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As the world continuously turns to technology as a solution for everyday workflow problems, the benefits of robotic process automation in the workforce become harder to ignore. The design, building, implementation, and maintenance of these programs can be a daunting process, and it’s difficult to even know where to begin. Thoughtful seeks to streamline the road to a successful, efficient automated digital workforce by offering automation as a service, not just a product.
In a nutshell, building an RPA software tool (which we call your “digital workforce”) is only the first step of the process. Many companies do this for exorbitant prices, then walk away after they get their paycheck. This is the “product” of automation. The “service” of automation comes on the back end after the digital workforce is deployed. This is the monitoring, maintenance, and upkeep of the digital workers and the processes they are performing.
What is RPA?
Robotic process automation, also known as RPA, is custom software that automates business processes that would normally require human input. Think of RPA as a digital workforce.
This workforce must be:
1) programmed to do specific tasks, and
2) updated any time something changes with the workflow process.
Many robotic process automation companies will develop the digital workers (part one) but fail to offer the maintenance service that keeps a digital workforce running (part two).
What does a failed RPA project look like?
Unmanaged digital workers often stop working and end up in the IT graveyard of abandoned tech projects. Processes are often changing, and digital workers cannot adapt to these changes automatically. The software developers that created the tool have to update the code to match the new process. If the instructions aren’t updated, the digital workers won’t know how to function.
Failing to update the workforce leads to an expensive new software tool that becomes completely ineffective only a short time after being deployed. Let’s take a look at an example of failed digital workforce implementation:
- Company A pays Company B to develop and launch a fleet of digital workers to streamline their invoice process
- Company B charges Company A a six-figure price for one-time development of the workers
- Company B walks away after getting paid, leaving Company A with unmanaged digital workers
- Company A has an influx of new business and must update their sales process accordingly
- Company A’s digital workers aren’t updated to match the new process
- Company A notices weeks later that their digital workforce is broken
- Company A is weeks behind in data management with an expensive software tool that is now worthless
The failure in this example happened after Company B, the company responsible for creating the digital workforce, walked away from the RPA tool they designed immediately after it was deployed.
With automation as a service, a specialized team tracks changes or errors and fixes them before they become problems. This keeps automations running and ensures that a diligent human is always overseeing the digital workers while your team focuses on more value-added tasks.
Without a team to monitor the digital workforce, problems can go weeks or even months without being fixed. By that point, the entire project is essentially useless, and there are two options: retire the project, or pay another service provider to repair it. Pretty convenient for the development company, right?