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Robotic Process Automation - Tool Selection Overview

 

Robotic Process Automation - Tool Selection Process


 

Introduction

It is very important for organizations to select the right tool / service provider when they embark on their robotic process automation journey and this blog focuses on this of tool selection approach.

In this blog, we had taken a peek at the 'RPA Tool Selection' approach typically taken by organizations, the typical questionnaire items and how the IT partner can be prepared with these and how it can plan adding a value by strict adherence on these asks.

 

Tool Selection

As a prerequisite to tool selection, organization needs to analyze its business processes and identify the areas which are good candidates for RPA. Identification of these business processes can be done by scoring the specific business process against the following simple questions:

Q. No

Question

Score

1

Is the process or step routine / simple and involve repetitive steps?

1 - Less Likely

2 - Agree

3 - Strongly Agree

2

Is the process or step rule based and doesn't involve ad-hoc or unstructured decision making?

1 - Less Likely

2 - Agree

3 - Strongly Agree

3

Is the data involved in the process or step captured or available in a structured format and fields?

1 - Less Likely

2 - Agree

3 - Strongly Agree

4

Is the data involved in the process or step digital?

1 - Less Likely

2 - Agree

3 - Strongly Agree


Based on the strategy for automation, organizations usually classify the automation eligible business process in 4 quadrants as listed below: 
 
Diagram_Tool_1.jpg

For the identified business process, multiple relevant stakeholders (Business Process Users, Business Process Owner, Functional SMEs, IT) should be involved for evaluation of the RPA Tools to be used.

Below parameters are typically used by organizations to select one of the tools offered by different service providers:


Diagram_Tool_2.jpg


Above mentioned points are elaborated in below chart. Scoring for each option being considered is done by Organizations against these parameters and 'winner' can be identified.


Parameters for Evaluation

Tool Capability

Dashboard & Reporting

UI simplicity, user friendliness and navigation  

Ease to generate standard or ad-hoc reports

Customization ability to modify look and feel of dashboard, charts, etc.

Design & Build Usability

Ease of using for development or change of process automation

Out of the box connectors with common platforms (e.g., Excel, Siebel, SAP)

Robots triggering capability  for executing  automation

Process automation recording capability

Capability to automatically create KT documents like produce process flow diagrams, guide

Capability of tool to identify process improvement opportunities

Available documentation for training & support

Administration,  Management and Allocation of Robots

Sequencing and Workload Distribution & Prioritization capabilities

Centralized and decentralized robots allocation capability

License sharing for usage of robots or dedicated licensing

Impact on IT Architecture

Ease of integration with other Internal and External systems in the organization's IT Landscape

Centralized or decentralized change configuration management capability

Solution adherence towards IT architecture standards

Ease of code migration to TEST, PROD environments and rollback methodology

Scalability of tool to handle higher volume during peak hours and increased volume over the time

 

Access & Security

Role/Group based access and ease of access management

Ability to integrate with existing SSO or Authentication tools like Active Directory, LDAP

Audit Trail maintenance

Compliance & Regulatory Standards

Adherence to regulatory guidelines e.g. SOX compliance

Audit trail and Log creation for audits

Licensing

Robot license costs and license sharing options

Design and Build Cost

Cost and Effort estimates for end-to-end implementation including design, build and test

Change Mgmt. / User Training

Train the Trainer, Change Management activities support i.e. training material availability

Maintenance & Support

Cost and resource support estimates for technical upgrades and maintenance


Conclusion

This tool selection and business process identification activity though as simple it sounds, is one of the key activities involved in the robotic automation process tool identification and laying down the scope. Due diligence is very important at this stages to avoid any scope creep, misalignment with business process and wastage of time and efforts of team involved. 

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