Robotic process automation (RPA) without the robots

No Robot Zone

By the Orbis Robotics Team

Robotics is one thing, but this doesn’t mean that the only considerations are the robots themselves, not by a long shot.  We were at that stage in our RPA journey where we were less about the robots (although they are always in our thoughts as we design and plan building them) but we also needed to take into account the people in the Lab, the stakeholders and the system that we were going to use.

We spoke about procuring the Lab and the team self-teaching via YouTube and Google in our previous blog, but there’s only so much the team can learn within our short timescales without bringing the expertise of our IT team on-board… so that’s exactly what we did.

With more people in the mix, this was always going to become a more complex dynamic and there were times when risk taking became necessary otherwise things wouldn’t move forward – not exactly the kind of thing IT like to hear, or be part of with their love of governance.  So how do you tackle this conflict?  We got everyone into a scrum.  Not the rugby version I might add, although it was tempting, but the type that allows us to bring everything to the table with all team members involved.

The scrum did iron out our issues (after a few uncomfortable conversations) and we moved on to the system.  Let’s not forget that being part of a Council partnership, Orbis have very little money to be spending on what we need to be a reliable system that meets all our requirements.  It was time to go on the charm offensive…  Not that I want to say we are good when it comes to blagging, as we do pride ourselves on being honest and open, but we managed to negotiate a free trial of a system, for a few more months than first agreed, whilst we tested it and before we made a decision about which system we were going to procure.

We got the disc to get us started but we also needed to make sure we were communicating with all of our stakeholders and talking to the likes of Information Governance and Legal to ensure everything was above board. A blocker of some sort now could be detrimental as we were getting ever closer to our first overarching robot. We spoke about our robot familypreviously but these were the ones that had a specific task to perform.  We had moved on to the type of robot that performed a process from start to finish, not a task within the process.

So what have we learnt in this part of our journey?  (Non-rugby) scrums are a good way to get decisions made. There are a LOT of people that have something to say about a project so you must engage with them early and regularly. Oh and that when it comes to spending money, it’s always good to negotiate.

More about our RPA journey next month

Robotic process automation (RPA) without the robots

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