Whenever we evaluate any big decision in life the topic of governance is front of mind, even if we are not explicitly thinking about it in those terms. Whether it be assessing a country, a company or even an aspects of our social lives.
Most commonly the topic comes to mind when assessing a potential contract for service provision, and decisions often come down to the vagaries of human emotions and personality … just how much do I trust the people involved to do as they are promising?
As the option for businesses to consider Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for many tasks emerges at a rapid pace, some of these decisions will have to be considered in a different way.
In this new era, we are removing some of the intangibles like unpredictable human nature and emotions. For better or worse we have software/RPA tools that mimic human actions and behaviours, but not the emotions.
When assessing RPA options, and maybe comparing them against human-based options, organisations need to adopt a different type of governance structure, in order to address the opacity of a non-human workforce.
Big questions emerge, such as how much Meaningful Human Control (MHC) is required when an organisation brings in automation initiatives.
RPA is a journey and is evolving rapidly. Mindfields has clients at all the different stages and is documenting the challenges and discoveries in order to make the journeys of future clients as smooth as possible.
In order to share some of this knowledge, and the experiences of others, we ran a webinar this week entitles “What, How and Why of Governance in Automation.”
The event included the thoughts of Simen Munter, who has lead one of the biggest deployments of a robotic work force in the world, covering multiple countries for a leading global bank over the last 18 month.
Simen was generous in sharing his experience of the governance, answering the many questions he was sent in from webinar registrants.
We also discussed the findings of four polls, which we conducted with participants from many large organisations, with most of them from leading top 100 Global organisations.
9 Key Takeaways on Governance for RPA
- Governance is not about maximisation but about optimisation;
- Decisions should be taken based on a hierarchy of priorities, which goes People – Process – Technology (in this order);
- Governance should not be 'owned' by the IT department or a business unit, but by the enterprise;
- Some processes are special and need to be treated as such … almost like a pet (with a name e.g. Norman.) Others are more like cattle ( which can be killed and recreated if it fails), and this depends on the materiality and importance.
- Just like humans, robots are not immortal and have shorter life span……they will die and return with evolved functionalities.
- RPA projects should be treated like a T20 cricket match and not a five day Test match (sorry I could not find a right sporting analogy for US readers)
- Don’t plunge in at the deep end … just like driving, it is better learn in a Kia before driving a Ferrari;
- RPA software will evolve and catch up with rival options, just like other tech categories eg LG Vs Samsung Vs Sony Vs Apple, so keeping up on developments will be necessary. (Some might end up like Nokia and Kodak if they do not evolve)
- RPA will not make outsourcing obsolete but it will fundamentally change the business case and considerations for end user clients. It will also fundamentally change the business model and offerings of the service providers.
Of course viewing the event will put these points in a more complete context, and there were many more valuable ideas shared.
Watch the full “What, How and Why of Governance in Automation ”webinar below: