robot is somewhat like the air around us – the naked eye cannot see it, but its presence can be felt all the time. Hiding behind the hardware of your screen, they can make your life much more efficient and hassle-free.

2. Your process robot works “behind the screen”.

There’s a lot of ground-work that goes into any form of industrial sector. Employment and progress often involves stagnant and monotonous behind the scenes tasks; such as welding, product inspection and testing, labeling and painting in the tangible world; and tasks such as mindless data entry in the software one. And both types of tasks call for automation, for the simple reason that they are both rule-based, and promote stagnation. While your physical robot performs the tangible rule-based tasks workplace-based tasks, your process robot performs similar tasks from within your computer screen.

3. There’s “work in progress” everywhere. Only, the workers are differently skilled.

Since physical robots have an external countenance, making a robot involves not only programming and automation, but also external designing and development. And hence, the process of manufacturing industrial robots is quite different from developing a software one. However, the manufacturing process for both has a similar basis – of creating entities that will serve a definite purpose.

4. Maintain your robot, if you wish to retain your robot.

A robot is incapable of experiencing boredom or applying elsewhere for work. But it is not an invincible force by any means, and hence, requires regular maintenance and update. Your physical robot is…well, physical; and so, one needs to maintain it both physically (hardware) and mentally (software) in order to function in an optimal manner. In contrast, process robots, as already mentioned, are not physical entities. Does that mean they do not require maintenance? The air around us is invisible, but clean air aids better health, isn’t it? It’s the same with process robots. While they aren’t visible, they need to be constantly monitored even after deployment in order to ensure that they continue to perform in the manner expected. Moreover, they have to be scalable, i.e. flexible enough to be updated as and when required by the respective industry.

At the end of the day, while the activities performed on either side of the monitor may be different, the purpose and motives of development and deployment of bots is common and binding – reduction of rule-based labour, and promotion of more innovative ones. As Rod Grupen rightly pointed out:

“At bottom, robotics is about us. It is the discipline of emulating our lives, of wondering how we work.”

RPA PROJECT AND COST REDUCTION: With XLNC, These 2 Terms may now be Uttered in one Breath!

“If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right,” says William Shatner.

While it does seem a romantic idea to spend all the money one earns and live a lavish life, saving money can never go out of fashion as long as products and services all come with price-tags. And that’s probably why a lot of organizations are extremely apprehensive about undertaking end-to-end Robotic Process Automation independently. A number of automation software giants charge extremely high prices for these automation processes if approached directly. But wait…does this mean that your monotonous ‘data entry operator’ job would continue to thrive, with humans working away like machines? Should the high cost of a product or service deter a potential client from availing the same?

We, at XLNC, shout ‘NO!’ to both these questions. Let’s make things easier for your clients. At every stage, we support and guide you, so that your RPA development project turns out to be top-notch, and you can safely close down that monotonous ‘data entry’ post! We are back with a blog, to discuss the exciting cost reduction strategies we have in store, just for you:

1. High costs can cost you highly. May we come in?

Do you find it difficult to choose from the myriad types of automation software available in the market? Do the high prices of these automation tools deter you from using them? XLNC to the rescue! We have a team that is adept at working on all of these platforms, including UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Softomotive, with whom we are officially partnered; and Blue Prism, with whom we are in the process of networking. This opens up a whole new world of exciting choices for our clients in terms of selecting the appropriate platform.

Further, this also brings about a great amount of flexibility in terms of the budget. We also provide highly customized and tailor-made solutions specific to your requirement. For instance, if the project specific to your company is not very highly scalable in nature, we can suggest to you the more economical alternatives, such as UiPath and Softomotive. Did the enterprise pack of the previous automation software platform you had approached sound too expensive to handle? XLNC to the rescue again! Our partnership with all the important automation platforms is not for nothing. It helps us to cut costs considerably, thus ensuring a more economical approach to your automation project. Further, OEMs typically do not perform implementation when you approach them directly. We, at XLNC, offer you a detailed, 360 degrees, end to end solution, which becomes another reason for you to become our clients!

2. When we are your source, don’t worry about resource!

Resources can be a big question mark while contemplating to embark on the RPA journey. What if I don’t want to go for the entire RPA process? What if I don’t get the right resources? A lot of ifs and buts often deter an organization from investing in the process. And now, XLNC to the rescue.

