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Intelligent Process Automation Implementations Gone Bad

December 03, 2019

Why Projects Fail and How to Overcome Obstacles

“Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson, professional boxer.

When it comes to the best laid plans for any project, particularly those involving people, processes and technology, it’s not unnatural for things to go a little sideways sometimes.

That said, the promise and potential of intelligent process automation is so compelling, that more and more companies are taking the plunge. That means plenty of celebrations around success—leading to better efficiency, fewer process headaches and less time spent grinding away with a mouse and keyboard.

According to Forrester, many of those who took the IPA plunge in 2018 were set up to fail. Often, according to Forrester, the culprit wasn’t just technology-often, it was “organizational readiness.”

So, what does that mean, and how can your company and your team members avoid the pitfalls that plagued early adopters?

Here are a few of the top challenges that led to organizations failing to look properly before taking the intelligent proces automation leap.

Pitfall #1: Lack of Strategy

Today, many solution vendors offer out-of-the-box IPA solutions for things like vendor invoice automation that are sold on being easy to implement. That does NOT mean, however, that companies don’t have to do their own internal homework to understand and document their current processes, and get all the process owners and stakeholders on the same page.

Questions to consider (that are at risk of getting overlooked) include:

  • What’s the overall goal (and is everyone onboard)?
  • What’s the scope (departmental or enterprise-wide)?
  • Who is the project owner? Who else needs to be included?
  • What’s the timeline—and what are meaningful milestones?
  • What does success look like and how will you measure it?

Pitfall #2: Lack of Knowledge/Talent/Right Team Members

As the pace of business picks up and innovation accelerates, finding the right people with the right skills becomes an obstacle for any company going through a transformation or process or technology. Technical skill is one requisite for many involved in the transformation process, but an understanding of business processes is far more critical, along with the ability and expertise to help a company manage change.

There’s more than one way to resolve this issue. One is to find those experts outside your organization and recruit them as employees, consultants or vendor/partners. Another approach is to “upskill” current employees to give them the knowledge and training they need to thrive in the new, automated world.

Alternatively, companies can identify solutions that don’t have a steep learning curve—which is often the case with intelligent process automation platforms. “No code” or “low code” automation platforms are designed to put your process owners in the driver’s seat without a lot of technical overhead or IT dependence.

Pitfall #3: Selecting the Best Use Case

The good news about intelligent process automation is that it can solve a LOT of problems. The downside? It can solve a LOT of problems—but some are a better fit than others.

Avoid the temptation to treat IPA like a hammer and start lining up nails for it to drive. Start with the low-hanging fruit--small projects with the highest value for the least effort. Treat each project like a stepping stone and you’ll soon be able to stack successes and tackle the thornier problems.

One great way to make sure you’ve chosen the right projects is to hold a use case workshop so that stakeholders can weigh in on use cases and provide their input.

To learn more, contact your Artsyl representative or visit our resources page at

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