RPA offers numerous benefits to a company. It makes processes go faster with fewer mistakes, and humans are saved from doing tedious, repetitive tasks.
And RPA technology is regularly becoming easier to deploy. These days, just about anyone can be trained to automate various manual tasks.
But putting Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots in place doesn’t mean the RPA job is over. Constant RPA monitoring is crucial, and that means more frequent monitoring than what many companies might think. Checking over the RPA system every 6 months is simply not enough.
Here are some potential problems that more regular monitoring might discover:
The Bots Keep Making Mistakes
Bots are software. This must always be kept in mind, because this means that bots can be subject to common software issues. They can make mistakes, or even just stop working all together.
There are several possible reasons for these issues. Poor coding is an obvious suspect. Perhaps the bots weren’t tested properly beforehand before they were used. There might even be a problem with the process pick for automation.
With the more frequent and regular RPA monitoring, you can immediately detect when the bots are making mistakes or stop working. You can then determine the reasons for this problem and make your corrections.
In addition, it is best for you company to anticipate this problem and have a continuity plan if ever a bot needs to be shut down. That way, the business continues to operate.
The Bots are Inefficient
One of the points of using RPA bots to assist on a process is that the process then becomes more efficient. Things are done faster and with fewer mistakes. At least, that’s the expectation.
But there’s always the possibility that the use of RPA for a particular process might actually be less efficient than the manual process it previously replaced. This might even be true when the RPA bots aren’t actually making mistakes or breaking down.
At least with more constant RPA monitoring, you can detect this problem early on. That way, you can minimize the results of the reduced efficiency.
This problem can actually be prevented if you set up a formal procedure that determines which processes should be picked for RPA. This formal procedure should then take the following considerations into account:
- How important is a particular process to the business?
- How complicated is this process?
- How stable are the infrastructure and underlying applications?
- Are straightforward programming rules enough for the RPA bots, or is there some judgment involved for which a human worker will be needed?
When factors such as these are considered, then your business can pick the right processes to automate first.
When you start applying RPA for your business process, you should have formal governance procedures in place. These are the rules that everyone takes into account so that the bots created comply with internal standards.
A business will have a problem when there are no formal governance procedures or they are not applied evenly throughout the company. The business will then end up with different users simply creating bots while they’re unaware of what others are doing. These users might even simply pick the processes to automate on their own accord.
What you need is a team with overall responsibility for all the RPA use in the company. One prime example of this is to set up your RPA center of excellence that oversees all bot development in the company.
The RPA CoE can then come up with and impose clear guidelines for:
- How processes are prioritized for RPA
- How to build a bot properly
- How to manage bots across the entire development life cycle
Poor Data for Bots
Bots are basically software, and the quality of their work depends on the data they get. The data determines what the bots will do and how well they do it.
If you have good data, then all is well and good. But if the bots get bad data, you get bad work.
As such, you need the RPA monitoring to discover this as early as possible. Bad data leads to mistakes. Even when these mistakes are discovered, it takes time to make corrections. This leads to loss of efficiency.
But once the RPA monitoring discovers this error, your IT department can then take measures to ensure the integrity, cleanliness, and security of the data that the bots get.
Changes in Bots Can Lead to Unforeseen Results
Bots can break down or make mistakes when the company makes changes, such as to its business model, infrastructure, or to a particular application. Thus, bots have to be updated to account to these new circumstances.
But changing the bots for a particular process might then cause the process to fail. This means that these bots have to be updated properly.
Or, the bots downstream of that process may then fail due to these changes. Thus, these other bots have to be updated as well.
The RPA monitoring can discover these issues more quickly if such a monitoring process is constantly in place.
The need for constant monitoring takes Murphy’s Law to heart. If something can go wrong, it will. That’s true even for RPA, and the constant monitoring can help you discover mistakes as quickly as possible.