How To Get Your Real Estate Organization RPA Fit

Posted by Dustin Strydom on 24 July 2017 in: business, Real Estate, innovation, robotic process automation

You’ve watched our Rob Sparke introduction video and you’re hooked. You get it and you want to introduce Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to your Real Estate organization today. You’re standing by to reap the benefits of automating those repetitive, manual, laborious tasks with a software robot, freeing up your team to build the future of your business.

Where to start? Well, a bit like preparing for a sports event, say a half marathon, it’s the strategy, planning and upfront work that counts as much as the two hours or so you’ll be spending on the road. So, get the three things that follow right, and your debut RPA implementation will be quick, smooth and deliver great returns. Perhaps even medals!

Here are the top three things you need to get right to ensure the successful roll-out for RPA in your Real Estate organization.

1. Get the rest of your organization onboard

You need to bring three primary groups along with you by educating them about the benefits of RPA to get their buy-in. The groups are: users who will be working alongside the software robots, your leadership, and depending on whether you are sitting in IT or business, you’ll need to bring along your counterparts.

Understand that introducing RPA into your organization requires a fundamental mindset shift: people need to get comfortable with trusting robots to carry out tasks previously done by themselves. Upfront, they need to fully understand how the software robot will interact with people, processes and systems to allay their anxiety.

Each stakeholder group will have different questions and concerns about RPA. For instance,

IT needs to know how the robots will interact with existing systems as well as about the safeguards around process failures, data security and systems security. Business needs to understand how the software robots will interact with them and that quality of service levels will be maintained. People at the coalface need to understand how their jobs will evolve once they are freed up from repetitive, time-consuming tasks. And management needs to know that costs will go down, quality will go up and risks will be managed.

The buy-in and involvement of these groups are essential to the success of RPA in your organization, so it is worth spending the time sharing your knowledge about and enthusiasm for RPA with them at the outset.

2. DIY or managed service?

While it is posible to implement RPA in-house, we’d strongly recommend choosing the managed services route — robots-as-a-service, if you will — and allowing your IT team to stay in their lane and not get pulled off other critical tasks. This is for a number of reasons including instantly accessing a range of skills, depth of experience and bespoke Real Estate software capabilities. This reduces your upfront investment and time to market, and de-risks the project substantially. What’s more, a managed services approach allows you to start small, gain traction and buy-in with a successful pilot and then ramp up quickly.

And as you are well aware, the rate of change we are currently experiencing is only speeding up, so taking the managed service route allows you to ride that wave, relying on your RaaS partner to keep up to date with both RPA and Real Estate industry developments.

3. Cherry pick tasks for automation

RPA has the ability to automate many things, but these don’t necessarily deliver a good ROI. Also, I recommend starting small to prove value and gain experience rolling out RPA in your organization.

Good candidates for automation are generally tasks that are highly repetitive and continuous, have a high transaction volume, high value, and need to process sources in consistent formats. Look for things that need limited human judgement and interpretation and/or can’t be sent offshore for regulatory or security reasons. From a process point of view good candidate tasks are usually standardized, highly rules driven with a logical flow, involve digital inputs and outputs and frequently access multiple systems.

These tasks result in the best ROIs, giving you quick wins to demonstrate the value of RPA to the rest of your organization. This is only a general rule of thumb though, for instance the daily updating of forex rate in an ERP system is an exception. It doesn’t happen often, but the impact of having the correct rate in place, on time, every day, can have a huge return, so this too is an ideal task that a software robot can take over.

If you have selected the managed services route, your RaaS partner can assist you with choosing the best tasks to automate. This will ensure your RPA implementation takes weeks, not years, and delivers an ROI far quicker, resulting in a saving of 30% to 80% in processing costs.

Either way, involve your users in the task selection process. When they realize that mundane, time-consuming work will be moved away from them and their time will be freed up for more interesting and work, any anxiety over job security and working with robots will be reduced.

Get these three things right, and you can move smoothly into implementation, optimization and ultimately a great realization of immense business value thanks to RPA. And then wash, rinse and repeat with additional tasks ready for automation.

And with your first half-marathon under your belt you can start tweaking and optimizing your training program for even better results down the line.

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