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cognitive

With All The Talk of Transformation, Are RPA Projects Bad? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Blog

This past week, I had the opportunity to deliver a keynote speech at the Dallas RPA and Cognitive Summit that focused on the difference between digital projects (in this case, RPA projects) and transformations. In a nutshell, here are the key takeaways:

  • Your Why Matters: RPA implementation by itself is not a strategy but an enable of a specific objective(s) the organization is trying to accomplish
  • What you want to accomplish can be far reaching: The outcomes of your RPA effort have the potential to range from IT operations improvements, business efficiency, or improvements in the customer experience. The closer to the customer, the more transformative the effort is likely to be
  • How you choose to execute determines your impact: Since technology is rarely a barrier to success, the alignment of the business stakeholders, the cultural adjustments, and the approach to risk management will be the determining factors in the ability to scale and to capture the intended value

While my talk was purposefully focused on pushing the group’s thinking around transformation, the world in which most of the attendees current live is all about projects. The dichotomy between my focus and their reality led one of the attendees to ask whether projects were a bad thing and what they as mid-level manager could do to encourage transformation.

RPA projects are not bad

RPA projects are by no means bad or inferior to transformation efforts. In fact, most transformation efforts are implemented through a series of projects. However, it is important to know that projects implemented outside of the context of a transformation effort will have limited impact. It is perfectly acceptable to do standalone projects – just do not expect them to deliver results that will be significant enough for customers or the marketplace to notice.

On the other hand, understand that you cannot run a transformation as though it were a project and expect good results. Given the level of complexity and need for executive sponsorship, transformation run as projects usually do not scale well beyond the initial pilot, take excessively long to implement, and rarely achieve business impact. If it is a transformation, run it as such.

Use RPA projects to ready your organization for true transformation

Realistically, if your title is Director of RPA, Business Process Improvement, Operations Excellence, etc., the chances of you being able to initiate a digital transformation in your organization are slim. That is not to say, however, that you cannot have some influence on the organization through you work you do with your RPA projects.

RPA adoption is still relatively new and most business stakeholders are not familiar with the potential impact it can have, comfortable with the different type of risk it brings, nor aware of the level of effort required to use it for transformation. An approach that starts with a project focus that creates a pull in demand from the business side of the organization could be just the early experience an organization needs to begin to consider RPA and other automation technologies as a part of its digital transformation efforts company-wide.

View the full presentation.

RPA & Cognitive Congress — January 17-18 | Event

By | Events

Key leaders from Everest Group will lead sessions at the RPA & Cognitive Congress held in Dallas on January 17-18.

Partner Cecilia Edwards will host a keynote session on January 18 focused on helping business leaders align AI with business objectives. Attendees will get a clear idea of how to pursue AI adoption with a strategic plan, rather than letting the technology do the driving.

Cecilia will also moderate a Fireside Chat on January 18 titled, The Holistic Digital Transformation: What is the Roadmap? She will discuss how to achieve seamless end-t0-end digital efficiency in the age of constant  transformation.

Chief Research Guru Michel Janssen and Managing Partner Eric Simonson will lead a pre-conference workshop on January 16 on what it takes to successfully set up an automation Center of Excellence (COE)

About the conference
RPA & Cognitive Congress Dallas is assembling leading service delivery and automation professionals for frank and pragmatic discussion about RPA, the benefits and opportunities of this technology, and the real-world challenges they’re facing in implementation.

Use cases from early adopters will demonstrate how machine learning technology and digitization solutions, such as OCR and NLP, can take out the human touchpoints of a process and supercharge RPA. This discussion will be framed within analysis of the organizational transformation that is necessary to fully maximize the ROI from process automation and future technological innovations.

When
January 17-18, 2018

Where
Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center
7121 Bishop Road
Plano, TX 75024 USA

Speaker
Cecilia Edwards, Partner, Everest Group
Michel Janssen, Chief Research Guru, Everest Group
Eric Simonson, Managing Partner, Everest Group

Learn more and register