What Does Proof of Concept (PoC) Mean to RPA Technology?

Jun 29, 2023 | Best Practices, Best Practices, Test Automation Insights

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Successful businesses encourage innovation. New ideas help companies stay ahead of their competitors while improving their efficiency. Modern leaders understand that growth depends on assessing the viability of business ideas by evaluating their potential appeal to customers. 

Robotic process automation (RPA) technology can take these ideas from a possibility to an actual product or service. That starts with developing a proof of concept (PoC) and making the idea a reality using RPA tools. 

What Does Proof of Concept Mean in RPA, and What’s Its Purpose?

Proof of concept refers to evaluating an idea for its potential and then testing it under real-world conditions. You typically come up with a PoC during the project idea phase. It comes before you do the hard work of designing and engineering a solution. The work involves developing simpler tasks to demonstrate the feasibility of automating specific processes.

Once you build out a PoC, you can look at the total amount of work it will take to complete the automation. You can give stakeholders an idea of the amount of time they could save through RPA. In addition, you can provide a potential cost-savings estimate.

Developing an RPA PoC allows you to validate all the technical details of the process. You can see how compatible your RPA software is with your current systems, review integration capabilities, and ensure seamless data transfers between applications. It’s an excellent way to engage stakeholders and get them to buy into your RPA initiative. You get to showcase the benefits and value, which helps build confidence and support among business users, IT teams, and other decision-makers. 

Finally, you can identify and mitigate the potential risks of launching a large-scale RPA project. Starting from a smaller scope lets you figure out any potential challenges you may face ahead of time. In addition, you can refine your automation approach and deal with technical issues before scaling up your project.

How to Conduct a Successful PoC for RPA Technology

Now that you have a general sense of how a PoC can impact an RPA project, let’s go over some best practices for executing the process successfully. Ultimately, you should be able to assess the initiative’s feasibility, determine which activities are most suitable for automation, and get a sense of how the RPA would perform by putting it through real-world scenarios.

Identify and Define the Problem Statements for the PoC

Think about the outcome you want to achieve through the PoC. Figure out the problems you’re looking to resolve with RPA technology. You may want to automate manual processes in your accounting department to speed up invoice handling, for example. Other goals you might want to achieve include reducing costs or improving the customer experience. 

Look at your current processes and make a note of your biggest pain points. You should look for issues like bottlenecks that may affect operational efficiency. Meet with stakeholders and others who will be impacted by your RPA process to ensure you capture their insights and perspective on your project goals. 

From there, you should figure out your most significant challenges and prioritize them based on urgency, overall impact, and how they align with your objectives. Look at critical areas where your PoC can offer the most value in addressing problems. 

At this point, you can start formulating clear problem statements outlining the issues you want to address with your PoC. Your problem statements should be focused, specific, and measurable. Examples include:

  • Reduce invoice processing time by 40%.
  • Cut down on data entry error rates by 60%.
  • Ensure the new automation is compatible with a legacy system. 

Contact your stakeholders again to refine your initial problem statements. After that, you can review them for any potential changes you may need to make before finalizing them. Use these problem statements as guidelines for your PoC objectives.

Select the Appropriate Process for the PoC Evaluation

Come up with a PoC plan that covers the scope, timeline, and resources available for the process. Outline specific tasks and deliverables to evaluate the RPA implementation’s success. Consider factors like the infrastructure you might need and potential issues you may face with data security.

Think about which RPA platform you wish to use for the PoC. Think about how compatible the software is with your existing technology. The RPA platform you choose should be able to address the challenges you outlined when developing your problem statements. 

Design and Develop the PoC RPA Solution

Start designing the automated workflows for your RPA process. Define all of the necessary rules, ensure you have the correct integrations in place, and write the scripts for the automation software. 

Test and Validate the PoC Results and Performance

Start your automation testing by running the RPA solution. Keep track of what’s happening with the automated workflows. Make sure you’re capturing relevant data and metrics during each test run. Look at the performance of the RPA process, gauging its accuracy and efficiency gains. Compare the results during your test runs to the baseline of executing the process manually. 

Evaluate the Results and Next Steps After the RPA PoC

Start analyzing the metrics you gathered to determine the effectiveness of the new RPA platform. Talk with end users and get their feedback on the test results. Account for user satisfaction, how usable they find the new process, and whether they came across any unforeseen risks. Use the input users provide when considering potential changes to your RPA process. 

Finally, document all of your findings and insights from the PoC evaluation. Summarize the results and include any unexpected challenges, benefits, and places for improvement. Make recommendations on what needs to be done to scale the software and deal with limitations before proceeding with a full RPA implementation. 

Leverage PoC Software Solutions

Performing an RPA PoC evaluation helps you assess the RPA process’s benefits. Ranorex solutions allow you to explore all of the possibilities available with RPA technology. Learn more about how we can take your technology stack to the next level by contacting one of our specialists.

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