Four Questions with RPA leader Doug Shannon

We asked senior IT leader and RPA expert, Doug Shannon, a few questions about his experience with RPA. Here’s what we heard:

Why should companies build a center of excellence (COE) for RPA?

Doug Shannon: Companies building toward automation or digital democratization need a team or group to lead, govern, and provide process improvement. The RPA team or better-known COE team monitors and controls this role and RPA platform.

What are the biggest mistakes companies make when starting out with RPA?

Doug Shannon: The largest mistake a company can make when looking to utilize RPA is to not have a COE. For example, if an automated process fails, how does anyone know this happened, and who is monitoring existing processes to ensure safety and stability within the organization?

What are the areas to watch in RPA over the next 1–5 years?

Doug Shannon: The RPA space is moving fast and gaining a lot of attention due to the quick wins it has brought to companies who utilized it and even pivoted during the pandemic. In the next 1–5 years we’ll see an influx of new RPA add-ins and new technology tie-ins. In addition, utilizing RPA to bridge legacy application gaps with RPA made APIs will start to become the standard for many small companies.

Any final thoughts?

Doug Shannon: Many IT technologists remember RPA as being “just” a screen scraping tool. I would ask those same people to keep an open mind around what RPA can accomplish. I’m not stating RPA can or will solve all of your legacy or lengthy manual processes. Although with the right team and mindset you can certainly come close.

Note: these answers are Doug Shannon’s, who has 20+ years of IT experience and has led several RPA initiatives. These comments do not represent any team or company Doug works for or has worked for.

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