Join Ian Barkin for an in-depth discussion in this video Key stakeholders in your RPA journey, part of Introducing Robotic Process Automation.
- The key to success in any venture is getting the right people aligned and on board. It's the same with RPA programs. In fact in my experience, RPA requires a greater level of cooperation than usual so heed this call. The key to RPA success is collaboration and communication. If there's one area where I spend a lion's share of my time, it's here, helping firms design their teams, select the right players, develop the capabilities and organize centers of excellence.
Let's review the key stakeholders you'll want involved. At the highest level, we'll discuss business stakeholders and IT stakeholders. Let's look first at the business and process side. One role you'll always see is the Subject Matter Expert or SME. SMEs are the employees who are experts at the process you're automating. They know the process inside and out and it's their job to teach the RPA team what each step is and then validate that all the relevant information has been captured faithfully.
The SME also plays a critical role later on in user acceptance testing. Now in some deployment scenarios, the SMEs are the RPA team. Enterprises have the SMEs learn an RPA tool and then automate their own processes. This individual do-it-yourself approach much like the era of Excel macros is not something I generally suggest unless the initiative is highly structured and governed and closely managed. When working at the granular level of complex processes, validation from all parties involved is crucial.
This is why team leads or similar roles like process owners are important. Team leads are the people who manage the SMEs. They often provide a higher level of process validation. Team leads also support by helping collect process metrics using their expertise to ensure that the needs of the business are met. Then we have your project managers. Like any other business project, these stakeholders help interface and communicate all things project-related. Project managers are essential to facilitate progress during development and to handle important issues when they're raised.
Now as I mentioned, your IT team is another critical set of stakeholders. I always emphasize the importance of early IT involvement and it's for a good reason. You don't want to surprise your IT team here. From my experience, senior IT managers can be skeptical of RPA and will have lots of questions about how it interfaces with the existing technology and complies with their security standards and protocols. So I repeat, IT stakeholders must be involved at the earliest stages of an RPA program.
There are several roles that may be relevant to your initiative. One is infrastructure support staff. This team is responsible for running the servers and machines that RPA requires, making sure that the automated solution has a stable environment in which to operate. Similarly, application-specific personnel are responsible for the upkeep and development of individual software applications in play. Information security personnel are always good to have in the loop as well. RPA often requires interactions between user accounts and the transfer of potentially sensitive data.
As a result, including them in discussions can help the RPA team align to security protocols and minimize risks. Then you need to consider who will maintain the RPA solution once live. Whether this is handled by an internal center of excellence or you choose to outsource this to an external service provider, looping them in is conducive to a smooth handoff of responsibilities. Of course, don't forget to keep project sponsors and executives in the loop. After all, it's probably their budgets you're spending.
So they'll want to know it's being spent well. With all of these different stakeholders in mind, it's even more important for each person to have a good understanding of RPA and ensure that stakeholders understand the benefits of RPA and how it can help to streamline processes and control costs. One way to accomplish this might be to get them to watch this course. It's what we designed it for and remember, your primary role is education. While robotic process automation has been a brilliant a name to gain the attention of a massive global market, it does still confuse people into thinking of robotic arms on shop floors or see C-3PO handling your accounting.
- What is robotic process automation (RPA)?
- The RPA vendor landscape
- Differences between RPA and other tools
- Best practices at the process and enterprise levels
- Identifying opportunities for automation
- Prime opportunity areas for automation
- Key stakeholders in your RPA journey
- Tips for success from the front lines