“I would think hard about how early or at what point tying the benefits of RPA to specific FTE [full-time equivalent] savings or cuts, at what point in the program does that make sense,” said James Immordino, vice president of ad sales, strategy, operations and finance at ViacomCBS. “Consider doing it later, because if people see RPA as ‘This is a reason to take away my heads,’ some people might initially be disincentivized.”
Among other challenges to consider is defining the roles of IT departments and end-user departments such as finance. Sometimes IT and other groups have shared responsibility for deploying and maintaining RPA bots that automate business processes including reconciling financial accounts, reading sales documents and producing Oracle database reports.
“There were differing views about who should run this,” said Jaideep Vijayakar, director of finance strategy and transformation at Equinix, a global colocation data center vendor. “IT had a strong feeling that this is a technology initiative that needs to be done with IT. And for finance, we felt it was a business-focused technology that could be run by people like me and my team, who have a mix of technology and process experience.”
For Equinix, one strategy to humanize bots and make them more relatable is to name and visualize them with individualized images.
Meanwhile, Elliot Stivers, global director of robotics and artificial intelligence at InterContinental Hotels Group, noted that in a project with Wonderbotz, the RPA firm helped devise a method to use URLs in the Tableau analytics visualization platform to streamline an RPA application. “That was a big time savings,” Stivers said.