Most automation projects focus on the selection of the appropriate RPA tool (Robotic Process Automation) and implementation partner as well as the right governance models. When the bots are put into productive operation, however, many projects fail. The reason: The most important aspects of a successful bot operation were forgotten or even ignored, namely monitoring and maintenance of the bots.
A common cause of failures in software robots is that the automation steps are taken over when the product is put into production operation, but the application environment changes: Sometimes the target systems or the infrastructure for automation are not available or offline, license keys and access authorizations are blocked or expired. The conventional support and maintenance models quickly reach their limits because the solution of failures requires several resources and experts and requires a coordinated approach.
A so-called Robotic Operations Center (ROC) can help. It is a center organized in teams for different service levels. The ROC specifically supports companies that already have multiple bots in production and want to scale their bot implementations on a large scale. At the same time, it orchestrates the growing bot infrastructure in order to ensure smooth operation with an increasing number of bots.
While a Center of Excellence (CoE) should accelerate RPA implementation and introduction, the Robotic Operations Center takes care of support and maintenance of existing software robots. For this purpose, the ROC is responsible for the management of automation capacities, the administration of access authorizations and the code promotion, application and release management. The employees analyze the bots, support them in the productive process, automate new processes and develop conformity models for more sophisticated copies.
- Roman Schäfer, Blue Reply
The word “transition technology” sounds bad. Somehow everything is a transition technology. After SAP R3 comes S4 HANA, after Windows 7 comes Windows 10, nobody speaks of transition technologies. I therefore prefer to speak of release cycles.
- Andreas Zehent, Deloitte
Comprehensive technology competence is still lacking in most companies, because too little emphasis is placed on it when hiring in specialist departments. In many departments of many companies, outside of IT, you can count the people with at least the necessary basic knowledge on the fingers of one hand.
- Dr. Rami-Habib Eid-Sabbagh, Lana Labs
The nice thing about RPA is that the technologies are easy to use today. This advantage lowers the inhibition threshold for modernization and opens new doors – with machine learning and process mining, smart bots can be built automatically in the future.
- Jan Wunschick, Lufthansa Industry Solutions
Many companies make the same mistake again and again to implement a large number of rigid processes, especially in the area of IT security. The effort to rebuild the legacy architecture increases exponentially in this way. Platform approaches are particularly exciting here because they significantly reduce the effort and offer many savings options.
- Alexander Steiner, meta: proc
An RPA promises quick added value, especially when looking for cheap and quick to implement solutions. But actually it is only a transition technology, to the point where an interface technology fits better.
- Timo Nolle, PAFnow
AI and machine learning can significantly advance process mining. For example, the automatic detection of anomalies in business processes is an interesting scenario. This approach goes beyond the current possibilities of RPA, since it no longer only creates process pictures, but learnings can be drawn automatically.
- Jörg Richter, Pegasystems
Customers often come with big ambitions. But after implementing a technology, it often happens that operations stop and the solution becomes unproductive. Ultimately, RPA is a solution that is used to manage legacy. You should definitely avoid the overgrowth of bots: We therefore advise our customers to answer the question for themselves how the ideal solution should look for them in the end and then act accordingly.
- Julian Beckers, Weissenberg Business Consulting
For me, a successful RPA is when we can present a functioning, understandable and portionable solution that works for itself. At the CIO level, everything must always be integrated into large overall solutions and flow into them smoothly. However, the reality is often different. Of course, we are subject to many technological restrictions in everyday life and have to work with what we have.
A ROC’s RPA service offering should include the following:
process and bot monitoring,
Maintenance and support,
monthly reviews of bot usage metrics,
and monthly reviews of common business and technical bot exceptions.
The ROC team also makes recommendations for solutions based on the findings.
As part of production support, a ROC also offers infrastructure management, service desk management, monitoring and performance reporting, administration of application release and operations management. To do this, the ROC monitors the automation platform and all productive bots, corrects fundamental errors and coordinates the maintenance routines. The center also defines the standard operating procedure for the bots, sets up the necessary escalation procedures and creates service and utilization reports.
The ROC also tests automation that interacts with applications that have received extensive updates and is responsible for troubleshooting and patching the automation software. It plans and monitors bot execution and bot capacities in order to evaluate the opportunities for process optimization and to make appropriate optimization suggestions.
By setting up a ROC, all employees know who to contact in the event of an incident or breakdown. This significantly increases the speed to solve a problem. A clear definition of responsibilities between users and the ROC makes it easier to manage the automation platform.
As part of its service, the ROC also provides a number of development hours each month to troubleshoot and update processes. The ROC team works closely with the developer teams to ensure that the entire development process is logged and documented. This makes it easier to analyze the cause of an incident. The ROC also sets up the appropriate scripts to standardize and automate the creation of the bot.
The ROC also provides evidence that the bots meet or even exceed the defined goals. Measuring core KPIs that define the success of the bot and analyzing the data with the help of enterprise reporting tools lead to reports that highlight the opportunities for efficiency gains and suggest appropriate measures.
The ROC determines, How to fix in
cidents in the production area and monitor whether the correct test and code promotion steps are followed for detailed problems. It also creates maintenance plans for the infrastructure and business applications, performs necessary patches and important software updates, and defines approval workflows.
As part of a continuous improvement, the current production processes are evaluated in order to identify areas for an increase in performance and efficiency. In addition, the ROC also takes care of implementing improvements and optimizations that have been approved and monitors the introduction of new bot versions. A functioning ROC monitors and manages new or existing updates of the automation platform, upgrades or functional expansions of existing automation tools as well as the integration of new technologies in the automation platform.
Most companies fail to provide support and maintenance in their bot deployments after going live. In many cases, maintenance and monitoring arise from a spontaneous, subsequent inspiration rather than a carefully thought-out strategy for structured bot maintenance and governance. But this should already be taken into account and planned during bot development, since it is ultimately the guarantee for effective bot maintenance. And a successful support and maintenance concept ensures the success of any automation, regardless of the number of bots operated. Even 500 active bots or more are no longer a problem. (Mb / fm)