Implementing RPA in easy step

Implemenation Roadmap

Many people are interested in the benefits of RPA but have no idea about the level of difficulty involved in the implementation of an RPA solution. The most common question asked by our new clients is how much work is involved in setting up an RPA process and can anyone manage it? The answer is, it can require much work at times, especially during implementation, but without a passion for learning, implementing an RPA system will pose a problem.

The critical thing to remember is, by following a plan and taking the right precautions, the process can become straightforward and stress-free. Once your first RPA process is in place, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. It’s a bit like installing a dishwasher; every time you load it and push the start button, a wave of satisfaction occurs when you think how much better it is than the alternative!

To provide you with a general understanding of implementing RPA, we’ve created five easy steps you can follow.

  1. Organising an implementation team

In my experience, two to three people conceptualising and implementing an RPA project creates a much smoother process. As a minimum, you will need a staff member who is an IT expert and another who can visualise the process and its desired outcome. Having a third person to support either of these team members is beneficial to speed up completion. Why not more than three people? RPA can be implemented in numerous ways and often without a right or wrong answer. By having fewer people involved in the initial implementation, there are fewer opinions which can delay the process.

  1. Follow a plan

Once you’ve gathered your small team, planning your RPA project is essential to make the process as smooth as possible. 90% of problems do not come from the introduction of the RPA system but rather the behaviour of the system and application you are automating. The implementation team should record each step of the process that is to be automated to help combat any issues. For example, write each action, in order, down on Notepad. For each step of the process, question whether this step is necessary; can this be performed more simply? (think, shortcuts).

After completing each step of the process within your project plan, optimise each step until you are confident it cannot be improved. Depending on the RPA tool you use, you can split these steps into bot actions and define a logic the bot can follow. The good news about implementing a new RPA system is, the project team does not have to cover every tiny detail; through setting up the RPA system, you can adjust small details to rectify errors as they happen.

  1. Implement the plan

Once the plan is in place, the fun can begin. Having a plan will keep the team focussed and reduce the number of snags that occur at the beginning of a new IT project. Depending on what bots you use, you can record the bot’s actions, test them individually or create a logic to execute them. How long does it take to implement? Based on the complexity of the project, it can range from a few days to a few weeks.

  1. Fine-tuning

After the initial implementation and all the bot’s actions and logic are defined and programmed, you will enter a fine-tuning phase. By letting the bot work on its task, ideally using dummy data or stopping short of fully executing a process, watch for any mistakes. For example, opening an application. We’ve all done it, opened an app and got an error message because it won’t load properly. This is a potential issue the bot will need to handle. In this example, by entering the fine-tuning phase, you can implement logic that can kill the application and try again.

  1. Maintenance

With the initial job done and the RPA system implemented and fine-tuned, the team should now embark on the maintenance phase. The RPA bot will continue to complete its tasks without human interaction but should be monitored to ensure no further errors occur.

By following these steps, your RPA process will be up and running smoothly and efficiently in no time.

If you’re interested in upgrading your workplace and implementing RPA or have some questions, contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

 

Written by David Griffith, Edited by Claire Louise Smith

 

 

Advertisements

AmdoSoft is awarded a place on the UK government’s G-Cloud 11 Framework

Gcloud

-AmdoSoft is now a certified supplier of cloud services on the latest G-Cloud 11 framework for organisations within the public sector.

LONDON, 2 July 2019 – AmdoSoft Systems Ltd, a state-of-the-art technology and services platform for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), announces it has been awarded a place on the prestigious G-Cloud 11 procurement framework.

The G-Cloud framework is an agreement between the UK government and suppliers who provide cloud-based services. Divided into three categories, or “lots”, G-Cloud buyers in public sector organisations can use the Digital Marketplace to purchase cloud services.

G-Cloud Lots:

  1. Cloud hosting such as content delivery networks or accounting software
  2. Cloud software, for example, accounting tools or customer service management software
  3. Cloud support, including migration services or ongoing support

By using the Digital Marketplace, public sector organisations can procure cloud services faster and cheaper than entering into individual procurement contracts. AmdoSoft has been awarded a framework within lot 2, to provide Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that are accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud. Buyers only need to pay for what they use.