We understand that you might sometimes require solutions only for a particular stage, as opposed to the process as a whole. With our ‘resource augmentation’ service, we are also happy to provide you with these micro services.
Here, if you already have a software, such as Automation Anywhere or UiPath as your base tool, we start off with the planning for your project, followed by the sourcing, and ultimately the deployment and monitoring. Our job does not end with having deployed the bot to your organization. We continue to keep you in loop, and constantly monitor the bot, in order to determine if it’s functioning well, and if any changes are required in it.

In addition, for every RPA project, we also shortlist those processes which, if automated, can possibly benefit individuals and organizations. We then run these processes through simulation software tools such as iGraphics, which help us to decide those stages or aspects where our existing process is redundant, and which can do better with innovation. This can also help to reduce your costs significantly.
We hope, through all these activities, we would be able to convince you of the dedication of our RPA team and the processes shortlisted by us.

Another feature that brings about a world of difference in the automation process is change management. Change management comes in when the entire process has already been chalked out, and then, suddenly…there is a modification to be made in one of the stages as per the business. Now, do we need to revise the entire format? Fret not, as XLNC is also capable of managing these sudden changes in a very effective manner.

3. Hey, that’s not it! We also structure your infrastructure for you.

“We need to stop talking about infrastructure as an engineering prospect, and more as an economic one,” someone rightly pointed out. That’s why we believe in providing you with the right infrastructure, which is economical, while also being highly specialized all at once.

So we have certain methodologies in place, which ensure that not only your current RPA project, but also any future undertakings, are secured and cost effective. All of these methods are packaged in the Centre of Excellence, which signifies the highest standard of implementation. We strive to achieve this with every client with whom we work. Right from the planning to the delivery stage, we try and loop every relevant team member, from executives to the topmost management, and train them about the various aspects of RPA. These persons discuss the purpose of this RPA project, the logic behind a particular solution, how it should be developed and the possible benefits that the organization as a whole, as well as specific individuals will achieve once the solution is deployed.

Following the detailed planning and the chalking out of an end-to-end process, we begin the actual development stage. Here, different team-members can buddy up with us and understand the whys and hows of things. With this knowledge sharing taking place, we are able to educate them about the limitless possibilities of RPA, not just for the organization, but also for themselves. This not only provides the employees of an organization with general information about RPA, but also makes them independent enough to carry out their own project without the help of a third party should they wish to go in for another RPA project sometime in the future. This helps one to reduce the instances of RPA failure, as well as ensures that an internal solution group is created within the organization itself.

With regard to knowledge management, we keep a systematic record of any obstacle that may come our way during the end-to-end RPA development process. This becomes a repository of sorts, which an organization can refer to, should it be met with any impediments during future operations.
With us, not only your present, but also your future is secured.

4. Technology meets cost reduction. Utopia? No. Reality!

We believe in providing you with the best services, with extremely specialized experts on board, and using the best technological equipment, and keeping cost-reduction always in mind. Yes, this is for real. Right at the start, we try and understand your ‘as-is process’, where we meet your SMEs and take into account your exact requirement, so we can deliver accordingly, and avoid all jargon.

Once we have chalked out a plan and detailed process structure for your project, our technical experts design a Target Operating Model, which is a blend of the traditional ways of working, and the modern technological operations. We then present this Target Operating Model along with a guestimate of ROI. Out of all the processes shortlisted by us, we recommend the process that you should ideally start off with, so that your ROI can be seen as a chain reaction. Additionally, we may also do a Proof of Concept, if need be, for a particular process. In the ‘recommendations’ stage, the specific processes to be used in the RPA development project are earmarked, and the possible elimination of unnecessary procedures are carried out, which reduces your costs further.

And so, my friends, XLNC always stays true to its word of excelling at our excellent services. Are you still worried about cost reduction? Come, get in touch with us; and leave the rest to us!

RPA PROJECT END-TO-END PROCESS: Here’s Everything You Need to Know From Scratch

“It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame,” says Marshall McLuhan.

