Driving Business Integration of RPA
Implementing any new technology into an organisation means providing some level of education to established teams and business areas in order to drive cultural adoption.
Some teams will be more resistant to change than others. Getting buy-in across an organisation as a whole is a challenge and overcoming resistance is therefore critical to ensuring the success of any RPA program.
Transparency is critical in getting the business to accept the Digital Workforce as part of the culture and business integration should, therefore, be an ongoing focus of your RPA program.
In order to do this effectively you should look to:
- Gain business buy-in by keeping all members of the organization involved in RPA activities and not 'force' RPA upon them
- Be transparent about the RPA program to remove any fear of the unknown
- Build relationships with business areas by asking what you can do for them
- Create a strong relationship with IT right from the outset. This should be business owned and governed and supported by IT
- Ensure that your RPA vision, culture and brand support that of your organization's vision, culture and branding.
Critical Success Factors
There are three critical success factors to help you overcome resistance and enhance cultural adoption across the organization. These are: Strategy and Alignment, Sponsorship and Organizational Culture and Employee Engagement.
It is essential for you to have a coherent strategy, vision and purpose in your approach to automation. We have found that customers who consistently communicate their vision across the whole organization are the most successful at deploying a scaled digital workforce.
Questions to consider:
- Can everyone in your organization clearly articulate what your vision is?
- Can everyone demonstrate what they are doing in their normal job to help the organization achieve this vision?
- Why did we decide to deploy RPA and has this been well communicated?
- What will be the benefits of RPA and are they being communicated?
- How is RPA linked to the corporate strategy and is this being communicated?
- What are the communication tools that the organization is using to communicate about RPA?
- How effective are the communication tools we are using? Are there any measurements of effectiveness?
All RPA programs should have executive sponsorship to drive success. This is no different to any major change initiative.
Questions to consider:
- Do we have an executive sponsor who supports the program and can remove obstacles?
- Are employees from all levels invited to submit processes for automation?
- Is management creating the space for employees to participate in RPA projects?
- How can we create the space for people to be innovative and automate more processes?
- How can we empower leadership in our organization?
- How can we motivate people to initiate RPA improvements in their work?
RPA is changing the way that people are working and as with every change, there may be resistance. It is critical to understand where this resistance is coming from and take actions to minimize it.
Questions to consider:
- How positive is your organization generally to change?
- How has your organization recently dealt with major change? How were these changes received?
- Is the organization encouraging employees to express their opinion, think out of the box and be innovative?
- Are teams more or less likely to resist change?
- What is our key messaging on the reasons for deploying digital workers?
- How do we consistently share the key messages across the organization?
- How do we identify which teams may be more resistant or more open to RPA?
- How can we best prepare the organization for accepting the digital workforce?
- How can we effectively engage employees?
- How can we best identify any underlying reasons for resistance?
The Four pillars of RPA Business Integration
There are many tools, tips and creative ways to help the business culturally adopt RPA as part of the organisation.
We have categorized these methods into four pillars which provide guidance on how you can achieve or improve your business buy-in.
Educating your organisation helps everyone to understand the capabilities of the digital workforce and how this can be complimentary to their daily role. Growing understanding of RPA will help reduce fear of automation.
Head of RPA Fireside chats: This is a series of recordings/podcasts where the Head of RPA talks about Blue Prism, the capabilities of the core product, the types of processes that are right for automation, which processes have been automated and their performance.
Business Roadshows: Taking RPA out to the business to showcase your achievements, generate interest in the RPA programme and the digital workforce. Making this visual and relatable to your organisation will help reduce the fear of the unknown. Roadshows are effective when there is an element of fun included.
Business Process Champions: Your business SMEs will play a vital role in your RPA program. They are the source of process knowledge and will support your COE with defining, designing and testing your processes. The business SMEs will also help you evangelise RPA across the business and find further opportunities. Up-skilling your business SMEs to help identify opportunities will help you keep your pipeline healthy.
Lunch & Learns: Much like the fireside chats these are recordings/podcasts/webinars, but they are use-case focused. Talking about past achievements and how you created the automation will help educate the organisation and drive more potential automation opportunities. You can also use these sessions for Q&A.
Automation Education Book: Create a handbook on the capabilities of RPA and what can be automated. Then distribute across your organisation.
Leadership Sessions: Meeting with the leadership team to present the capabilities of RPA, processes you have already automated and what is planned in your pipeline. Gaining trust at the top level will filter down and make it easier to engage with department managers.
Process Discovery Workshops: Using Process Discovery Workshops helps to educate a group of SMEs on what are the right type of processes to automate and how to prioritise these. These SMEs can act as RPA evangelists across their departments which will help to maintain a healthy pipeline of opportunities.
Providing a view of your pipeline, the benefits of automation and the performance of RPA in the organization will create transparency for your RPA program.
As with any other business activity RPA should be reported back to the business regularly. Consideration should be made to the audience of the reports and how to communicate the messages. It is important to ensure your reporting is aligned to your RPA vision and overall corporate objectives to ensure you’re promoting the right benefits.