“The fact that the UK government’s Crown Commercial Service has approved our state-of-the-art RPA solution on the latest G-Cloud framework is a further acknowledgement of the hard work the team puts into RPA security and reliability. We look forward to working with more public sector organisations in the coming year,” said David Griffith, Managing Director of AmdoSoft in the UK, “Our mission is to use Robotic Process Automation to liberate human vision and creativity that can unleash new levels of efficiency to the UK economy. It is also a testament to our transparent and fair pricing structure.”

 

AmdoSoft Systems aims to change the productivity of every industry at a fundamental level. By achieving the latest iteration of the Cloud Framework, Cloud-11, AmdoSoft show they are committed to providing their clients a more accessible, flexible and transparent way of procurement in line with UK government’s Cloud First policy, launched in 2013.

According to the latest figures, a cumulative total of more than £4bn of cloud services have been procured via G-Cloud across its ten iterations, including £912.4m during the first three quarters of the 2018/19 year so far.

The  AmdoSoft RPA Service on G-Cloud 11

About AmdoSoft Systems Ltd

Established in 1998, AmdoSoft is RPA Technology vendor and service provider with a long standing history in IT automation and in protecting business critical processes organisations value today. Customers include large service providers as well as end users in the mid to large enterprise market crossing all types of Industries. AmdoSoft product “b4” is a mature state of the art technology with wide-ranging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) applications. AmdoSoft has expert knowledge, and extensive know-how in successfully orchestrating, completing and delivering industry and organisation specific solutions. Partners and customers can expect excellent support and care in all aspects when working with the AmdoSoft team.

Avril Bunton-Williams starts at AmdoSoft Systems in the UK as Head of Customer Relations

001 - White Outdoor 1

AmdoSoft is pleased to announce that Avril will take on this prestigious role; ensuring existing and future customers and partners feel welcome and satisfied.

Avril has an impressive résumé and has proven herself many times in her career by having dependable skills in administrative management, business management and project management.

A statement from Avril Bunton-Williams about her role:

“I am excited to start with AmdoSoft, an innovative technology company which is here to help people understand and realise their potential with Robotic Process Automation.

My primary role will be working closely with individuals, managing the client/provider relationship and keeping track of the RPA journey. Ultimately enabling us to build and maintain good relations and ensure we always meet our customer’s needs.

Also, I will focus on conducting account reviews to ensure our customers are satisfied with the quality of service they receive from AmdoSoft. This will include monitoring company performance against service level agreements.”

When asked about the benefits of RPA, Avril, responded:

“Having a robotic workforce enhances the way people work by relieving them of those humdrum, mundane and repetitive tasks. Many employees perform tasks that remain stagnant for some time because it is human nature to get on with the present workload. It allows little time for an employee to do what they are best at; the need to liberate true human potential through VISION and CREATIVITY. This is what RPA is designed to rectify.”

Besides being an accomplished businesswoman, Avril has finished writing her first book, “A Parent for All Seasons”, and has dedicated herself to bringing a message of hope and success to people around the world; breaking through the boundaries that limit people and help them shape their futures.

AmdoSoft wish to express their sincerest thanks to Avril for joining their ever-increasing, dynamic team and are looking forward to the positive effect this will have on their customer and partner experience within the UK.

How to choose an RPA tool based on its functionality and your requirements

If you’ve been following our blog, you know you want automation and you know why RPA is the best solution for your project, but what exactly should you look for in an RPA tool and what functionality best applies to you? This article aims to clarify the different types available and help you decide.

Central or Simple?

First, you need to know if you are you looking for a centralised solution where you can configure, deploy and manage multiple bots for various purposes OR if you’re looking for a solution that you can install on your PC to automate some mundane daily tasks.

If you need a centralised solution, then look for functionalities such as an Orchestrator or Master Controller that gives you this management possibility. If you need a simple, individual bot on your computer, you may want to exclude RPA tools that offer these functions and focus your search on so-called attended bots.

Configuring an RPA bot can be challenging at times, which is why I recommend having an RPA tool with functions to make this process easier; here are some examples:

My top recommended function of an RPA bot

If you want a bot to perform complex tasks and be able to react in several situations, it’s best to have a Workflow Engine. Ideally, you want one that can graphically configure and maintain the logic and rules your bots will follow. This is the main difference between an intelligent bot and one that keeps clicking into a black screen.

Other Recommended Functions

Recorder

An RPA recorder is an additional function that lets you use your mouse and keyboard with special shortcuts to record and teach the bot what you want it to do. In some tools, you must go into the code which can be complicated and time intensive, so this is something to watch out for if you aren’t up to scratch with coding.

