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Case Study: Robotic Process Automation

The client for this project is a leading automotive company based in Florida strategically aligned into four major business segments: vehicle distribution and processing, finance,  insurance and retail vehicle sales. The company has distributorship operations in the five Southeastern states — Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The organization had four different lines of businesses each operating independently on their own with their own set of applications that service their respective businesses. Two of the business units were considering automating some of their processes using RPA and were involved in product assessment with consultants to choose the right RPA software. The EPMO stepped in and wanted to ensure that the RPA software chosen was uniform across the 4 LOB’s and wanted to create a CoE that would build RPA capability within the organization.

Critical Timeline:

The LOB’s that had already taken the initiative to implement RPA had identified some of the processes to be automated and wanted to implement the software as per their original plan. The PMO wanted the other LOB’s also participate in the project to make sure that they were not left behind in embracing the new technology. However, their resource and budget planning had not included anything for the project and their interest in the project was low.

Lack of Skilled Resources:

The RPA software and technology was new to the organization and there were no technical resources available that could assist with the initial activities. The team had to be built from scratch.

Risk Averse Leadership:

The LOB’s neither had skilled resources nor the complete understanding of the RPA functionalities and hence they were risk averse on the processes to be automated. The processes selected to be automated were very simple and did not provide a lot of business value.

Lack of an Automation Governance Body:

There was no guidance on how the organization would work once processes were automated. The entire idea of automating processes was new to the organization and there were no formal procedures in place, which was not ideally helping to build confidence among the business stakeholders  in automating medium or complex processes.

Our assigned Project Manager immediately identified and met with all the key internal stakeholders at the organization and started to work with the solution architect to come up with a high level project plan and estimates.

Strategy and Planning:

A set of pilot processes were identified to be automated from all the four LOB’s. Considering that it was the first adoption, low risk processes were identified to be automated for the initial project implementation.

Infrastructure Build:

The servers for hosting the software application were going to be common, for all the four LOB’s but data was not shared. The infrastructure build was planned to be completed for the test environment first so the RPA software application install could proceed in the test environment while the other servers were being built.

RPA Center of Excellence:

The consultants started understanding the organizational princesses and established the governance structure for the RPA CoE. The LOB representatives were involved in all the discussions while the processes, procedures and templates were being finalized for the RPA CoE. The CoE would serve as the single point of contact for all new process automation, RPA projects and to pipeline all the automation requests while slowly building the in-house knowledge capability.

Software Install:

With the help of our consultants, the chosen RPA software was implemented in test environment successfully and the processes identified were automated using bots. The new hire Solution Architect from the organization shadowed the software install process.

System Testing:

System testing was conducted with all the bots before implementing the RPA software and the bots in production.

The project was delivered on time and within budget as per the client’s quality standards.

Shared Servers and Software:

The servers and RPA software were shared between the LOB’s with proper security controls in place to ensure that data was safe and not accessible to other LOB’s.

Automation Roadmap:

The project management team coordinated with the business stakeholders to identify processes that could be automated over the next one year slowly increasing the complexity level. This helped them gain confidence on the bots over a period of time while also ensuring that there was ROI.

Deployment and Go-Live:

A solid implementation plan was created with the participation of all the different teams involved and the team was well prepared for the Go-Live weekend. The cut-over was planned to be conducted during non-business hours and completed successfully with no interruption to business operations.

Support Transition:

The project team transitioned the required information for the customer’s support team with the required documentation and training. The transition was a process that began during the execution phase methodically to ensure that the sup[port team had all the information and knowledge to run the new systems smoothly.

Warranty:

The project team was available on call and were prepared to be on-site, if required,  during the warranty period to make sure the client had all the support with their upgraded new bots.