Having a robot help you get your work done may seem like the stuff of dreams or sci-fi movies, but it’s a reality at the Exchange.
The Enterprise Business Solutions Division of IT (IT-S) hosted a Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) Fair Sept. 11-12 at Exchange headquarters in Dallas to introduce attendees to “bots” – the first step in intelligent automation. Because of the value RPA brings to an organization, the fair aimed to share the technology across the Exchange.
“Bots can deliver significant cost, performance and scalability benefits by automating and/or speeding up redundant business processes, allowing associates to focus on higher-value work” said Ana Middleton, Exchange president and chief merchandising officer, who was at the fair to help introduce the program. “RPA can help us execute our everyday processes more efficiently and with fewer errors.”
Fair visitors saw how a “bot” is built and stopped by different stations to learn more about the technology, coding and governance behind the Exchange’s bots. Several stations answered frequently asked questions such as what type of tasks make good RPA candidates, how the Exchange determines the return on investment with a bot and what’s next in this innovative field.
“RPA provides us a different way to think about solutions,” said Exchange Chief Information Officer Mickey Bradford, who is also acting executive vice president and chief administrative officer. “They can take on work that is repetitive and time-consuming and free us up to focus on the highest value parts of our jobs.”
The Exchange’s RPA program began developing bots in January. Several bots are already being used by different directorates to save time and money.
The key to a successful bot is to have a documented process available so a viability review can be completed and return-on-investment established.
“Visitors had the opportunity to engage by diving into actionable and practical examples that we hope inspired them to imagine and get excited about where automation can be used to streamline processes, increase productivity and ultimately improve the bottom line in their own areas,” said Debra Zarsk, vice president of enterprise business solutions, who heads the RPA team.
With the pilot complete and proven results, IT-S can begin moving toward training RPA “citizen developers” across the enterprise. This federated model allows for bot development within an associate’s own directorate with continuing governance by the current Center of Excellence core team. Stay tuned!
Associates can submit ideas for RPA via this form.