What is RPA and why should you consider implementing it?

RPA is taking industries by storm.

From healthcare, finance, insurance, and logistics to national defense and smart cities, companies are looking for ways to automate data-heavy, repetitive tasks, cut costs down and increase efficiency. And with the rising costs of resources and employment, broken supply chain, and growing competitiveness the need for process optimization is greater than ever.

Top solutions for the finance and banking industry.

RPA, or Robotic Process Automation, can fully automate complex, data-heavy, time-consuming tasks and get them done in a split of a second. With the 0% margin of error and being able to run 24/7, this technology can unlock the productivity of your team, letting them focus on tasks that matter.

And what RPA can take care of? Among many things, it’s especially good for things like data entry on a scale, document processing, account registration, eligibility checks, transferring huge amounts of information between various systems and CRMs (sometimes from the public domain), or integrating whole departments. (You can read more examples of Robotic Process Automation implementation here).

But for RPA to truly shine and bring value to your business, it must be done right. That’s why a correctly mapped RPA development process is so important.

RPA Development Process: Step-by-step

Here is a model RPA development and implementation process in 9 steps. This is what an organization looking for an automation development partner should expect from the collaboration every step of the way. 

Of course, in some cases, the process will be different: you may already have very specific automation for implementation in mind or maybe you already have some automation (or even RPA) setup in place.   

But usually, the whole journey looks like this.  

Step 1: Intro call

This is more of a step zero in the RPA development process, but it is important to mention. As every collaboration starts with a conversation, the RPA development process starts during the intro call between the client and the agency.

During the first call, you should talk to a business advisor or an RPA consultant. They should ask you about your company, your business challenges, and your processes. The goal here is to understand your needs and vision.

At this point, you will be asked if you have a specific process for automation in mind, or if you are interested in implementing RPA more broadly within your company and need help in selecting the right processes.

Depending on the answer, you will either be asked to take part in a process discovery workshop or get straight to analyzing the process you want to automate, making sure it is eligible for automation.

What is needed from you at this point?

A decisive person (preferably: upper management) to take part in a 30-60 min discovery call.

What is the outcome of the step?

The RPA team has collected the requirements and understands your needs.

Step 2: Process discovery & audit. Legal compliance check.

In most cases, this will be the first step of the collaboration that adds value to the process.

If you are not sure about which processes in your company should be automated, RPA consultants and business process advisors will enter your organization, and talk to your team in order to discover all the processes. The goals here are to identify bottlenecks, and suboptimal flows and map your actions, tools, and stakeholders.

The RPA team should also analyze all the legal implications and aspects of automation to ensure compliance with relevant juridical systems, such as HIPAA compliance for the medical billing industry in the US.

Next, the processes should be audited and their automation potential should be analyzed, based on the expected ROI and Expected Business Value.

These are just some metrics you can focus on. You can read more about the key RPA metrics and how we calculate them here.

Afterward, the technical Architect in collaboration with the process Architect will put together a Process Definition Document (PDD) which contains the information about each and every process/step in depth.

This step is also a great opportunity to look at your company from the outside and learn how are you operating day-to-day.

What is needed from you at this point?

Selecting a Single Person of Contact for communication.

Selecting people to participate in process discovery workshops

(usually: management, people operations, tech leads)

What is the outcome of the step?

A map of processes within your organization and automation roadmap

Step 3: Selecting processes for automation PoC

Based on your business needs and estimated ROI that can be delivered from every automation you and your RPA development partner will together select a key process that should be automated in the first place.

The model RPA development process should start with automating one, a key process in a form of a Proof of Concept.

The rest of the processes should be moved to the backlog for future automation after the PoC is validated successfully.

Learn more about selecting your first process for automation.

What is needed from you at this point?

Your involvement in selecting the process

What is the outcome of the step?

