Challenges in adopting RPA for Indian Market
Robotic Process Automation Market in India
Robotic Process Automation market demand in India will increase at a CAGR of more than 20% in the next coming 5 years 2019-2025. Indian RPA market is lagging behind the global market (North America and Europe regions) we expect this to the gap to reduce over the next few years. we try to focus on a few challenges related to the Indian scenario and what should be the approach to be adopted for RPA Vendor and Services partner.
Challenges for RPA Adoption
The Indian market consists of organizations at different levels of IT adoption and IT maturity. This needs to be a key factor while identifying the business processes for Robotic Process Automation.
We have listed down key challenges from our experience and would emphasize this excludes Global Captives and IT Services organizations where adoption of RPA is on par with global trends and is also testing bed for a lot of R&D and innovation in intelligent automation (Integration of RPA and AI/ML) before it is taken out to global customers in different geographies.
- Buy-in from all Stakeholders
In the Indian scenario, we have seen that C-Level executives understand and appreciate the benefits of RPA and go ahead with their plans for selecting the RPA vendor or partner for implementation. However, the main stakeholders who need to be brought on board before the RPA journey is the business division or department stakeholders which could consist of the business owner, department head, operation lead, and key members of the operation team which works on the business process day-in-day-out. It is the responsibility of the RPA Partner to highlight this aspect to C-Level executives and involve the next level in decision making while identifying the right use-case.
- Identifying the Right Use case
This is a crucial step in any RPA journey, and it is important for both the implementation partner and organization to work together in this exercise. Most organizations make the mistake of picking up a use case which is easy to automate based on the complexity and has fewer touchpoints with different departments and convincing to be done. Such RPA journeys would result in challenges going forward as this concept needs to be bought in by all stakeholders and needs to be embarked in a collective way for the RPA program to succeed.
- Documentation Challenges
One of the key tenets of RPA is to start with identifying the right use case and then understanding all steps and flow of the current business process (As-Is-Process). In most of the organizations, this information is not documented or not updated with business process changes. This is where a good amount of time needs to be spent by process analyst from RPA Implementation partner to gather all the scenarios of the use case (both positive and negative scenarios) and given that this information won’t be available to one person it is important to speak to multiple people in the operation to gather this information and document the same.
- Changes in Existing Systems
In any RPA use case, it is important to establish right at the start of the engagement that RPA won’t change behavior or make changes to existing systems and only automate aspects that are currently being performed on these systems by human beings. It is important for the RPA Implementation partner to understand the roadmap of changes and releases of the existing systems involved in RPA, as we have found that changes/releases during automation or after a short period of bot going to production, results in a lot of re-work and should be avoided. So, the champion identified within the organization should take the responsibility of sensitizing this to the internal stakeholders and liaising with concerned for external or third-party applications.
- Integration and Infra challenges
It is important for RPA Vendors and Customers to identify the key point of contact for the integrating applications and access aspects sorted during the initial days of planning after identifying the use case. Delaying this or addressing this during the RPA Engineering would result in lot more delays and waiting time which would impact the timelines for RPA engagements. The decision of on-premise bot deployment and cloud-based deployment also has to be made before starting the RPA journey, as we have seen that organizations take time in procuring and deciding the hardware, software, and cloud-based subscription.
- Non- availability of Testing Data and Environment
Availability of Test Environment and proper test data with different types of scenarios is crucial for validating the bot and ensuring that proper testing is done before rolling out to production. Most of the time in Indian organization setup, the test environment would not be present or even if present might be using a legacy application, this is a major risk and it is important to avoid this and mitigate it. It is important to identify these risks and plan for mitigation. It is understandable that third-party applications might not have test instances and, in these cases, use a stub-based approach and the same needs to be factored in by the RPA implementation team.
- Change Management and Post HyperCare Support
Most organizations have challenges post rolling out the bot to production due to a variety of reasons like expected ROI, fall out scenarios (exceptions) which were not factored during the process definition, non-cooperation of the operation team, environment-related challenges, integrating application changes. It is important to have a separate plan and daily tracking and coordination among all different stakeholders. This is where the RPA implementation team has to handhold the identified champion to lead the change management and ensure that all issues are tracked and closed.
- Choosing the right RPA tool
It is important that this step is performed after spending a good amount of time on the discovery phase (identification of business process or use cases) for RPA. Some of the organizations purchase the RPA tool and then look at identifying the use case. The technology Landscape of the organization plays a key role along with the identification of the business processes/use cases for automation. There could be legacy applications, client/server, Citrix based, a lot of front-end processing required, etc. All these need to be factored in deciding which RPA tool helps in better and quicker implementation and which tool can stand the test of time.
We have tried listing some of the common issues found in RPA implementation in the Indian context, the list might not be exhaustive, but as we say RPA is a journey and not a project or program. Intelligent RPA is the way forward in achieving the process efficiency, productivity, compliance, and achieving customer satisfaction and nothing stops Indian organizations to leverage the same.