As enterprises look for new ways to better serve customers and drive efficiency, one technology has risen to the top for its ability to streamline operations: Robotic process automation (RPA). Recent research indicates that 48% of companies are planning to increase RPA spending over the next year.
But simply adopting RPA isn’t enough to unlock the technology’s full value—you also need to put automated bot monitoring into action, manage the complexity of hundreds (or thousands) of bots, gain insight into the interactions bots have with each other, and track and rapidly resolve failures. Bot monitoring is one of the most vital operationalization capabilities enterprises need in their RPA programs today.
The impact of bot monitoring
Consider the case of a major U.S. telecom that had deployed bots in an array of functions. While the company had invested a substantial amount in its RPA initiatives, it wasn’t seeing the ROI that it desired. Many of its RPA projects remained stymied at the user acceptance testing and rework phases, and bots that did launch weren’t used by employees as much as the company wanted. Leaders had difficulty understanding where and why bots faced issues or were failing, and as a result, it took far too long to repair bots and get them back to work.
For example, the telecom used bots to automate customer interactions when ordering service enhancements such as signal boosters and data cards. The bots would confirm that these products were available in the customer’s geography and that they had the right equipment to use the enhancements before a transaction was completed. When the telecom’s bots failed, it could take days before the customer received confirmation that they were approved for a service enhancement. To overcome these challenges, the company leveraged bot reliability engineering best practices and implemented the BotScope® platform to automate the monitoring and tracking of all its bots. The company gained a detailed view into how its bots performed, revealing where bots struggled and enabling the telecom to substantially reduce its mean time-to-resolve.
As a result, the telecom could quickly see where and why its service enhancement bots were failing and swiftly make repairs. Overall, after implementing BotScope the company was able to rapidly launch more than 50 bots and obtain the capabilities needed to succeed with RPA over the long term.
How bot monitoring transforms RPA initiatives
As the telecom found, bot monitoring puts new tools into the hands of enterprises that allow them to automatically pinpoint and rapidly resolve bot challenges. It empowers enterprises with capabilities such as:
- Visualization: Among the greatest challenges with bots are seeing where bots are working, how they’re performing and how they’re interacting with one another. Organizations often don’t have a central place to view this information or a way share it with non-technical business units that use bots on a day-to-day basis. Citizen developers, who are often business users outside engineering, also struggle to use bots as they cannot examine code to identify errors. Innovative bot monitoring platforms empower all stakeholders to use bots by making key performance data accessible in a 360-degree overview dashboard that can be customized for different business leaders and units.
- Compliance and governance monitoring: By logging and analyzing every action a bot takes throughout its lifecycle, bot monitoring platforms ensure that all bots are following federal and corporate regulatory standards. For businesses in highly regulated industries that have to comply with healthcare laws (like GDPR, SOX, HIPAA, PHI or the 21st Century Cures Act) or federal finance and reporting regulations, this provides verifiable compliance, peace of mind that all regulations are being followed, and enables bots to be used for compliance purposes.
- Self-healing: It’s inevitable that at some point bots will encounter new obstacles or environments and break down. Overcoming this challenge requires building in capabilities that enable bots to recover quickly. Advanced bot monitoring platforms can deploy automated scripts that help bots repair themselves when failures occur—reducing mean time-to-resolve and enabling bots to get back to the task at hand quickly.
RPA has the power to free employees to focus on more meaningful work, reduce human error and facilitate better customer experience, but organizations will struggle to tap into its full potential unless they also leverage bot monitoring.
About the Author
Ross is Managing Director of Automation at Concentrix Catalyst and has over 20 years of experience in quality assurance and automation, joining clients in solving complex quality, automation, and delivery challenges.