With the advent of the new wave of Robotic Process Automation, not only has the picture within the frame of the 21st Century world changed tremendously, but along with it, a systematic framework of planning, developing and applying the same has also been developed. Undoubtedly, the idea of developing and applying bots to various sectors and domains sounds exciting and interesting. However, is it feasible to apply RPA to every area, and for every task? More importantly, even if one were to correctly figure out the specific domains where RPA can prove beneficial, is it possible to directly begin the process? Are there any steps involved before and after the bot is designed and applied?
We are back with a blog once again; and this time, we shall discuss the ‘behind the scenes’ of automation – the amount of extensive planning and process that goes (and should always go) into the making of your brilliant bot:

1. Chase the plan! Umm…sure; but plan the chase first?

Benjamin Franklin rightly said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
The same definitely holds good for RPA as well. When an RPA project is intended to be taken up, its purpose and potential benefits need to be defined very clearly. Automation is advisable only when the task in question is repetitive and rule-based, and hence, a thorough evaluation of the nature of the concerned task is crucial right at the start.
Detailed end-to-end processes may sound extravagant and exciting, but these might end up causing a hole in your pocket if the budget is not estimated prior. Besides the rationale and budget estimation, one also needs to plan the time-frame within which the project needs to be completed; conduct a review with stakeholders regarding the scope of the project; and produce project charters, handbooks, a project scope template, and estimation template. Last but not the least, there has to be a formal intent between the clients and the RPA company that seals the deal between the two parties, taking the decided scope and budget estimate into consideration. Phew! Quite some work even before the work begins.

2. A good process is the way to progress

When there is a process in place, there is a framework you can always fall back on during times of doubt and uncertainty. Again, the same is the case with RPA. When the detailed plan of the RPA process is established, and the contract is approved, the Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, which is a methodical sequence that breaks down and explains complex rule-based operations step by step, is established in order to ensure easy programming of the bot. The infrastructure necessary for the potential bot development is established, thus creating a conducive environment for the bot-to-be. It is also important to conduct business process workshops, and capture control points and handoffs in order to ensure that the results of the procedure can be clearly defined and set. In addition, the process calls for validating the business process map, as well as any exceptions to the same. One also needs to design the process capture template, modeling standards and process maps, before the actual development procedures commence.

3. Gathering the data

The next step is to extensively gather information that can be crucial during the development stages. One also needs to capture the attributes in data collection, including volume, processing time etc. Another important stage is process standardization, which involves the establishment of certain technical criteria or standard, based on the ideas and opinions of different concerned individuals or institutions. Process standardization ensures validity and consistency of the RPA development strategy. A gap analysis, concerning an analysis of the discrepancy between the stage in which the plan currently is, versus the ultimate desired goal of the project, is carried out at this stage. This data should be further validated in order to ensure credibility and authenticity of the same. Templates and databases concerning best practices should be formulated and analyzed; and the questionnaires and templates used to gather data, as well as the cost analysis template must be presented.

4. Recommendations

Here, the specific processes to be used in the RPA development project are earmarked, and the possible elimination of unnecessary procedures are carried out. One identifies the activities within the concerned domain that need to be automated, and detailed analyses of cost benefits, technical and general feasibility, and complexity; as well as prioritized and automation roadmap recommendations are carried out at this stage. Towards the end of the stage, an automation roadmap sign-off takes place, which is an agreement between the concerned parties regarding the mutually discussed plans and processes. Recommendation report templates and transformation roadmap templates are also carried out here.

5. And let the games begin!

The RPA development process begins once the recommendation report templates and transformation roadmap templates have been approved. The Target Operating Model, intended at providing a vision to the RPA project; as well as a Technical Design Document, designed by the solutions architect, consisting of the detailed technical process to be followed in developing the bot, is conducted at this stage. The Knowledge Management System (KMS), and Configuration Management Database (CMDB) are updated in accordance with the current RPA plan, so that any changes may be successfully documented for future reference. The bot report and KMS & CMDB updated should be validated, and the coding documentation is reviewed. Lastly, templates regarding TDD, coding documentation and KMS are created.

6. The proof of the pudding…is in its eating!

And for this reason, it is important to carry out User Acceptance Testing, where a person with expertise in the concerned domain applies the bot to perform the repetitive task, and gauges the benefits of the same. A ‘mock’ environment is created, and the test procedure is captured on a video. This is followed by exit criteria and reporting, and test closure. Next, a test suite, as well as an incident closure report and UAT report are prepared and validated. Lastly, templates on test-case, handover and incident report are prepared to culminate the stage.

7. And the bot can see light of the day!

With the validation of these templates, our bot is now ready to face the real world, where it is put to work, and allowed to contribute effectively to the workforce. Post this, the TDD and coding documents are handed over to the client, and constant back-and-forth communication between the clients and developers takes place in order for any faults in the bot to be reported instantly. A back-up of the bot is preserved on the CMDB for future reference. Feedback and Return-On-Investment report are carried out in order to measure the relative efficiency of the newborn bot, and customer satisfaction is also gauged. Lastly, the ROI template and customer satisfaction report are prepared.

