I have involved in couple of assessments over the adaptation of Robotic Process Automation for meeting Regulatory Compliance. It was a detailed analysis of existing processes for the RPA potential. I would like to share the some of the experience from the exercise.
To begin with you need do the process discovery. Identifying or discovering the process for a potential automation is very critical for successful automation projects. A mix right knowledge of business processes along with capabilities of diverse RPA Tools is critical for the process discovery exercise. Usually it helps to conduct process discovery workshops with key stakeholders comprising of Business Analysts, RPA Architects and Developers to disaggregate each process and identify the automation potential. The detail steps include i) Listing down the processes to be validated for automation ii) identify the consideration consisting of technical & process landscape iii) give relative weightages of the consideration based on experience iv) compute the score for overall automation tools. Some of the questions considered for assessment include complexity of the activity, tactical/operational / strategic nature of the activities, stability of the application which is being tried to be automated, volume of the activity and other criteria like FTE, process standardization or reengineering requirements, is used based on experience. Some of the RPA Tool vendors also provide process discovery tools for assessing the automation potential.
Once the list of automation potential is identified choose the best case for a Proof Of concept which can be used to buy in stakeholder confidence. For EHS, SAP EHS already offers streamlined process which automate the stewardship activities, but in real nature the organizational processes are not completely automated and significant manual effort is used to manually work on different activities to compile the information. Some of the processes include for example, vendor SDS management process, Assessment & Processing of report shipping orders where different reasons of SDS failure can be identified and based on it data creation request or business decisions can be automated, similarly another area is around automating poison centre notification procedures, which to begin seem too regulatory to be risk to be automated but has significant savings. Other processes like manual SDS shipment, DG management, SDS authoring and other block managements, depends on the organizational maturity level in product stewardship activities, which are proprietary in nature to be discussed here.
Regarding the tools section for automating the scenarios there are many tools available in the market which have simple automation capabilities to built in artificial intelligence capabilities via Microsoft Azure integration or Python coding capabilities. It needs detailed assessment to choose the right tool. But many researches and analysis reports from Gartner for example, suggest having a mixed landscape for tool selection as best features are spread across multiple vendors and it is valuable to have a mix tools. SAP also released its product on Intelligent Process Automation using RPA, details of which can be found in Open SAP course scheduled during September 2019. Contextor eLearning videos are available in YouTube