Image Recognition

RPA bots can differ hugely in terms of their capability. One good example is image recognition. There are multiple methods that bots can use to perform their actions; the most basic one is using coordinates; make sure the bot can orientate itself visually (for example, recognising the internet explorer icon), so it knows which image to click.

Depending on your requirements and goals, there are other essential things to look for in an RPA tool such as:

  • Security features
  • Reporting capabilities
  • Integration possibilities
  • OCR
  • AI
  • System Monitoring Capabilities
  • IOT Possibilities
  • IT Automation

This list is not extensive and is only supposed to give you a brief overview of the functions an RPA tool can have. If you have any questions, contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

The number 1 RPA process that will benefit ANYONE and EVERYONE in ANY business

Are you interested in RPA, but don’t know where to start? Are you also worried about spending vast amounts of time and money on consultations? These are some of the main concerns businesses come up against when deciding to implement RPA within their company. They’re excited about the benefits of a robotic workforce within their business, but often stop short when it comes to using RPA, simply because they don’t know where to start or worry about the overall budget.

Furthermore, an RPA solution is usually very company specific, and although it’s the quickest and easiest way to achieve automation, it still needs a significant amount of preparation and cooperation with team members who are cautious and perhaps not too motivated to have robots as future colleagues. So, what’s the number 1 RPA process and can it benefit anyone’s core business I hear you ask? It’s called End to End Monitoring of your critical applications.

What is End to End Monitoring?

End to End Monitoring is employing RPA bots to log into your business’ various applications such as ERP, CRM or any online application that your organisation needs. The RPA bots can be instructed to measure the performance and availability of different functions that are critical for your business.

For example, if you own an e-commerce business, the last thing you want is your customers experiencing interruptions at various points of the buying process. How many times have you used an application that didn’t work correctly? It’s frustrating and lowers your opinion of that website or app. A big no-no when you’re expecting buyers to bring you revenue. By employing RPA bots, they can check the processes within the application regularly and alert the responsible person by saying, “Hey, I couldn’t add an item to the cart 3 times in a row, sort this out!” Once the responsible person is alerted, they can fix the error before it affects your customer’s experience.

End to end monitoring applies to customer-facing services as well as internal processes by instructing the RPA bots to report whether these processes are working correctly from the user’s point of view.

What else can End to End Monitoring do?

The benefits of End to End Monitoring doesn’t stop there; you can get accurate measurements, alerts and data that pinpoint issues proactively and save yourself and your customers from process disruption. I bet you’re wondering why you haven’t implemented this automation process sooner?

This is something to think about the next time you’re on the phone to a customer service line, and the operator says, “sorry for the delay; the computers are running slow today”. Sound familiar? RPA bots can help remove these poor experiences for everybody within your business and users of it. Employing bots will receive acceptance in-house for several reasons; the RPA bots alert the responsible team to fix errors without them having to perform the mundane, repetitive tasks themselves, your staff that use the office systems will not be getting frustrated with repeat system errors, and your customers will have a quicker, more pleasant experience as a result.

Everyone Wins!

All these benefits of End to End Monitoring have a positive effect on people involved at each end of your business and in turn, save your company money and potentially increase its profitability thanks to increasing its staff productivity and end-user reliability.

David Griffith

What are the alternatives to RPA and are they any good?

Over the last couple of topics, we’ve discussed what RPA is, dispelled any fears of the process and listed the benefits to companies. If you’re still unfamiliar with these, please go back and refresh your memory. Once you’re familiar with RPA and how it works, the question that follows is, are there any alternatives to RPA?

The answer is yes.

There are numerous ways you can automate a process, and these alternatives are already being implemented across a wide range of industries, in every part of their organisations. In this article, we’ll discuss two different options to RPA; applications and BPM software.Applications – the perfect alternative?Organisations use loads of applications day in, day out. This could be in the form of managing their Outlook contacts or managing more complex business processes within an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

Just like RPA, applications are used to increase productivity by automating tasks. They sound the perfect solution, don’t they? Predominantly if a company has already implemented them. Not necessarily; although applications are designed to increase productivity like RPA, they can only do this on standardised tasks which benefit the whole business industry and their customer bases rather than the individual organisation’s unique processing needs.