First automation Proof of Concept plan

Process backlog for future automation

Step 4: Technology selection and setting up the automation environment

With your processes mapped and selected for automation, your RPA team should now recommend an RPA technology the best suited for your needs. The tool could be any of the enormous amounts of tools present in the market, but, the top 3 tools in today’s market are UiPath, Blue Prism & Automation Anywhere.  

After the automation tool is chosen, the team will proceed with selecting the right licenses and setting up the RPA environment.  

What is needed from you at this point?   

Approving the technology.  

Purchasing licenses if needed.  

What is the outcome of the step?  

Technology selected. Licenses purchased.   

RPA environment setup

Step 5: RPA development

After implementing the chosen RPA platform it’s finally time for the good stuff – bot development! Your dedicated RPA developers will write bots along with the reference of the Process Definition Document.  

Depending on the task to be automated or the kind of automation required, there may or may not be additional coding needed. In some cases, the development may be speeded up with the use of reusable plugins or pre-existing bots.  

But every case is different!  

What is needed from you at this point?  

A Single Person of Contact for further questions about the process and IT assistance (if needed)  

What is the outcome of the step?  

An RPA bot ready to be tested 

Step 6: Review & User Acceptance Testing 

Once your bot has been developed, the next stage is to test it.  

RPA bots are tested either by the dedicated testing team or the development team itself. It’s being done in a safe, pre-production environment to check how the users can utilize this bot to automate a specific task.   

If the testing is successful, bots are set for deployment.  

If there are any issues upon diagnosis, then the bot goes back to the development and testing teams for resolution.  

What is needed from the client at this point?   

A Single Person of Contact for further questions about the process and IT assistance (if needed)  

Final bot sign-off  

What is the outcome of the step?  

A bot is tested and approved for deployment or sent back to development.  

Step 7: RPA Deployment

After developing and successfully testing a bot, it is deployed into the production environment – your first RPA implementation is finished. 

Now your team can work alongside the bot and your process will be automated from now on!  

What is needed from the client at this point?  

Nothing. Just relax and have the job done for you!  

What is the outcome of the step?  

Process Automation 

Step 8: RPA Scaling and Automation of the Next Processes

After the successful deployment of the first bot and validating your PoC next processes can be taken care of.   

Developers will go back to the backlog and select the next one for automation, still keeping in mind the potential ROI you can achieve.  

This step can be repeated until all the processes eligible for RPA are automated.  

What is needed from the client at this point?  

Your involvement in selecting the process  

A Single Person of Contact for further questions about the process and IT assistance  

What is the outcome of the step?  

Further automation

Step 9: Ongoing Maintenance or Training and Knowledge Transfer  

Once all the bots are online and running, the RPA development process is finished. But, of course, there is still a question of maintenance and keeping the bots healthy and updated. Systems get updated, and databases and CRMs are changing which sometimes affects the RPA bots’ performance. RPA may be doing all your work, but you need to put some effort into keeping the system alive and well.

At this point, you should be able to make a decision if you would like to keep the hired team as ongoing support and maintenance or get your own team to take over.

If you decide to bring this know-how to your company, a model RPA development partner should provide relevant training and workshops for your team.

What is needed from the client at this point?

Your decision
Selecting team members to be trained

What is the outcome of the step?

Either way – your RPA system is in good hands :)

Conclusion? Start with Robotic Process Automation today!

This is what the model RPA development process and its implementation should look like.

We hope we managed to bring some clarity to what should you expect from working with separate RPA developers or an RPA development agency like ours.

If you’d like to start with RPA or just check if your processes are eligible for automation, reach out to Flobotics! Our RPA developers, RPA consulting experts, and business consultants will analyze your process, calculate the potential ROI and automate the right processes that will have the biggest impact on your business.

Let’s automate your company together!

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Radek Moczydlowski

Tech Lead at Flobotics, passionate about making people’s lives easier by writing RPA or .Net solutions. A very quick learner and a perfectionist which is always visible in the work he delivers.

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