Published on in InnovationReshaping Business

A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to attend Blue Prism World London, the biggest robotic process automation (RPA) forum on the planet.

As a sponsor and partner to Blue Prism, we were invited to take a stand and showcase our solutions at the forum. We think collaboration is the best way to create new opportunities for our customers, especially in a complex field like automation. Blue Prism World was a great opportunity to connect with others on this.

And, more than anything, it was the perfect platform for us to launch our new proposition: Fujitsu’s industrialised automation operating model.

In this blog post, I’d like to explain why we’ve reimagined the traditional Centre of Excellence (CoE) for RPA – and the journey that has got us this far. The insights I gathered from our customer environments strengthened why I have confidence in this new approach!

The unique challenge of mass RPA roll-out

Automation, and RPA in particular, has been heralded as the crucial technology for the digital age.

Yet, at the end of 2018, the total number of global enterprises who claimed to have scaled beyond 50 robots stood at just 4%. And this was only a 1% increase on the previous year’s analysis.

So it wasn’t a shock to me when liaising with our customers to find that many RPA projects failed mostly a result from unexpected barriers. But I will admit I was surprised at the amount of money being thrown into failing projects – we needed to expand our way of thinking about RPA. Without being able to implement RPA on a wide scale, our customers won’t be able to grow and develop at the same speed. It really shocked me to learn that so many were struggling to seize the value in this type of automation, which has so much promise.

We identified some core challenges impeding businesses from undertaking successful mass RPA roll-outs. A big problem involved discovery. How do you work out what to automate? And how do you set automation targets that are suitably ambitious and realistic?

A barrier to mass RPA roll-out involves managing and running large quantities of robots. Identifying the candidates for automation is only a fraction of the barriers our customers face, this alongside managing and running large quantities of robots proved mass RPA roll-out a battle organisations were struggling to win.

It’s common for both businesses and technology partners to fall into the trap of approaching RPA implementations as a project. But it’s a long-term process, and should be looked upon as a sustainable, technology-enabled change program.

In the case of a large-scale roll-out, the typical (CoE) model doesn’t allow for enough separation between the project, build and support functions – meaning things often go wrong.

There were consistent barriers that kept arising from my conversations with customers. Is this a shock? No it shouldn’t be, because for the very reason that the traditional CoE approach to automation is not designed to address these battles.

So we had to develop one that did.

The future is automation first

Our new industrialised automation model is comprised of three parts.

First, we have the Agile Automation Factory. We use agile principles to implement automation in your business, starting with automated business process discovery.

Deployment is supported by the Robotics Operations Centre. This is a mechanism for managing, optimising and supporting robot farms in the thousands.

The centre is tailored to support the needs of each business, with flexible models ranging from on-premises architectures through to full Automation-as-a-Service.

Lastly, the third piece in the puzzle is the Automation Academy, where we upskill talent who can be redeployed in a new area of the business after automation.

A new digital landscape forces organisations to up-skill and re-skill existing talent. This is a real concern across industries and I’m adamant that we get this right. The three components are explained further in this infographic– take a peek!

Speed is of the essence

The benefits of carrying out large-scale automation are huge. RPA can help streamline operations, drive efficiencies, and free staff from burdensome, repetitive work – all of which has a positive impact on the bottom line.

But as we’ve seen, it’s very difficult to make RPA a success without partnership. Businesses are experts in their respective fields – manufacturing, retail, automotive – and not necessarily technology.

Implementing RPA alongside a partner ensures the work is completed at a more rapid pace – meaning our customers experience the benefits much more quickly.

We’ve found an agile approach to implementation is the fastest. With the Agile Automation Factory, businesses can achieve automation 70% faster.

This is because we don’t embark on an automation project by re-designing the way an organisation works. Instead, we simply take all the business processes as they stand, and work out the best way to automate them.

The Automation First approach enables us to move an enterprise from pilot to mobilisation in as little as 4 weeks, and on to scale-out in a further 12 weeks.

In this way, our approach represents an expedited avenue to automation at scale – which is almost the reversal of the priority looked at in the traditional CoE for RPA.

But I think the speedy approach makes the most sense – full scale RPA maturity decreases operating budgets by 12 – 16%, so it’s best to get there as fast as possible!

Now’s the time to break the scale-out glass ceiling

The world of automation is moving very quickly.

Robotic Process Automation is a powerful tool that can deliver wide-ranging benefits to your business – and to the bottom line.

That’s why it’s important to seize the moment. When it comes to implementing RPA at scale, businesses need to act with speed to see benefits in long-term.

We’ve recognised that this is the priority for high-volume automation programs. And now we’ve advanced our RPA offering to reflect it.

To discover what industrialised automation services can do for your business, visit our webpage.

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