RPA Implementation Procedures in UAE: FAQ
Automating business processes or a part of it is becoming one of the most popular and accepted practices by companies worldwide. As part of digital transformation drives, such decisions can help reduce operational costs, and more importantly increase your profits and customer satisfaction levels. RPA, or Robotic Process Automation is the most sort after automation solution as it helps simulate repetitive human tasks with the help of bots created by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. It allows management to use their workforce more productively on other tasks.
But most of the so called “implementors” or “influencers” will have one question in mind, how long does it take to automate all our processes? Well, in most cases, the answer will be “it depends”, but if you have a clear-cut knowledge of each processes and workflows, it will be easy to estimate the time required for automation. One factor, you should always consider is the scope of adding new modules or the tweaks in the overall processes.
Automating Complex & Time Processing Processes
Often, the major criteria of selecting a process for RPA is its complexity and the time consumed by the employees to execute the same. Based on the complexity, you can define your processes into small, medium, and large categories. Basically, you can classify it depending on the number of execution steps involved.
1.What are the different approaches towards the RPA implementation in UAE companies?
There are few earmarked approaches which UAE companies’ approach towards the implementation of RPA.
Happy Path Approach: Here, the approach is to keep the implementation days short, i.e., anywhere ranging from 1 to 10. The Bot development is done at a rapid pace and the development and production environment are kept separate. The swift development processes also allow the bot experiences to be fed into the plans and decisions this providing “Happy Path” solutions for other processes or help enhance the “Happy Path” to deal with varied expectations. This type of process is more valid to Small and Medium businesses in the UAE, where mostly will be concentrating on short term costs and expenditure.
Agile Approach: Agile development is the flavor for many GCC based IT companies these days. It helps streamline lot of processes for modern IT projects, especially if the volume is high. In agile RPA implementation, the development period is divided into short sprints of 10 days each. The testing processes are done in each sprint and the entire release and delivery process is done in 20 days or less. Maintaining and upgrading an existing system is also most effective using this approach.
Starting Approach: Most small companies in UAE opt for this approach. It is a slow but steady implementation where the focus is more on progress rather than perfection. Here one bot executes one RPA process thread to deliver a beneficial project. Upon, its success, the company can take confidence from the same, and expand the process to a diversified scale.
2.Where do we start the RPA implementation process?
Emails, to shared folders to even your office scanners can be the starting point of your RPA executions. The whole idea of Bots is to mimic the user behavior and the flow of information from one application to another in your business processes. As a result, it is important to map the dependencies in these interactions first. The bots should have clear instruction that it must keep focus on one application at a time and then when to move to the next step or the application.
3.How can we define the RPA execution steps?
As said earlier, these steps can differ based on the complexity of the application and the processes. Let me give you an example here. Suppose we must automate the entry of a particular department’s bills, by fetching it from email directly and feed into to an ERP system, all we need to do is program the bot to look for incoming emails from a particular address and write another to fetch, download and push into an ERP system. As simple as it sounds, this can be made more complex with certain scenarios. Sometimes, you want to check emails only with specific subject lines, or we need to check for emails with attachments only, or drilling further down, attachments in a specific format like PDF or Excel. For each requirement, Bots are programmed with separate rule engines.
Normally, the steps are defined based on the user experiences. One factor, you may have to consider is whether the steps are in line with your company security policies. Also, keep the steps as granular as possible to avoid any issues in the future. An RPA flow constitutes of multiple levels of complex steps and a Bot must ensure that no information is lost during these entire processes.
4.How to deal with errors related to the process automation?
The first step is to check the nature of the error, whether it is critical or not, next is to log the error and report the error to the support team. Make sure that you enter the restore mode and check the status of already processed batches. Check for processed items when Bot was down and if all is clear, attempt to repeat the failed step after a short delay. Of course, the level of the failure depends upon the complexity of the steps.
5.Should I go for partial or end-to-end robotic process automation systems?
In most times, it will be highly difficult to automate your end-to-end business processes. There will be lot of applications and processes involved. Sometimes, interfacing with a third-party application APIs will be difficult which can prevent automating the processes involved with those applications. Moreover, end-to-end automation means that your employees will begin to feel more insecure in their jobs. In my opinion, first go for partial automation and then slowly push into an end-to-end one if possible.
6.How much time is required for RPA on-boarding & test preparations?
If all the feasibility tests are done and all the automation steps are carried out and all concerned permissions are obtained, all the departments should be duly informed and educated about the processes. The onboarding time varies from one organization to another, it can take anywhere between 2 to 8 weeks for on-boarding alone. Next up is the user acceptance testing (UAT) phase. If clear test case documents and scenarios are prepared and defined, the process will be smoother. Ideally, you will not be needing more than a week to complete the UAT phase.
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