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Scaling RPA with Process Orchestration and Business Process Automation

APRIL 22, 2024

Summary: After a surge in RPA adoption, companies recognize that scaling RPA effectively requires a well-defined orchestration strategy. In this article, we dive deep into how Business Process Automation and an Automation center of excellence can help manage this challenge by providing a platform to scale up RPA initiatives across the enterprise.

Key recommendations:

  1. Leverage business process automation and orchestration platforms to scale up RPA initiatives in the enterprise.

  2. Automation center of excellence provides a great structure for a long-term sustainable automation initiative.

Overcoming RPA scalability challenges

Since the frenzy of RPA in the market, starting in early 2016, there has been a boom in RPA implementations. However, multiple enterprises have realized that there are scalability challenges associated with achieving wide-scale RPA deployments. Orchestration of robotic process automation (RPA) bots is a crucial element for achieving scalability in wider RPA deployments across the enterprise.

There are two major reasons behind these scalability challenges:

  • Monitoring: As enterprises scale up RPA implementations, monitoring the bots becomes a major challenge. Lack of monitoring can result in negative process outcomes by causing errors and inefficiencies.

  • Lack of visibility: Managing RPA implementations becomes increasingly complex as companies scale them. While initial implementations are easy to control in a contained environment, this becomes difficult as the complexity grows.

Orchestration as foundation for successful RPA

When an enterprise wants to deploy RPA to use cases that involve multiple stakeholders including but not limited to software applications and humans, it needs an orchestration strategy to make the RPA investments successful as RPA bots or scripts will now need to encounter complex exceptions, a large number of human actors and multiple application which either are custom built or off the shelf. This is where two important strategies can help enterprises:

  • Leverage Flowable’s process orchestration capabilities.

  • Look to establish an automation center of excellence.

Let’s deep dive into both:

Leveraging Flowable’s process orchestration capabilities

Orchestration in RPA involves the meticulous integration of bots into end-to-end workflows, allowing for seamless collaboration and communication. At its core, orchestration relies on well-defined protocols and APIs to facilitate data exchange and task execution between RPA bots.

Flowable combines powerful business process automation (BPA) capabilities to design, execute and monitor your long running cases and processes with robust orchestration features. Flowable's orchestration capabilities excel at managing and coordinating diverse systems, data, and tasks within workflows. This orchestration ensures seamless integration across applications and services, essential for effective process automation.

By leveraging Flowable's BPA and orchestration capabilities, enterprises can automate complex processes, enforce business rules, and adapt quickly to changing requirements. At the core of Flowable is its capability to orchestrate humans, applications, bots, and machines to achieve enterprise goals. It does so by leveraging case management to incorporate every possible actor in an enterprise process.

The example below (Image 1) showcases how an RPA task can be seamlessly integrated within a broader business case. Flowable allows you to incorporate steps handled by an RPA bot alongside human tasks. It brings everything together in an end-to-end business process. By modeling these tasks using Flowable’s dynamic visual editor, you can orchestrate them, ensuring smooth end-to-end integration.

blog_Scaling RPA with Process Orchestration and Business Process Automation_rpa case

Flowable as orchestration platform acts as a central nerve center, utilizing advanced scheduling algorithms to coordinate the activities of multiple bots concurrently.

From a technical standpoint, the orchestration framework should support dynamic workload distribution, ensuring optimal resource utilization. Additionally, it should incorporate error handling mechanisms and logging functionalities to provide visibility into the execution process, aiding in troubleshooting and continuous improvement.

To bring it all together, Flowable can connect all moving parts in an end-to-end process covering multiple systems, RPA bots, applications, and machines.

Automation center of excellence

An enterprise dealing with multiple tasks and process automation technologies can fall into the trap of technical debt over a period of time, if the mechanisms to plan, govern and expand these technologies are not in place.

One of the good ways to manage enterprise automation strategy is to have an automation center of excellence in place. This strategy brings together employees from multiple areas of the organization to spark conversations and innovations by breaking silos.

It has been seen from multiple experiences in the industry, that enterprises that have a center of excellence in place have had remarkedly better outcomes in their enterprise automation strategy rather than the ones that didn’t have one in place.

Let us have a look at some of the best practices in setting up an automation center of excellence:

blog_Scaling RPA with Process Orchestration and Business Process Automation_table

In the foundational stages, enterprises leverage RPA to standardize and automate rule-based tasks to attain better outcomes. However, this gets harder as they tackle cross-boundary processes and seek to drive more strategic or transformative business outcomes.

An inability to drive strategic or transformative business outcomes is typical of organizations that lack an automation center of excellence to coordinate projects within a process automation program.

The need for a center of excellence is even more critical considering the current accelerated pace of change, specifically the rise of AI and the transformative power it offers to drive digitalization. This means that the business strategy and model will change more frequently because of new technologies, changing customer demands or new regulations.

Consequently, business processes will require change or redesign more often, and the automation center of excellence can help support the related increase in demand for enterprise automation and digitization projects.

Addressing possible challenges with RPA orchestration

The technical implementation of RPA orchestration poses several challenges that must be addressed to ensure its effectiveness in scaling up automation initiatives:

  • Ensuring secure communication channels between RPA bots and other systems within the enterprise ecosystem: Without robust authentication mechanisms and encryption protocols, sensitive data exchanged during automated processes could be vulnerable to unauthorized access or interception, posing serious risks to data security and compliance.

  • Managing dependencies: Managing dependencies between various components within the orchestrated RPA workflows can be complex, especially as the number of interconnected systems and processes grows. Inefficient dependency management can lead to errors, delays, or even failures in automated tasks, undermining the reliability and effectiveness of RPA implementations.

  • Optimizing resource allocation to maximize the efficiency and performance of RPA bots: Dynamic workload distribution mechanisms are essential to ensure that available resources are allocated effectively, minimizing idle time, and maximizing throughput. Additionally, incorporating error handling mechanisms and comprehensive logging functionalities is crucial for providing visibility into the execution process, facilitating timely troubleshooting, and enabling continuous improvement of RPA workflows.

Despite these challenges, with careful planning, robust infrastructure, and the right combination of technologies and strategies, organizations can overcome the hurdles associated with RPA orchestration and unlock the full potential of automation to drive business growth and innovation.

Conclusion

The widespread adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has revolutionized business operations by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining workflows across various industries. However, the scalability of RPA implementations has emerged as a significant challenge for enterprises seeking to expand automation initiatives across the organization.

Through the strategic integration of RPA with Business Process Automation and the establishment of an automation center of excellence, organizations can effectively address scalability issues and harness the full potential of automation technologies.

Leveraging process automation and orchestration platforms, such as Flowable, enables enterprises to seamlessly integrate RPA bots into end-to-end workflows, facilitating collaboration and communication between multiple stakeholders.

Tushar Srivastava

BPM enthusiast and former Gartner Analyst with a decade of experience in business process and requirement gathering, process mapping and management.

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