The robotic process automation tool, or RPA, is a technological concept that uses software robots, better known as “bots,” in various processes. It can do different (simple or complex) repetitive tasks that humans typically perform. While the bot is a derogatory term, usually used with negative connotations (social media bots, spam bots, etc.), this tool can revolutionize your business.
- It helps automates tasks
- Frees up your human workforce to focus on creative tasks
- Lowers the risk of human error
Still, many RPA platforms are out there, so how do you choose the right one? Here are a few tips to help you out in your quest to find the optimal RPA platform for your business.
1- Assess the capabilities
The first thing you should consider is the capabilities and functionality of your RPA tool. Not every platform has the same capacity for business processes and tasks. Different RPAs are designed to handle different tasks. So, before making a decision, check for things like:
- Workflow design
- Integration capabilities
- Exception handling
- Data manipulation
Only when you understand how the platform performs under these circumstances will you be capable of making an informed decision about which RPA tool to use.
Your business will have specific automation needs, and if the tool in question doesn’t provide it (or doesn’t do the job well enough), it doesn’t matter how good it is overall. In a way, one might argue that you must start by assessing your needs since evaluating tools without understanding your workload is pointless.
2- Measure the ROI
The simplest and most straightforward way to measure the RPA of these tools is probably to use the RPA ROI calculator. This is a fairly simple concept. If you didn’t use the RPA and relied on manual (human) labor for these tasks, how much money would you need to get the same results?
Now, to get a better answer, you also need a comparison. So, get a couple of RPAs (your shortlist) and check the ROI for each of them. Then, compare these ROIs to see where you get the highest value for money.
Still, while this is the most objective indicator, it should be just one of the factors you should consider when choosing the right RPA tool.
What kind of influx of tasks can the RPA in question handle? Is it enough for your current capacities, and what would happen if you had to increase them overnight? What if you had to decrease them? Would the cost still be viable and sustainable? By answering these questions, you’ll understand the concept of scalability a lot better.
You need to remember that while you want to set it up, a single person will probably not handle this setup. So, how collaboration-friendly is the RPA in question? Can you scale automation across different processes and departments? Isn’t it better to find one RPA to handle it all rather than relying on different tools (even if they are better for individual tasks)?
One of the key features that you’re looking for here is bot management. This is a simple feature that can make the organization of your enterprise far more dependable.
4- Support and community
What happens when something goes wrong? Not if; when! Not every tool is infallible, and a tool with many moving parts, like RPA, is bound to malfunction somewhere. You’ll make a slight mistake while setting it up or updating it, and things will not function as they should. When this happens, who are you going to ask for help?
The most logical answer to this question would be that you’ll go straight to vendor support. So, it is only logical that you start inquiring about the quality of their customer support. What are their working hours? When can you contact them? What are the experiences of others who came before you?
Another thing you should do is visit the FAQ page. Here, you’ll get a general idea of how thorough they are with their answers and a glimpse of some of the common issues people have.
The number of users and the community’s strength is this segment’s final component. Most of the time, other users will be able to give you an answer to the question you have far quicker than the official customer support. Take this into consideration. Now, while this is hard to figure out ahead of time, you can browse some forums and subreddits and get the general vibe. This is more conclusive than you expect.
5- User interface
The last thing you need to consider is the tool’s user interface. First of all, you need to consider beginner-friendliness. It takes time to learn the UI, and you want to start working as soon as possible. Time is money, and you don’t want to postpone this automation any more than you need to.
Second, you shouldn’t downplay personal preference, either. After all, you’ll spend hours upon hours watching this interface. It’s important that you like what you see. It needs to be simple and intuitive (to you since everyone’s intuition is different). It would also help if they offered some customization options so that you can fix it to suit you even more.
Ultimately, whether or not your RPA tool will live up to your expectations depends on managing your expectations. If you expect to save time and money, reduce error rates, and increase business capacity, this should be something that the platform can deliver (some would even argue that it should be a bare minimum).
At the same time, these bots don’t perform well with non-standard tasks, and they need supervision. Just because you’ve automated them, this doesn’t mean that you can just let them be and mind your own business.
Ultimately, this is just a tool, and it’s not which you pick but how you use them that matters. Still, they’re not all the same, and taking some time to research and choose the right one matters more than you think.