Delivering Digital Transformation with Backoffice Bots

Delivering Digital Transformation with Backoffice Bots

Don McCartney, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Simplification, Oshkosh Corporation

Don McCartney, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Simplification, Oshkosh Corporation

The Digital Technology team at Oshkosh Corporation is embracing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as part of theirdigital transformational journey. The team, led by Anupam Khare, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, is dedicated to embracing market-leading technologies for improving the skills of team members, driving innovation across the enterprise, and automating business processes around the globe. The team is partnering with the business to deliver solutions thatdrive acompetitive advantage and deliver exceptional business value. RPA is one of the tools selected by the team in delivering on these strategies.

Oshkosh’s People First approach is centered around investing the company’s most valuable asset: its people. Digital Technology is helping team members invest in themselves by equipping teams with the tools that allow them the opportunity to shift their skills and time towards innovation. 

Oshkosh is investing in cloud, analytics, and robotic process automation for driving operation and innovation excellence across the enterprise. The Digital Technology team is honing their skills and leveraging these technologies for agile delivery of solutions, which are enabling exceptional business value.

Don McCartney, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Simplification, states that, “By partnering with the business, the team quickly identified opportunities, developed new skills and captured business value.”

During the journey, the team identified and worked through the following key areas for ensuring adoption and success of the RPA the tool:

Determining the Need for RPA

Within any given organization exists a myriad of interconnected systems, some already using automated processes and others relying solely on a human workforce. Assessing the need for which business processes could benefit from RPA is a critical step towards success. Applying RPA to low-valued processes may save time and money but be less impactful on strategic initiatives. It is essential to map out potential RPA projects and align them with strategic goals to ensure the work is of high business value and enable breakthrough performance.

Additionally, allow team membersto have a voice in their specific business needs. Human resources teams may have needs similar to the finance department but differ significantly from a fulfillment center or service desk. The application of RPA will be successful if tailored to enable the unique objectives of each team.

Reaping the Benefits

Implementing RPA has numerous benefits that can impact all business segments. One key benefit is the reduction of operational risk. Bots deployed as part of an RPA strategy are exceptionally accurate and reliable. They eliminate human errors and potentially costly mistakes by being programmed to follow rules, maintaining compliance and consistency. Additionally, for many RPA tools, the existing company infrastructure can be used. These non-intrusive solutions can work within existing systems without disruption. RPA also has immense scalability. When a company grows, an RPA solution can grow and continue to be beneficial at a greater capacity. As the market fluctuates, tools can be scaled back with minimal cost and effort.

 

Expecting Change, Responding Proactively

Introducing RPA to any existing business is sure to create waves of change. Business teams that will be working with bots may initially express skepticism about changes to their roles after bot implementation. These are understandable reactions; however, they should be reassured that botsare here to augment their repetitive, mundane work to free them for higher value work RPA tools allow employees to focus their energy on high-value processes while they gain a robotic assistant that takes over monotonous and time-consuming work. Anupam sums the philosophy up by saying, “Let people be people, not robots.” These transition opportunities available for teams may be daunting at first, but ultimately boost morale as team members engage in higher-value tasks. RPA enhances their jobs, it doesn’t eliminate them.

 

Mitigating the Risks of RPA

It is naïve to assume errors won't occur with RPA tools. Instead, expect and anticipate the occurrence of errors and formulate a plan moving forward. Similar to how a company may respond to human error on a manufacturing floor, have a plan to negate the potential errors that may arise with RPA. 

RPA is not a one-size-fits-all approach; every company has unique needs that must be addressed with upfront planning and communication. Certain risks may be more prevalent for one RPA tool than another, and it is important to understand these differences.

 

Implementing RPA at Your Company

RPA has the potential to streamline operations and reduce costs, allowing employees to shift their focus to innovation and meaningful tasks. Companies should openly communicate their unique benefits of RPA and its impact on future business initiatives. In your company today, your team members are likely transacting across several systems to complete various processes. RPA is a technology that mimics this system interaction without the heavy investment of integrations. “Your RPA team will be able to move quickly after your fellow technology teams understand that the bot interacts with systems just like a regular user. So all security controls, field validations, etc. happen just as if a person was using the system,” says Andrew McDonald, Sr. Director of Applications.  RPA is a complementary application of technology that can give your company a competitive advantage and further enable your team members for success. 

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