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February 24, 2022 2:00PM

5 Lessons Learned on the REdirect RPA Journey

Staff Member Jason Schedler
Article by
Director, Technical Services

REdirect has become the leading provider of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions for real estate owners, managers, and investors. Since we created this area of practice three years ago, we have been continually learning and refining it to ensure we are always delivering the best possible experience for our clients. 

What Is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is a type of business technology that utilizes software robots (or “bots”) and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate digital tasks. These bots or AI can learn, and then mimic, processes based on specified rules. 

There are numerous advantages to RPA for your business. It frees up your human employees to do what they’re good at and focus on the tasks that cannot be replicated by machine, while the bots take over those repetitive and dull-but-critical actions. By boosting productivity and efficiency, RPA can provide results where they matter most—increasing your bottom line.  

Another benefit to RPA is that it eliminates the human error factor from many of your processes. When you automate tasks, you will never again need to worry about a typo, a stray digit, or a small mistake that ends up causing big problems. 

Throughout our RPA journey, we have learned a tremendous amount about what makes an automation practice succeed. In today’s post, I would like to share some of those lessons learned.

Don’t Start With the Highest ROI

Both in our internal journey and when we talk to clients dipping their toes in the waters of RPA for the first time, we’ve found that a common temptation is to backlog the more basic opportunities and try to tackle the highest return on investment (ROI) automation implementation as a first project. While this may make sense on the surface, we believe it is often a mistake. Instead, it is best to create momentum by generating immediate value. 

We’ve found that the more you can modularize or break down your potential automation projects, the better off you’ll be (for numerous reasons). Once you have categorized and set your goals for an early project, find an automation to implement that will save significant time but is also less complex and has less variability than those high-ROI projects.

REdirect routinely develops RPAs to handle unique, complex scenarios where the systems perform differently based on many factors. Try to develop those automations later and iteratively, releasing different scenarios over time.

This approach helps to gain early momentum while giving the RPA developers and stakeholders within the business a chance to learn, adopt, and adapt with smaller changes and higher benefits early on.

This Is a Great Time to Reconsider Current Processes

Often, when we engage with our clients to alleviate the hassle of repetitive and time-consuming activities, we find that the process itself should be re-engineered. Investing in RPA is a great time to examine your current processes and ensure they are still working in the way they were intended. You might be surprised at how often processes can be improved upon. 

To develop an automation, it is vital to map out and document the process in detail. If the process is outdated or could be simplified in some way, the right time to make changes is before investing in it further. 

We love to help our clients with Business Process Reviews (BPRs). We can also help to re-evaluate discrete processes before we automate. 

Don’t Skimp on Validation

It’s easy to miss the many use cases or paths through a process when developing a solution to automate it. It is always astounding to find out how many unanticipated use cases apply to an application post-release.

Because it is common to forget a number of relevant scenarios when developing an automation solution, you should nominate people on your team to be responsible for validating each scenario (and identifying new ones) during testing. When projects hit the “real world,” the actual use cases identify themselves very quickly. The more diverse you can make your validation team, the more outlying scenarios will be caught upfront.

There is already enough skepticism about robots and RPA. The last thing you want is to release an automation too early and stall the project’s momentum with unanswered use cases. A rushed release also creates fear about “the robots” and significant barriers to your quest for efficiency. 

With a little patience and our guidance, we can collaborate to implement these automation solutions efficiently and effectively.

Build Stabilization Into Your Release Plan

We learned early on that automations must be closely observed and tweaked after release. This is primarily due to misunderstandings or missed use cases that pop up once the automation is in use in “real life.” 

We plan for this by including a period of stabilization and support to see our clients through this phase. The length of that period can vary significantly and is directly proportional to the variability and complexity of an RPA.

You Can Solve Almost Anything With RPA… But It’s Not Always the Right Tool for the Job 

Once the power of RPA is fully grasped by our clients, we find that the ideas and suggestions start to really flow. However, it’s important to remember that a bot is not necessarily the best solution to every problem. We have identified many alternative solutions that our diverse team of professionals can propose and implement for you in cases where RPA is not the best tool for the job. 

It’s important to approach each project as an opportunity to improve, not just an opportunity to build an RPA. This might seem obvious, but, again, once the power and flexibility of RPA becomes understood, it can become easy to approach problems with a bias toward RPA solutions.

What Can RPA Do for Your Business? 

We have discussed some of the most impactful things we have learned on our long journey to bring RPA to the proptech world. My hope is that these can help you on your own journey and save you some time and pain. 

And if you’re interested in learning more about how you can make use of RPA in your business, we’re here to help. REdirect is uniquely positioned to help you avoid these common pitfalls and make the most of RPA. 

As real estate automation experts, we understand many of the most common barriers to entry and how to overcome them. We have undertaken projects big and small, with clear ROIs, delivering RPA projects to assist our clients in the quest to maintain their competitive advantage.

If you’d like to discuss ways we could work together, get in contact with our experienced team and someone will be in touch to assist you. 

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Jason Schedler
About the Author

Jason Schedler

Jason joins REdirect as the Director of Process Automation where he will focus on both internal processes and external Robotic Process Automation. Jason comes from a Strategic Product Manager role at Verizon Connect where he helped to add rigor and structure to the innovation process. Prior to that Jason spent 16 years in property management …