When I speak with customers, I am often asked for practical advice on how to quickly and successfully progress through the early stages of leveraging robotic process automation (RPA). Executives looking to operate at scale (where the enterprise-wide benefits are most impactful) typically ask these three questions:
- “How do we get started on the right track to scale quickly?”
- “What resources will we need to be self-sufficient?”
- “How should we organize ourselves to be successful with automation?”
For organizations to achieve the expected benefits from their automation programs, it is important to have a strategy for each of the questions above. These questions, and many more, are ultimately answered through an automation operating model that is unique to each organization.
Start to scale: The four automation stages
Most organizations will progress through four stages on their way to successfully scaling automation (as shown in the diagram below). As a company’s automation program moves through these stages, the executive sponsor, sources of the automation pipeline, and funding justification will all change. As a result, the scope of the automation operating model will mature.