Are you going to build an RPA bot for your business and get rid of all the time-stealing tasks to boost your manpower’s efficiency? Wait! Read this first.
A significant number of businesses have failed in implementing RPA on the other hand, top performers are getting 250% increase in ROI according to Automation Anywhere. Reason some business cannot achieve the same success is that they don’t have a better understanding of RPA lifecycle stages. As a result, they face many challenges at each step during its implementation which impacts their productivity, budget, and ROI.
To ensure it does not happen with your business, get a holistic view of the different stages of the RPA bot’s lifecycle through our blog.
Robotic process automation is a self-explanatory word where each term has a clearly defined meaning. Robotic means software entities that copy humans’ actions. The process is a series of steps to get a meaningful activity whereas automation means robotization of any task to eliminate human intervention and speed up the process.
Thus, RPA can be said as a technology that allows bot to perform boring, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks that are generally performed by humans and used to consume too much of their time. With RPA, the process is fast with no or less possibility of errors which is obvious in the case of human work.
Any task can be automated. For example, a bot can be made to automate the filling of a spreadsheet that requires the same actions to be done every time. A complicated task like the processing of a Bill of Material (BOM) in the manufacturing industry can be automated as well with the help of OCR (optical character recognition) and deep learning.
There are several such industries where RPA finds its application such as treasury management in the finance industry, product categorization, inventory supply management in the retail industry, etc.
A bot can do all these tasks without any error if trained well. For that, the robotic process automation life cycle must be implemented properly.
The RPA life cycle is nothing but a structured process of identifying which task needs to be automated and how the software bot will be developed and deployed to deliver the automation. Each phase of this cycle consists of multiple stages, a bot must go through.
In addition to the implementation part, the life cycle of a bot needs to be assessed at each stage to ensure that it is delivering the right results. If not, improvements can be made to execute the automation task correctly.
The entire process is completed in six stages with an additional stage where the execution of the RPA bot takes place. Have a quick glimpse of those stages in the diagram given below.
The RPA bot’s life cycle begins with a crucial step where businesses need to decide which process requires automation. If not done carefully, then the next stages will be a total waste of time and yield no profitable results.
Refer to the list below to understand what kind of processes can be automated using RPA. Processes that are:
• Manual and repetitive in nature (the frequency of repetitiveness can be daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly)
• Activated by readable input types such as input from excel sheets, word files, etc
• Rule-based and do not require much human intervention
• Structured and contains stable inputs
• Voluminous in nature
Processing of huge volumes of invoices, sales order entry, ERP data entry, P2P process, and human resources-related processes such as leave authorization, attendance management, onboarding, etc fall under the above categories. You can choose any process that fits your future business operations and brings a suitable ROI to you.
To ensure that your RPA bot project does not fail miserably, it is important to do the process analysis. Here, you will get answers to important questions like-
• How much time your business will save by automating that process?
• Is the process dependent on too many systems?
• Is the process a high-volume task or not?
• Is it prone to too many errors when done manually?
• Is the process fit for automation?
These questions help you select the right process for automation which is not vulnerable to bot errors and deliver tangible returns. An RPA expert, Subject Matter Expert, and the operation user will work together at this stage to check whether the process is automation friendly or not which ultimately prevents breakdowns and bot failures.
It also helps businesses to get process clarity, stability in business continuity plans, and improve productivity and ROI. As a result, RPA implementation can be done at a faster rate. At this stage, complexity analysis of the process, scalability, code re-usability, technology landscape, and ROI analysis is also done.
The advantages of automating the task should also be taken into consideration at the discovery stage to make the analysis process fully proven. It can be any of the following things a business must want to achieve with automation:
1. Increase in profit
2. Better productivity of employees
3. Higher efficiency with minimal resources
4. Reducing manual errors
5. Standardizing the process
6. Improve compliance
7. Gain better scalability
8. Provide better customer experience
The actual process of RPA implementation begins from the third stage where a technical architect and process architect create a process definition document (PDD) which contains detailed steps of the process.
The purpose of PDD is to provide as much information as required to successfully implement the RPA and recognize any gaps or possibilities in the process. It has information like- what would be the process flow, common errors, and metrics to be judged, any dependencies, transaction load, resource availability for support, any exceptions, etc.
The budget for the RPA project, time to be spent on it, team requirements, a necessary tool, and other information are also mentioned in the PDD. The next step is creating an Object Model Diagram which is nothing but a flowchart to give a bigger picture of the process to be automated. Also, the developer will get to understand the process requirements at each step.
Though RPA is better than traditional programming and requires no serious technical knowledge of programming language, it is still best to have some level of understanding. Because this stage is very crucial and any mistakes at this point means your bot is not going to meet the expectation.
You also need RPA tools for development. Here’s a list of some of the popular tools offered by the reputed vendors:
• Automation Anywhere- It is a widely used open-source cloud-native web-based automation platform that allows businesses to automate complex tasks. The best part about automation anywhere RPA tool is that it offers script less automation. Meta bots, task bots, and IQ bots are the types of RPA bots that can be developed using this tool.
• UI Path- High-scale automation is possible through this open-source RPA tool. It can automate any web app or desktop application and make the bots smarter using NLP and AI/ML technologies. UiPath offers cloud hosting options along with advanced screen scraping solutions. It consists of three components- Uipath Studio, UiPath Robot, and UiPath Orchestrator.
• UI. Vision- Another open-source RPA software that you can pick is UI. Vision formerly known as Kantu. It is a cross-platform tool that offers browser extension for visual desktop automation. Compatibility with Selenium IDE, screen scrapping, command line interface, visual UI testing, and the ability to work offline are a few features of UI. Vision.
• WorkFusion- An all-in-one RPA tool for enterprises is WorkFusion which comes with intelligent automation feature. Pre-built bots, analytics, an automation studio, and an automation orchestrator are some more features of this SaaS crowd computing platform.
RPA tools are used to create automation scripts and codes. Each code executes the step as mentioned in the PDD. Also, the script should be such that the bot can handle variations in inputs.
Once the automation scripts for your digital workforce i.e., RPA bots are developed completely, a user acceptance test is run to check whether it satisfies the requirement or not under a pre-production environment. The bot may exhibit errors during testing, in that case, the fourth stage is repeated to remove the flaws from the bot. Again, a UAT is run on the bot to check if it’s working as desired.
If the bot successfully passes the test, then it is deployed in the next stage.
Deployment is the second last stage in the RPA life cycle where the functioning of the bot is guaranteed. Here, it runs on the production environment or host environment and is managed through an orchestrator.
If any errors occurr in RPA bot. it is sent back to the testing phase to fix the final errors. After ensuring that the automated bot is ready to be implemented in the business architecture, it is moved to the last and final stage i.e., execution where it provides the expected results of automation.
However, the Robotic Process Automation lifecycle does not end there, continuous support and maintenance is needed at each stage to ensure that the bot does its task with high precision. Otherwise, businesses cannot reap the benefits of RPA some of which include an increase in per-employee output, a reduction in processing cost, the safety of sensitive data, scalability of business opportunities, and more.
These benefits are the reason why the demand for RPA is proliferating, and most companies consider this technology as its integral part.
Softude is your way to implement RPA in your business without worrying about the designing, development, and maintenance of RPA bot. From determining the automation process, building a roadmap for the manual process, designing, and implementing RPA bots, deployment, and maintenance, we help you at every step. Collaborate with us according to your business needs & get IT rfp for the service you are seeking.
You can also get in touch with our RPA specialists anytime you get stuck in the process or need assistance regarding RPA bot issues. We are happy to assist you in achieving your business goals via RPA.
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