RPA has seen a huge surge in adoption across a wide variety of industries, with many organisations already reaping the benefits from automating their business processes. However, the technical nature of RPA and Intelligent Automation means that these transformational projects have often been led by technology-focused roles from the Centre of Excellence (CoE) or IT Teams.
Individuals in these teams typically have high levels of technical and automation knowledge and have been involved with projects from the offset. This means that they are well versed in the world of RPA when projects ‘go live’. However, many organisations face difficulties in scaling their projects and wider business adoption when deployments are handed over to functional teams, who are new to RPA and automation technologies.
Teams such as HR, Sales, and Customer Service are experts in their fields but have limited IT or coding knowledge. Consequently, when the project is handed over, considerable time and effort are needed to train individuals. This can result in delays, low levels of adoption, and benefits not being realised as quickly as anticipated leading to misaligned expectations.
This article seeks to explore how this challenge can be overcome through combining RPA with Conversational AI Assistants.
Orchestrating RPA Processes
The combination of RPA with Conversational AI Assistants enables non-technical teams, such as HR, to orchestrate and make amendments to RPA processes, without ever needing to access development platforms quickly and easily. Reducing the demands on IT and CoE teams, ensuring that problem resolution and optimisation is delivered rapidly and significantly improving adoption and scale across a business.
Increasing Awareness & Understanding of RPA
Through deploying a Conversational Assistant in combination with RPA, organisations can provide an on-demand discovery, learning, and support tool for non-technical teams.
Conversational Assistants enable employees to ask questions and find out more information about the project and RPA more broadly, whenever they need it, and in their preferred communication channel. Significantly, this means users can communicate and ask questions in a language they understand with no requirement to-know technical terms or processes.
Deploying a Conversational Assistant and RPA in this way not only eliminates the pressures on IT Teams through reducing the amount of support time needed for new projects but also increases user awareness. Improving adoption across an organisation and removing ‘new technology’ fear through giving them direct experience of automation tools.
Extending the Value of RPA with End-to-End Process Automation
Additionally, Conversational Assistants can help RPA projects to scale through extending automation benefits to end-to-end processes. Conversational Assistants enable organisations to streamline the handling of real-time employee, customer, and supplier communications and requests through deploying Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to understand the meaning and intent of unstructured human language. Identifying requests and the associated RPA processes to perform actions and trigger activity.
For example, by combining UiPath’s bots in combination with Humley’s Conversational Assistants, a global manufacturing company was able to streamline the processing of employee ravel booking requests in real-time. This significantly improved employee experiences and generated time savings for the HR Team by reducing the amount of repetitive manual data entry previously required.
The Assistant guides customers or employees through a series of questions to complete forms or make travel bookings – converting the unstructured human responses into structured machine-readable data for upload into business systems by RPA bots and triggering further actions such as automated approvals emails.
Significantly, the addition of a Conversational AI Assistant to the RPA travel booking process meant that the HR Team could manage the bots themselves (previously this has been done by the IT Team). The Assistant enabled HR to make changes, view stats, and review errors in the RPA process in a non-technical language – with no need to access the back-end development platform to orchestrate processes – making it infinitely simpler for HR to use and increasing adoption across the team.
By deploying Conversational AI and RPA as per the above deployment, organisations can achieve transformational efficiencies and a more persuasive case for wider adoption across their business through deploying end-to-end process automation.
How to Get Started
Buy in From All Levels
When looking to adopt a Conversational AI Assistant to support RPA deployments, it is first important to identify the everyday operational users.
This means moving beyond the stakeholders and decision-makers, who have been involved in the project from the outset. This requires an organisation to have taken time in the initial project stages to identify the business case, the outcomes sort and how they will benefit and impact the operational users.
Additionally, automation and AI technologies have a significant amount of fear surrounding them, eliminating this is key to ensuring wider business adoption is successful. Organisations must have clear communication and training strategies in place to overcome this challenge.
Communication & Training
The Conversational Assistant itself forms part of communications through delivering key information and training. However, organisations must also provide broader communications to inform non-tech team users of how the project will be implemented and how much input and time is required from them, as well as the benefits to their role. Thus, assuring them that they are a fundamental part of the project.
This will ensure not only buy-in from decision-makers but also commitment from employees using the technology on a day-to-day basis.
An important part of this communication strategy will be deciding upon the user journeys (types of questions and queries that the user will ask and the appropriate responses). This knowledge base will power the Assistant and can be created through gathering feedback from users and using existing CoE documentation or guides. Assistants, such as Humley’s can automatically ingest these documents to create a series of intents and conversational flows. This means that there is no additional coding required for IT teams and significantly reduces the time to set up the Conversational Assistant.
Idenitfying Communication Channels
Furthermore, a crucial part of ensuring the adoption of both RPA and Conversational Assistants is identifying the communication channels that employees us. It is pointless having an on-demand support Assistant if it is deployed on a web interface when employees predominantly use Slack.
Selecting the right communication channel is essential in ensuring the platform is as easy to access as possible for non-technical teams, increasing adoption and engagement.
Understanding the Intelligent Automation Ecosystem
Finally, when an organisation is in the initial stages of identifying a process to automate, it is important to consider RPA as part of a broader suite of Intelligent Automation technologies – including Conversational AI Assistants.
Through understanding how the technologies work together and understanding not just the process that you wish to streamline, but also the end-user experience (how they will manage the process once live), organisations can start to embed a culture of digital transformation and supporting behaviours across the workforce. Therefore, significantly increasing adoption and the success of the project.
In conclusion, through combining Conversational AI Assistants with RPA processes as a discovery tool, part of end-to-end process automation, and as a tool for orchestration, it means that organisations can deliver true digital transformation and scale. By enabling everyone within the business and outside of it to understand and access Intelligent Automation technologies, businesses can reap the benefits of automation much more effectively and help to ensure growth and success.
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