Sadly, you can’t customise applications for an organisation’s unique processing needs.BPM software – supporting the automation process of applicationsIf applications aren’t that great on their own, what’s another alternative to RPA? Introducing: Business Process Management (BPM) software. BPM tools can support the automation of processes that run over multiple applications. BPM software is beneficial for businesses because it uses a variety of methods to achieve this automation.

If you’re thinking, that’s great! BPM software is for me! Hold your horses; there are a few things you need to consider. The downside to BPM tools is they’re expensive to acquire and maintain; a specialised team of staff are required to maintain the system on an ongoing basis so in most cases, where a smaller budget is involved, it might not be a viable solution.Things to rememberOverall, it doesn’t matter how a business automates the process if you follow these golden rules:

• Research how much it costs in licence and services

• Know the length of time for implementation

• Keep a realistic figure in mind for maintenance of the system

• Make sure the system is secure and reliable

With some crucial points to consider for applications and BPM software, RPA still comes top of my list for the most sensible way to automate business processes. For example, a business which has been built from the ground up over the last 10 to 15 years will have started with basic tasks, basic software and minimal staff. As time goes on, the business expands and adds new applications, processes and new team members into the mix. The company works and ticks along nicely, but it’s inefficient and slightly chaotic from the outside looking in. The reason this example is inefficient is that it would require numerous changes to company systems at regular intervals. Each time a change occurred, it may cause the breakdown of daily productivity (which isn’t what you want at all).

Anyone previously involved with changing a company’s ERP or critical business system will agree that the cost of these changes and the amount of effort involved mean businesses tend to hold off rectifying issues until the very last minute. Why RPA trumps the restSo, there you have it, the alternatives to RPA and why RPA has plenty of advantages over them; with RPA, there aren’t any obligations or special requirements. Bots don’t require the company to change their system or business processes to facilitate automation. RPA bots allow any company, in any situation to quickly and efficiently utilise the power of automation by putting the existing systems in front of the bot. Great, isn’t it?

However, before you think RPA is a magic potion that’s a doddle to implement, think again. It requires careful planning and a well thought out implementation process, so if it’s something you’re considering, it’s best to seek professional and experienced partners.

David Griffith

Return to AmdoSoft Blog, Videos and News

Are RPA bots replacing people?

The short answer is yes, but the long answer is no. Confused? Let’s try and clarify this.
Being a bit of a veteran in the automation industry, in my experience, automation, in general, is as good as the people that make use of it.
Most of the progress for humankind relies on automation being developed by smart, capable people, which in turn creates more challenging jobs overall. However, the main concern people have with RPA bots is the way they automate tasks by imitating how humans complete processes with machines. Don’t worry; you won’t suddenly see a Terminator-like robot walking around applying for jobs at the job centre! However, they are associated with reducing the need for human employees and creating job losses.
If you’re unfamiliar with how an RPA bot behaves, they don’t run in the background like an application or change any of your existing systems; they interact with your current system the same way a person would.
The main aim of a business is to make a decent profit; unfortunately, a lot are focussed on reducing costs to make this profit margin bigger, especially in recent climates where recessions have occurred. Companies that use RPA can reduce the amount spent on wages by removing whole departments. For example, an administration department could potentially become obsolete.
Please don’t despair; it’s not all doom and gloom. RPA brings plenty of benefits to companies and their staff. If you’re an employee, sorry to disappoint but you won’t be sat in the break room eating your weight in biscuits; companies that embrace RPA technology can employ their human task force for more mentally demanding job roles while an RPA bot gets on with the repetitive and mundane tasks employees used to complete. Also, I have witnessed many situations within businesses where bots and automation have been used to secure peoples jobs by increasing the productivity of the organisation and keeping it competitive in the market place.
Still worried about bots taking over the workforce? I’ve got 2 words for you; Vision and Creativity. The ability to adopt, adapt and improve to any given situation is the best human qualities that cannot be replicated and unlikely to be within the next century at least. Humans can interact with others on a personal level; they have a sense of moral duty, understand language skills and work well together even in stressful situations. Computers can’t do any of this, who’s ever seen the blue-screen-of-death before because your PC just gives up and cannot rectify a problem? It can only work within its built-in parameters.
Now you’re breathing a sigh of relief and can see a small number of benefits to using an RPA bot, what’s stopping you from using them to automate your business processes, provide a service that uses a virtual workforce or automates logging in to your online billing systems to pay your bills? Save yourself some time and effort and relax, knowing it can be performed error-free with RPA bots.

David Griffith

Return to AmdoSoft Blog, Videos and News