The making of a process robot involves extensive planning and analysis, and the continuous contribution of a number of individuals and groups from different areas. This collaborative, intensive process is surely not cake-walk. But when the entire process is carried out with utmost care and enthusiasm, it surely helps to make some tasks a cake-walk.

9 REASONS WHY YOUR RPA PROJECT MAY FAIL: Automation isn’t Always Perfect!

As more and more industries and sectors across the globe have begun to delegate repetitive computer-based tasks to process robots, the world is now extensively placing its trust on the efficiency and infallibility of these ‘software magicians’. Two different humans performing the same chores, the same individual performing the same chores at different times can lead to different results. But we often perceive bots to be (and rightly so!) unmistakably consistent, faultless, almost Utopian entities.

Having said that, can RPA bots be so unbelievably perfect as to surpass their imperfect human-creators? Can your process robot ever goof up? And if so, what are the possible reasons for these errors? And how can they be rectified? We’ve already spoken about the various myths about RPA. So we’re back with a blog, and all set to present to you the top reasons for the failure of RPA:

1. Have you designed your design correctly?

“Good design is good business,” says Thomas Watson Jr. And when it comes to RPA, good design makes sensible bots. In order to create good bots, it is important to visualize how and where your bot should function, and what purpose it serves in its domain of concern. When one etches out the end-to-end process of design and development, the change-management processes, and the desired end-result accurately, the process robot can then take birth as a perfect entity.

2. Are you missing the woods for the trees?

The Gestalt theory states that while the comprising parts are important to form the larger picture, the whole is much more than just a sum of its parts. The same holds good for your RPA development process. While it is important to ensure that every stage of the bot development is taken into account with equal importance, your RPA project can turn out to be lopsided and faulty if we overlook all other processes for the sake of performing that one step to perfection.

3. Phew! Just created my awesome bot. My duty is now over. Err…is it?

Wait! Is it enough to simply create your bot and ensure it functions in the concerned domain? The world is evolving every day, and with the unstoppable changes constantly taking place around us, our bots cannot afford to be old-fashioned. For this reason, it is important to keep track of your bot even after it has been successfully implemented, and modify it whenever required, in accordance with changes in data systems, security aspects, or any other important facet that calls for an update of your process robot. Also, regular maintenance of the bot ensures that it continues to function effectively.

4. Are we all equally supportive of our bots?

More often than not, our innocent bots are feared and shunned by individuals or departments that can significantly contribute to its development and application. A lot of professionals, including accountants, do not provide extensive internal support in their fear of losing their jobs to process robots. It is important to bust these unemployment myths surrounding RPA, and garner their support for the development of bots.

5. Mentally ‘process’ your process. Too simple? Too complex?

It is important to microscopically examine the process to achieving the end-result before implementation. If your plan is too simple, you probably need to push the boundaries a little further. But don’t push it so far ahead that you have much more in your plate than you can chew! Select a practical, manageable process for designing your bot.

6. On your marks, get-set…not going?

How efficient is your bot? While bots do not have mood-swings and Monday blues, it is possible that they might not be as efficient as you had intended them to be; for the simple reason that there have been errors in coding and designing of the same. With repeated verification and second opinions, nothing is impossible…including your bot’s perfection.

7. Time and tide…you know the rest!

There are always enough instances around us that constantly teach us effective time management. Yes, RPA is a lengthy and time-consuming process. And yes, you would have to exert efforts. And…yes. It’s extremely rewarding. Since end-to-end processes may be exhausting and time-consuming, you must carry these out only when you have the resources of time and effort with you.

8. Scale ‘up’ your bot today.

Efficient development of consistent as well as flexible bots is the need of the hour. That’s where scalability comes in. When you make your bot scalable, you can develop additional bots in a cost-effective manner. Plus, you can then add new features to the same bot with little inconvenience.

9. Automation for efficiency, or automation for laziness?

“Everything that can be automated, will be automated,” says Robert Cannon, internet law and policy expert. However, it often happens that everything that need not be automated also ends up being assigned to bots. In order to avoid this malpractice, it is important to clearly define the purpose of the RPA development process, and the nature of the task to be performed by the potential bot. Lastly, one must not forget that while bots can be made to perform a few monotonous tasks for humans, they are the result of the human intellect, and can never replace humans in any field.

