Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will have a huge impact in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, while organisations can see the benefits, implementing RPA requires careful planning. Organisations need to understand how to align RPA with the mind-set of their leadership, the requirements of their future workforce and the impact of RPA on their workplace culture.

Here’s why organisations must consider these factors

At the start of your RPA journey, if the initiative is not aligned with leadership’s expectations it will be difficult to achieve the intended transformation of your organisation’s operations from RPA. Also, the absence of leadership's belief can lead to the misunderstanding that implementation is elusive and not beneficial. Therefore, based on your business case, you may wish to do a proof of concept or a pilot programme to demonstrate its worth. That way you can align the initiative with the expectations of your organisation’s leadership, regardless of its scale and scope.

Understanding the requirements of the future workforce is also important because RPA will transform the way your workforce looks in the future. The robots added by RPA will be your next virtual workers, available to the wider talent pool of the organisation. It’s important to understand the requirements around this workforce - how they would be available for disposal and how effectively they can be utilised within the organisation to create value.

Finally, with any initiative there’s always a level of associated culture change. RPA is no different - by introducing robots as a new virtual workforce, organisations change the way they assign work, deliver tasks and manage their workers. Therefore, companies need to think about how this change impacts different aspects of the business and decide on a framework that mitigates the risks that may arise from this change, as well as how to effectively blend this new pool of resources into the culture of the organisation.

Making those fundamental first steps

RPA must be part of an organisational strategy and should able to adapt to the value needs of the organisation, guided by its various work streams. At Deloitte Digital New Zealand, we start by inspecting the strategy to establish if organisations are ready for the fast change and the new workforce that RPA brings.

To see how RPA can fit strategically, we need high visibility of the benefits that organisations expect to get from it. Often service partners give the greatest insight since they have access to key methodologies, frameworks, and artefacts designed specifically around RPA. Organisations also offer insight in the form of business functions, value chains and components that support the delivery of value. With that knowledge in place, organisations can start their journey towards implementing RPA for the future.

For more information on how automation can help businesses grow, please visit the Deloitte guide on robotics and intelligent automation for business leaders here.

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