Here are some example of reports commonly used to promote RPA:
Automation Update: Regular updates on program performance, the state of the pipeline and the cumulative program deliverables.
Automation Performance Update: Regular updates on the performance of the digital workforce, the volumes processed, the volume of exceptions and the cost of service.
Business Update: This is aimed at the wider business audience and therefore needs to communicate the story using business sensitive wording (avoiding terms such as FTE reduction)
Pipeline Reporting: Reporting to business owners on what is in your pipeline. This helps you manage the message of changing priorities and the rationale for the timeline of deliveries.
To help embed RPA into your business we recommend consistently using your corporate branding and communicating in line with your company culture.
Here are some examples you can use to help integrate RPA into your culture:
Launch Branding: If you decide to brand your RPA team then make sure you also launch it business-wide for maximum effectiveness. It not only promotes what the RPA team does, but it shows that the team is very much part of the business.
Business Incentives: Incentivising the workforce to come up with automation opportunities will not only drive an interest in RPA, but will help fill your pipeline with opportunities. Example incentives include: writing opportunity identification into business objectives; using monetary prizes for the opportunity with the biggest benefit; or offering an end of year award for the most amount of opportunities identified.
Digital Worker Introduction: Some organisations have made the decision to ‘name’ their digital workers. This approach can make the digital workforce less intimidating for some. Humanising the digital workers can encourage an element of fun, make them more relatable to the human workforce and encourage team working.
Use of Social Media: Social media is a powerful communication tool that makes reaching the whole organisation easy and instant. Having a page dedicated to the Centre of Excellence, their activities and the digital workers themselves will provide a positive method of communication to the wider organisation. Using social media also moves away from the usual rigid ‘Business Communications’ and allows for a more light-hearted approach. If social media isn’t a tool available to the organisation, this type of communication can be replicated using intranet/extranet pages, a dedicated web page or regular newsletters.
Aligning Business Culture & Branding: RPA branding should be aligned with the business branding to ensure automation is seen as part of the fabric of the organisation. Using internal communication teams to support this will ensure all branding and communications are consistent.
Communication is important for the RPA team in order to gain buy-in and remove fear.
The more transparent about what the program is doing, planning and delivering, the more informed and included the organization feels. There should be consistency in the way these messages are communicated. Below are some suggestions for executing consistent communication to the business:
Communication Plan: Creating a plan of how and who to communicate to will keep your messaging consistent and frequent.
Communication Stakeholder Grid: Identify the people in the organisation that should be communicated to and the level of communication they should receive. Think about business sensitivity when communicating the levels of benefits to ensure the workforce don’t fear the loss of jobs to the digital workforce.
Assigned Communication Owners: Assign owners for the different types of communication so there is consistency and a regular cadence to the messaging.
Communication Templates: Setting up communication templates for reporting, business updates and social media will ensure consistency in messaging and branding as well as being more efficient.
Feedback Loops: Ensuring that any time someone submits an opportunity for consideration, there is a feedback mechanism in place to keep them updated on progress. If processes go into a perceived "black hole", even if they are being worked on, this will quickly destroy trust and people will lose interest.
Top Tips for RPA Business Integration
- Communicate why you are deploying RPA in your organization, for example "to maintain a competitive advantage in market"
- Engage early with your communication team
- Engage with senior management to communicate the message. The message for RPA should be cascaded from the top
- Use common ways of communication: Team briefs, videos with senior sponsors, posters, workshops
- Be consistent with your messaging and the frequency of your communication.
- Create quick wins and communicate the benefits
- Acknowledge and publicly recognize the effort of employees embracing RPA within the organization
- Create the space for employees to be more innovative. Examples include: organising workshops, using ideation and continuous improvement tools and techniques, and enabling them to build time into their schedules to consider automation opportunities
- Place RPA targets in the performance management plan of employees to enforce and reward participation. (Please note: Although this might be successful in a mature organisation that has an established RPA organization, this approach may not be ideal for organizations that have just started their RPA journey and have not educated employees about the benefits of RPA and strategic alignment.)
- Educate all members of the organization about what RPA is and it's benefits for them
- Consistently communicate to the organisation, showcasing new automations and demonstrating the benefits of RPA
- Recruit internal advocates or champions to evangelize about RPA across the organization
- Engage early with those who are keen to be involved in RPA. These advocates may be part of the Centre of Excellence team, or may be business users keen to utilize RPA. Have them join workshops to discuss RPA initiatives with other areas.
- Increase participation and involvement of employees through encouraging submission of processes for automation, providing timely feedback and offering RPA training
- Enable people who may be affected by automation to have their say and express concerns and ideas through constructive dialogue. Resistance is not always negative as people may raise challenges which do need to be addressed
- Celebrate success: Recognition of employees that are participating in the change and that champion RPA will encourage more employees to get involved.
Blue Prism’s Success Accelerator program combines various levels of mentorship and access to our Expert Services, Technology Ecosystem and Certified Partners based on the size and maturity of your digital workforce operations.