While the idea of perfection seems utopian in itself, it is still possible to attain a perfect bot if a rational and valid purpose, a systematic process outlined from start to end, and the right amount of time and effort, are all taken care of prior to, during and post its development. A perfectly automated bot can significantly contribute to developing a monotony-free and dynamic future for the world, while faulty automation can pose obstacles to the economy. In the words of W.L.W. Borowiecki:

If you automate a process that has errors, all you’ve done is automate the generation of those errors.

THE RPA EMPLOYMENT DYNAMICS: 5 Lucrative Job Profiles in the Automation Industry

According to cielotalent.com, “Robotic Process Automation will help humans become more human at work.”

With the advent of the new ‘RPA revolution’ of sorts, the world is now readying itself to offer huge job openings…to bots. As Robotic Process Automation is rapidly developing process robots to perform various tasks in different sectors, these bots have become nightmares for a lot of humans. Since time immemorial, data entry and other ‘back office’ jobs have been a source of employment for thousands of working-class people. Thus, although extremely monotonous and repetitive, these jobs are still looked upon as indispensable and relevant.

However, contrary to popular belief, RPA actually opens up a world in itself, with relevant and upcoming job opportunities for persons from various backgrounds. By eliminating human-labour for certain ‘robotic’, monotonous tasks, RPA ensures more creativity, growth and upward mobility. So fasten your seat-belts and stay tuned, as our RPA flight takes off on a journey to a lucrative future! We are back with a blog, to present the top 7 most lucrative and well-paying RPA jobs:

1) Business Analyst:

Let’s face it. Even the most intellectual or out-of-the-box jobs consist of some repetitive tasks at some point or the other. What if these tasks were taken care of, while your head and heart continue to work together to produce more significant outcomes? An RPA Business Analyst begins this process for you.
As a business analyst, you become the stepping stone to a world of lesser and lesser monotony. A BA mainly handles the ‘discovery’ phase of an RPA project. Is this particular task repetitive? Can it be automated with positive results to the industry? Would there be any technical hitches? And most importantly, what are the steps involved in this automation process? Over to the business analyst!
Oh…and Glassdoor reports suggest that the average salary of a BA is $57,010 – $62,069. So what are you waiting for? This is one of the most lucrative RPA jobs.

2) Solutions Architect:

Congratulations! We have now passed the ‘discovery’ phase of the RPA solution. Now that we have a plan in mind, we now need to redefine the process very precisely and work on the development and application of the tools and techniques. Enter the solutions architect. With an average salary of $1,18,593/- (as per Glassdoor reports), a solutions architect literally focuses on the ‘architecture’ of the process – designing and helping establish a practical and appropriate structure to it.

3) RPA developer:

And now, to bestow life upon our bots, we have the ‘magicians of the RPA domain’ – the RPA developers. As an RPA developer, you have a huge responsibility on your shoulders, to design and develop the bots from the scratch, and test their impact on the given area of concern. You will also keep the BAs and SAs in the loop all the time, ensuring that the process is implemented as planned.
Quora reports suggest that an RPA developer earns anywhere between $68,000 – $1,25,000 a year.

4) RPA management supervisor :

An RPA management supervisor is responsible for managing and overseeing the RPA jobs. S/he basically works on improving the allocation of resources and enhancing overall functional performance of the process robots.

5) RPA service support:

Customer service and one-to-one customer support can never go out of fashion as long as humans exist. You can extensively contribute to the RPA world by working in the customer service sector, and resolving queries and answering questions of clients, including individuals and organizations, institutions and academies.
Now, on-the-job learning can never go out of fashion either. In order to bestow life upon your bots, you also need a supportive, active infrastructure. The customer service support team also designs and supports the infrastructure required to build process robots. It assists RPA vendor installations, helping in server builds and troubleshooting, etc.

“You have to understand technology. You don’t have to be a software developer, you don’t have to have any particular expertise as a starting point,” rightly says John Kidd, head of digital operations and robotics at Bank of Ireland.

Even as a fresher in the field of automation, it is possible to learn the hows and whys even as you actually work on these RPA jobs. It is important to remember that at the end of the day, it is humans who design automation and bots. And so, they can never assume so much authority over us that we become redundant.

6 RPA MYTHS THAT TOTALLY NEED TO BE BUSTED

“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, Page 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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